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Pinay beauty queens need interpreters during pageants says Gloria Diaz + Video of Diaz's Q&A at Miss Universe '69
Published on: Aug 26, 2010 - 9:52am

Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz tells TV Patrol World it is time for Filipina beauty queens to have pageant interpreters.

Following Miss Universe 4th runner-up Venus Raj's "major major" answer in the pageant this year, which the Associated Press called a "major gaffe," Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz told TV Patrol World it is time for Filipina beauty queens to have pageant interpreters. "I think (Venus) thinks in Tagalog and answers in English. I can relate to that because I used to think in English and answer in Tagalog, and it was very difficult for me." Diaz, who claims she doesn't judge Raj for her controversial answer, said maybe the Bicolana should have spoken in her native tongue.

English Professor Jose Wendell Capili, also the associate vice president for public affairs of the University of the Philippines, told TV Patrol World that Filipinos should speak in the language they are comfortable with. "(Raj) should've been allowed to speak in Bicolano, but not because she's unintelligent or incapable of speaking in English. Look at Miss Mexico. She can speak in English but she had an interpreter for the question and answer portion. She had an opportunity to think about her answer twice or thrice."

Raj has said she does not regret her answer, and she would say the same thing if asked again, reports "Wala naman talaga akong mistake na ginawa sa buhay ko (I really don't think I've ever made a mistake in my life)† I'm a very positive person." She said she takes everything that happens to her as a challenge, as something that will have a positive effect on her life.

Raj added that she does not take offense when people make fun of her answer. "At least I was part of people's everyday conversation† Do not think of the past; think of the future."

When Diaz won Miss Universe in 1969, the year man first landed on the moon, pageant host Bob Barker asked the top five finalists, "If a man on the moon would come down, how would you entertain him?" Diaz's winning answer was "I guess since he has been in the moon so long, he would enjoy anything that an ordinary man would."

Gloria Diaz's winning answer at the 1969 Miss Universe pageant at 4:42

For more on this story, watch the TV Patrol World video and log on to

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  • v
    What made Venus stand out during local pageant was that amongst all the candidates who made it to the final 5, she was the only one who answered the final question in Pilipino. Which is why to my dismay, she got into trouble with questions on her citizenship and stuff. I mean, of all the girls who joined this year naman, with the usual bunch of Fil-Ams and Fil-Euros all in attendance, na-trouble pa yung kaisa-isang super identified ang sarili niya na Filipino. WOW! They should have taken a cue from what happened that night and gave Venus the chance to express herself in the language that speaks her soul (NAKS!!). Very good suggestion, indeed. Huwag na tayong magmaganda. Never na maituturing na t*ng* ang hindi lang marunong mag-Ingles. Kung hindi sana, mayaman na ang bansa natin at mahirap ang China/India/Korea/Japan.
    Aug 27 2010 @ 02:01pm     Reply  
  • Engkris
    You are right MICHELLE!!! Having an interpreter will buy you precious time. Studies show that many job applicants fail because they answer the questions too quickly. Applicants who allow their brain between 2 and 3 seconds commonly present better answers. This is also the reason why some people drink coffee or water when faced with a difficult question in a meeting. They are buying time.
    Aug 27 2010 @ 01:01pm     Reply  
  • insomniac
    @MannyA: good that you mentioned Venus' frequent use of "sir" & "ma'am". She was being too polite to the point na nakaka-irita na sa tenga at annoying na. Sakit ng maraming pinoy ang pagiging overly submissive sa ibang nasyon, slave mentality, di pa rin mawala-wala. it was a real turn off more than it was gracious.
    Aug 27 2010 @ 09:53am     Reply  
  • insomniac
    Tamah! Mahuhusay na opinyon at insights ninyo lahat. Agree ako duon sa suggestion to have an interpreter--mukhang yon nga ang magpapanalo sa next Miss Universe candidate natin. Wag na kasing ipilit ipamukha sa buong mundo na Filipinos can speak fluent English kung hindi naman talaga. Calling the attention of Mrs.Araneta!
    Aug 27 2010 @ 09:45am     Reply  
  • Michelle
    Representative of the Philippines should be proud of being Filipino and this includes speaking in Filipino.

    English is one of the official languages of the Philippines and most Filipinos are fluent in conversational English BUT our minds and hearts think in Filipino. This is true for most, if not all, Filipinos of every socio-economic class.

    Venus Raj does NOT need to know from anyone how she should have answered. Surely, seconds after her stumble she already knew what she should have said. Almost anyone could give an acceptable answer to that question if they were given some time to think. In this case, she was required under heavy pressure to give an instantaneous answer which isnít an easy task for anyone.

    In the 1999 Miss Universe Pageant, Miss Philippines (Miriam Quiambao) also lost her chance at the crown due to her stumbling at her final Q & A. And who knows how many of our representatives could have made the preliminary cut had they been able to satisfactorily answer the interview questions?

    Almost any Filipino can smoothly engage in casual conversational English BUT this isnít casual conversation we are talking about here. Itís a nerve-wracking split-second Q & A under heavy pressure on stage and live telecast worldwide.

    Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia etc. etc. etc. are among the perennial finalists and ultimate winners of the Miss Universe Pageants. All of them use interpreters. Using an interpreter buys you time. It gives you a few extra seconds to think and more importantly puts you at ease in a comfort zone when you hear the question in your own language. YOU AUTOMATICALLY FEEL AT HOME.

    You are judged on the content of your answer regardless of what language you say it. Itís NOT an English proficiency test.

    The Filipino people robbed Venus Raj of the Miss Universe crown because of our arrogance and our shame to talk to the world in our own language.

    If Venus Raj was made to use and interpreter, itís certain that she would have given a totally different answer and Miss Philippines would have been Miss Universe 2010.

    Miriam Quiambao, Venus Raj --- --- How many more of our contestants will be denied the crown because of our arrogance and persistence in not allowing them to speak from the heart?

    Aug 27 2010 @ 07:58am     Reply  
  • Irene
    I commend her (Venus Raj's) positive attitude. Admittedly, oftentimes we have to construct our answers in such a way that it will sound pleasing and have a lasting effect to the listener (Judges). That will "buy" the votes. That applies to job interviews, persuasive conversation especially Pagent Interviews.

    I work in a call center as Quality Representative and agree we have to unload the English language with misplaced Filipinoisms.
    Aug 27 2010 @ 02:05am     Reply  
  • expat
    I am gratified to see Filipinos criticizing the level of English. When I came to Manila eight years ago, I was told that "this is the only Asian country that speaks English". I asked a Filipina, "Will it help that I know a little Spanish?" and she said, "No, no, EVERYONE here speaks English." I believed her, until I took my first taxi ride. Yeah, right.
    Aug 27 2010 @ 01:10am     Reply  
  • MannyA.
    To Donald Trump et al. It's about time to bring back the "one final question" format for the Top 5 finalists to answer, so that comparison of answers is on equal footing. The toughest question was hurled at Venus Raj because there was personal stake involved to answer it pointedly. She deflected it but cost her a lot. The four finalists were asked basically "external issue" questions that were much easier to talk about. What I didn't like about Venus Raj's answer was her being somewhat servile by addressing Mr. Baldwin "sir" twice in her answer. Before she left, I also heard her on TV practise with her trainers the Q&A part, and she kept saying "Ma'am" in her answers. None of her trainers called her attention to stop it. One who aspires a beauty title with immense, global responsibility, should show assertiveness when she talks without sounding disrespectful, but saying "sir" or "ma'am" to almost anyone is going overboard. At any rate, Binibini candidates who sow annual horror during the Q&A is just a reflection of how our youth have deteriorated in speaking with facility the English language because of our educational system's confused direction in treating the language as merely an objective communication tool to express ideas, vs. loading it with misplaced nationalistic hang-ups.
    Aug 26 2010 @ 03:57pm     Reply  
  • SAGo
    Sobrang talino ng ibang tao dito.
    Aug 26 2010 @ 03:53pm     Reply  
  • jun
    Excuse lang po, this isn't about the contestant's fluency with the King's language. I doubt if she could have answered sanely and sensibly even if she gave her reply in Tagalog.

    Intelligence, that what she lacks. And it is becoming more glaring during her post Ms. Universe interviews.

    This is a very common question in pre-employment interviews and she has to botch it. What a shame.
    Aug 26 2010 @ 03:44pm     Reply  
  • Cheska
    You go girl! Tama yan! Just move on and be thankful for what happened. For sure maraming major, major opportunities na dadating for you!
    Aug 26 2010 @ 01:46pm     Reply  
  • Cmon
    Cmon let's just admit that English insruction has really deteriorated since the 70s. Tagalugin niyo na!
    Aug 26 2010 @ 01:42pm     Reply  
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