The 24-year-old beauty from Laguna bested 80 other candidates from across the world and made it to the top five alongside Spain’s Patricia Rodríguez who finished 1st runner up; Ecuador’s Constanza Báez as 2nd runner up; and Brazil’s Jakelyne Oliveira as 4th runner up.
Tension definitely rose among viewers when Ariella, who graduated with honors from the University of the Philippines-Los Banos with a degree in Chemistry, was called last in the top 16 after winning the official online polls.
She then strutted on stage wearing a red bikini and stole the show with her signature turn before advancing to the top ten.
In the evening gown competition, Ariella elegantly paraded a yellow dress that finally earned her a spot in the top five.
For the final question and answer, Miss Philippines was asked by judge Tara Lipinski with the question, “What can be done about the lack of jobs for young people starting their careers around the world?”
Ariella, the only candidate who did not use an interpreter, confidently answered, “For the people who have lack of jobs, I do believe that we people should invest in education and that is my primary advocacy, because we all know that if everyone of us is educated and well aware of what we are doing, we could land into jobs and we could land a good career in the future. Education is the primary source and ticket to a better future.”
Ariella continues the winning streak of Filipina beauties who made it to the top five of the prestigious pageant ever since Miss Universe 4th runner up Venus Raj started the trend in 2010. She followed the footsteps of Shamcey Supsup who also finished 3rd runner up in 2011. Janine Tugonon remains to be the Philippine representative who came closest to the crown when she won 1st runner up last year alongside Miriam Quimbao who almost clinched the title in 1999.
ABS-CBN, the home of Miss Universe in the Philippines, aired the pageant live via its cable channel Velvet and through a special telecast on ABS-CBN.
Watch the replay tonight on Velvet at 7 PM and ABS-CBN’s Sunday’s Best at 10:45 PM.