MISS Philippines Katarina Rodriguez finished first runner-up in the Miss Intercontinental 2017 pageant held in Hurghada, Egypt Wednesday night (Thursday morning in the Philippines).

According to the Araneta Group, the 24-year-old model wowed the judges with her impressive performance in the swimsuit and evening gown competitions. Proving that she has both form and substance, she garnered tremendous applause during the question-and-answer portion when she said that she was inspired by the Arabic word “meraki” and that the greatest lesson she learned while participating in the pageant was “to do all things with soul, passion and creativity”—the meaning of “meraki.”

Rodriguez finished behind Veronica Salas Vallejo of Mexico.

In a Facebook video posted by Miss Intercontinental, Rodriguez was teary-eyed, saying: “Okay lang ito (This is fine). I miss all of you. I miss my country. It was a tough ride—it was a lot of work, a lot of hours. Mabuhay! Mahal kita!”

Rounding out the Top Six were the Netherlands’ Cathelijne Heppenhuis, Brazil’s Amanda Cardoso, Colombia’s Lizeth Villanueva and online poll winner Lee Su Jin of Korea.

Rodriguez, whose advocacies include peace and HIV-Aids awareness, duplicated the first runner-up finish of 2015 Philippine bet Christi Lynn McGarry.

Rodriguez, along with the other Binibining Pilipinas 2017 queens, proved that the Philippines remains a powerhouse in the pageant world. Nelda Ibe was first runner-up in Miss Globe. Elizabeth Clenci was second runner-up in Miss Grand International. Rachel Peters and Chanel Olive Thomas emerged in the Top 10 of Miss Universe and Miss Supranational, respectively. (PR with JGA)