Category Archives: Beauty Pageants

Binbining Pilipinas 2019 Review: Winners, Heartbreaks and Vindication!

I was not able to closely follow this edition like the previous year because I’ve been so busy with work so I pretty much got my updates through social media and from my pageant-fanatic friends. A week and a half leading to the coronation night, I decided to watch most of their videos, check out their photos and even visited forums to come up with my top favorites and below are the My top 10 favorites based on everything I’ve seen and read about them.

1. Vickie Rushton
2. Gazini Ganados
3. Samantha Lo
4. Aya Abesamis
5. Leren Mae Bautista
6. Emma Tiglao
7. Patch Magtanong
8. Julia Saubier
9. Hannah Arnold
10. Samantha Bernardo

The Coronation Night AKA In partnership of Miss Universe Philippines and Binibining Pilipinas *rolls eyes*

The Stage, Opening Number and Segments Productions:
I absolutely loved the very Pinoy theme of the opening number with its own song, Raise Your Flag inspired by Catriona’s answer during the Miss Universe 2018. I loved the vibrant lighting of the stage and the very simple stage design, but from afar,- it looks a bit dark.

The introduciton where the girls are wearing all-white looks really good with the Philippine Flag on the LCD behind them.

Host Richard Guttierez and Anne Curtis are back as this year’s main hosts while Binibining Pilipinas – Grand International 2015 Nicole Cordoves serves as the segment host and she was just fantastic as usual!

Richard somehow redeemed himself here after receiving flock from his 2018 gig. He was more relaxed , though he forgot Leren Mae during the Q&A but it was easily edited on TV so all’s good.

Anne meanwhile was such a joy to watch! She’s very professional and very charming at the same time! I’d love to see her comeback next year!

What’s so prominent about this edition is its pacing! From the first cut up to the question and answer, everything was done quicky. I was also checking Facebook and Twitter while inside the Big Dome and learned that the live audience were just a segment ahead of the telecast!

Swimsuit and Evening Gown Competition:

For the swimsuit round, a reggae band played while the top 25 sashayed with their blue swimwears. The girls were given a choice to don either one-piece or two-piece swimsuits – Binibining Bataan, Bea Patricia Magtanong surprisingly end up topping this round of the competition. My personal pick during this round was Emma Tiglao from Pampanga.

The evening gown portion was another thing – that segment was just mesmerizing! I loved this presentation better than last year’s. There are a lot of standout gowns here that it’s anybody’s ballgame but it probably boiled down to presentation with eventual Miss Universe Philippines winner Gazini Ganados from Talisay, Cebu nailing it from head to toe to that alluring smile! Her aviary-inspired Cary Santiago gown was to die for! My favorites here are Gazini, Aya Abesamis and Samantha Lo.

Face of Binibini
This is one of the three major awards given that night and I really thought that this was locked for Vickie who earlier in the night amassed the majority of awards from the pageant’s sponsors so what a pleasant surprised it was when Gazini snatched it, looking very surprised herself.

The Farewell Walks of the 2018 Queens!
The 2018 Queens did really well internationally with the obvious ring leader, the reigning Miss Universe Catriona Gray getting the spotlight in the said segment. I loved her speech after her AVP, though a bit long it was really a touching moment. She really is a one in a million queen!

What I was hoping to happen in this segment though was a little more acknowledgment to Karen Gallman who made history as well as the country’s first Miss Intercontinental winner. The five girls farewell messaged and final walks felt like mere afterthought compared with Queen Cat.

Announcement of Winners!

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray crowning Miss Universe Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados of Talisay, Cebu.
(photos via normanorman)

The New Miss Universe Philippines 2019!
Gazini Christiana Jordan Ganados made her mark at the latter part of the coronation when she sashay on the stage with her Cary Santiago neon pink evening gown. She was just breathtaking during her turn stealing the thunder from the night’s favorite, Vicky Rushton who strut after her. Her pasarela wasn’t the strongest but nobody could deny that face! Her Best in Evening Gown and Face of the Binibini (Miss Photogenic) awards are truly well-deserved wins! She may not be a Catriona during the Q&A but she was charming and had grace under pressure. Even if some would argue that her answer isn’t the best, it is undeniable that she was the most mesmerizing ensuring the top plum for Talisay City, Cebu!

The Pride of Bataan is going International!
Patch is one of the most hyped contestants this edition and for a lot of good reasons – statuesque beauty, impressive credentials and good communication skills. Everyone inside the coliseum knew that after she delivered a very convincing answer during the Q&A, she would end up winning one of the crowns. Some fans were disappointed that she “only” nabbed the Binibining Pilipinas – International title but I honestly feel that she’d do well in the Japanese-based pageant and may end up winning it all. It’s also clear that Gazini outperformed her all throughout the night so she should be thanking her lucky stars that she even end up second in ranking with other girls like Lo, Tiglao and Saeed trailing behind fiercely.

Resham is now on my radar!
Resham Saeed isn’t even on my radar prior to the finals night. I’ve seen her free-speech delivery and was duly impressed by it but I was blinded by the early frontrunners to pay her a glance or two. Lo and behold though, the girl cemented her status as a crown-worthy contender with her saltry Swimsuit catwalk and gift of gab. She may need more polishing and better styling but that’s what Binibini is there for and I’m pretty sure she’d be explosive come Miss Supranational in Poland later this year.

Samantha Lo is a Miss Universe Philippines in the making but…
This was Samantha’s first national pageant and she made it all the way to the winners’ circle by clinching the Binibining Pilipinas – Grand International title. I’m still not sure how to feel about her winning the said title but given Samantha’s assertiveness, I know that she’d be fighting hard and will represent our country well in Venezuela later this year. It’s a shame that the owner of her international assignment had an on-going beef with Filipino pageant fans and is seemingly on a revenge mode. And doing his pageant in Venezuela? What the hell was he thinking?!

Enough of that for now, this is about Samantha so I’d just like to say how impressive her performance was during the finals. She was so-so during the swimsuit round but she was definitely one of the best during the evening gown portion of the competition. Her pink evening gown with a black silthouette accentuated her boxy (no pun intended) body and looks every inch like the queen she is. And of course, it is without question that she provided the best answer during the Q&A – it must have been a very difficult deliberation for the judges!

Had her fellow Cebuana Gazini not perform explosively and charmed the whole of Araneta, she’d definitely be a good alternative too!

The Vindication of Emma Tiglao!
Emma’s biggest waterloo during her Miss World Philippines and first Binibining Pilipinas stints was the question and answer rounds. These girls are smart but some aren’t just as spontaneous and this is where Emma keeps on falling short so it was with relief that she was able to sail through the Q&A like a boss and finally able to bagged a national crown! She was flawless throughout the night and I really thought that she’d be be sent to Miss International or Miss Supranational but I guess, SMA wanted a back-to-back crowning in Miss Intercontinental and Emma’s sheer beauty is an ace that could do that.

Leren Mae Bautista Barely Made it…
Leren is one of the girls pegged as the possible Miss Universe Philippines crown successors going into the compeition. Her exotic look was glaring throughout the night making her a possible contender for the top crown. For the Q&A, despite being one of the girls considered to be good communicators, she was just mediocre to say the least. Her beauty and presentation definitely leave a mark to the judges enough for her to creep into the winners’ circle.

Aya’s One Big Moment
Despite not getting one of the ‘coveted’ six titles, Maria Andrea Verdadero Abesamis will always be remembered as a fighter after vindicating herself from her last year’s unsuccessful bid for a crown. Aya came back more polished. She was vibrant on stage and even channeled her Mother Desiree when she competed for the Miss Universe 1984 during the Evening Gown competition. Her readiness was evident last Sunday and although she fell short on clinching a title, her runner-up finish is still a good note to end her pageant career! She should be proud of herself for it must be very difficult doing this all over again!

Samantha’s Sorrow…
Samantha Mae Bernardo made have finished with a runner-up title but it’s probably a bittersweet moment for her since she also garnered the same placing at last year’s Binibining Pilipinas edition. Many thought that she did well but she probably just fell short on getting a few more votes from the judges to get a title. If it’s any consolation, she still have another chance next year to clinch a title as she’s still qualified age-wise. She just have to remember that Pia had to join thrice and even went home empty handed on her second try and had to work hard on her journey to win the Miss Universe crown. I’ve a feeling that this isn’t the end for Samantha’s pageant journey – I just hope that she’d keep it

The Heartbreaking Exclusion of a Fan Favorite!
Last year’s 1st Runner-up Vickie Rushton is one of the fan favorites and frontrunners leading up to last night’s finals. She was on her way to nab one of the crowns, if not the top plum until the dreaded Q & A got to her. She was asked why mental health is as important as physical health. She already started wobbly and was about to recover until the live audience (unheard through the TV) started jeering and the girl who’s perceived to be THE ONE TO BEAT all night long lost her train of thoughts and regrettably resigned to the inevitable.

I was really hoping that she’d do a Karen Gallman and still end up winning one of the crowns, alas, the judges deemed the other girls answers too strong for them to spare her a title. It was just heartbreaking to see her defeated expression after her turn in the Q&A portion. Online sources are stating that she’s already 27 thus overage to join again next year, but for now I hope she finds time to rest and be with the people who loves and supports her. And I also hope that people will stop shaming her for her Q&A performance because I could only guess how difficult it is to be in her position last Sunday.

Conclusion:
Overall, I can say that this is one of the best Binibining Pilipinas editions I’ve watched to date. The pacing was way better, the hosts are great in general and the quality of the contestants are some of the best we’ve had in years – I’d say that this is the most competitive edition in the last five years. Although the pre-pageant took months due to the Miss Universe Philippines franchise hoopla, we’re still treated with a surprisingly amazing show. Camera-works was still a missed at some parts but overall, it was a well-delivered show. Kudos to ABS-CBN and to Binibining Pilipinas Organization for bringing us another awesome edition of the most beautiful night in the Philippines!

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ICYMI: Karen Gallman of The Philippines Wins Miss Intercontinental 2018/2019!

Congratulations are in order for The Philippines‘ very first Miss Intercontinental crown courtesy of the very beautiful Karen Juanita Gallman!

She was adjudged the fairest amongst the 80 delegates around the world who competed for the title at the Mall of Asia Arena in the Philippines last January 26 of this year.

Karen is the last Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Queen to compete internationally and the second to win the title too after Catriona Gray bagged the Miss Universe title last year in Bangkok.

Her Intercontinental court are:
Adriana Moya – Costa Rica, 1st Runner-up
Laura Longauerová – Slovak Republic, 2nd Runner-up
Hillary Hollman del Prado – Colombia, 3rd Runner-up
Ngân Anh Lê Âu – Vietnam, 4th Runner-up
Bella Lire Lapso – Ethiopia, 5th Runner-up

Congratulations Karen, Mabuhay ka!

ICYMI: Catriona Gray on the cover of PeopleAsia Magazine – January 2019

You can now buy your own copy of Catriona Gray’s first printed magazine cover as Miss Universe through PeopleAsia’s Special Collector’s Issue this month.

The inside stories will include her preparation for the pageant, her thoughts and analysis on why she won and PeopleAsia’s front-view observation during the coronation night!

This collector’s issue will also feature Catriona’s long-time collaborator – the Kapampangan designer Mak Tumang and our three previous Misses Universe – Pia Wurtzbach (2015), Margie Moran (1973) and Gloria Diaz (1969).

Miss Universe® 2018 : Meet the Preliminary and Final Telecast Judges!

The Miss Universe Organization just announced today the name of the all-female commitee who will determine the successor of Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters as the next Miss Universe. Both preliminary and final telecast will be judged by the same panel. They are:

Bui Simon/gettyimages

Porntip “Bui” Simon
Miss Universe 1988 from Thailand, founder of Angel Wings Foundation, which addresses the needs of Thailand’s young and vulnerable citizens with increased educational opportunities

Monique Lhuillier/gettyimages

Monique Lhuillier
World renowned bridal and fashion designer with creations worn by celebrated women including first ladies of the United States for more than two decades; member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America

Janaye Ingram/nydailynews

Janaye Ingram
Corporate executive, political grassroots organizer and founder of Women’s March, Inc.; 2017 Glamour Magazine Women of the Year along with her fellow Women’s March organizers; Miss New Jersey USA 2004
Michelle McLean: Returning to Bangkok, where she was crowned Miss Universe 1992 from Namibia, internationally recognized model and television presenter; Chairperson of the Michelle McLean Children Trust and Founding partner of the Business of Beauty

Iman Oubou/outremersbeyou.com

Iman Oubou
Moroccan-American entrepreneur, former pageant titleholder and founder of women’s digital platform SWAAY MEDIA; published scientist recently named as one of CIO Magazine’s 2018 “Female Entrepreneur’s to Watch” and awarded the first ever “Visage Du Maroc” of 2018, a new initiative uplifting female voices in Morocco and across the Middle East

Lili Gil Valletta/bizjournals.com

Lili Gil Valletta
Award-winning entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of CulturIntel and CIEN+, TV business commentator and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader; O.S. Hispanic Businessperson of the Year; and 2018 Women of Excellence Award recipient, among others

Richelle Singson-Michael/LinkedIn

Richelle Singson-Michael
CEO of Platinum Skies Aviation and FinTech Casha.me; pioneering architect and Vice Chairwoman of the LCS Group of Companies, which led and oversaw the successful hosting of the 65th MISS UNIVERSE® in the Philippines

Miss Philippines’ Catriona Gray’s National Costume for Miss Universe 2018 – #BuongPilipinas

I’ve been MIA during the start of the Miss Universe proper in Bangkok because I’m attending some personal issues but now that I’ve found some time to actually post some updates here, let me start with yesterday’s National Costume show.

Miss Universe Philippines Catriona Gray’s national costume was one of the most anticipated costumes of any Philippine delegate to ever compete in the pageant as well as any delegates in this year’s edition. The costume apresented to the public last night in Pattaya garnered polarizing reception from the different spectrum of social media.

Her elaborate costume with a touch of the #BuongPilipinas or the whole Philippines is something that has never been seen from a Philippine delegate in the past editions or any international beauty pageants that usually settles for a single-themed outfits.

This intricately designed ensemble is called “LuzViMinda” in a collaboration of different designers with Catriona’s inputs too! Jojo Bragais designed and provided the thigh-high boots and the beautiful headress representating Mindanao, Eric Quiwa for the Parol representing Luzon and Jearson Demavivas who spearheaded the creation of this costume and was also responsible for Catriona’s winning national costume during the Binibining Pilipinas earlier this year worked on the Pintados body representing the Visayas region.

The costume may have not garnered universal acclaim but for a delegate to represent the country with such pride in our culture and heritage is achievement enough and is already a winner in my book!

In the midst of sociopolitical divisiveness in the Philippines, Catriona Gray and her team made me realized that outside of this spectrum, there’s a lot to be proud of our country, our people and our history.

Maraming Salamat!

It’s All or Nothing for Catriona Gray Come Miss Universe 2018!

Catriona Gray under the lens of Raymond Saldaña

The Miss Universe competition proper is looming around and it’s going to be an all or nothing journey for Philippines’ bet Catriona Gray as she aims to win the fourth Miss Universe crown for the country, merely three years after Pia Wurtzbach controversial crowning in Las Vegas.

In her recent guesting in The Bottom Line with Boy Abunda, Gray stated that she never considered failure in terms of actually winning the crown.

I never consider failure. Why? Because I feel that if you have that in your vision, it will distract you, it will withdraw your energy from you. And I need 100%, 120% of my energy to go towards winning.

In a stunning showcase of her gift of gab, Catriona answered questions relevant to the country and issues its facing today and she answered them oh-so-eloquently, whilst getting tips from the Talk Show king Abunda himself.

Here are some of the questions asked by the panel.

What’s her take on the recent passage of the Mental Health Act:
I think it’s a great step forward because I believe that there’s more awareness now than there ever was before. And it’s something usually that wasn’t talked about because we thought it was a weak will or weak sense of character. Maybe they’re just going through something bad or we made up all these excuses to color over what was the truth behind it. But now that we have something that can be put in place, the proper education can finds its way to the hands of people that need it. And the stigma can start to break apart.

Why is she mum about her political views:
I like to take it as if it’s the time and place. I am not going to be a public figure that just spouses an opinion without being considerate of both sides and validating both sides because at the end of the day, I wear a Philippines sash and the Philippines is made up of millions of Filipinos with different points of view and different political standpoints. So I never want to polarize that.

The truth why she decided to apply as an independent candidate during the Binibining Pilipinas when she was initially under Aces & Queens back when she competed for Miss World Philippines and subsequently won: (Would you rather be the one who hides the truth, or tells a lie)
I would rather be the one who hides the truth because I believe no matter what, the truth will always come out. And I always believe that staying true to myself which is what I did in being an independent candidate, I just wanted to create my own team. Instead of focusing on multiple girls, I got undecided focus from a team of people that I chose myself. So I was allowed to be creative in that space and surround myself with a core team and it’s one of the best decisions I made

And the question that made Boy Abunda jump off his seat! It was really funny, tbh.
How would you convince a feminist that beauty pageant are still relevant?
I believe the aim of feminism isn’t to bring women down for what they choose to express themselves as or what they choose to pursue. I think and I believe that the whole aim of feminism is to support women in whatever they choose to do as long as it’s considerate and respectful to someone else.

With the caliber of how she answered these hard-hitting questions, it is very hard to lower our expectations for Catriona who is heading to Thailand next month as one of the pageant’s frontrunners.

Will the world, the universe rather finally align for Catriona?

Spotted: Rachel Peters, Pia Wurtzbach with Catriona Gray.

Here’s Miss Universe Philippines Catriona Gray with Miss Intercontinental 2015 1st Runner Up Christi McGarry, Miss Universe 2017 Top 10 finisher Rachel Peters and Talent scout Harley Tan.

And here’s Catriona with Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach for a program launched by Love Yourself PH earlier in the day.

Catriona sure is everywhere!

My Miss Universe October 2018 Hot Picks!

I know this post is a bit overdue but I had this note on my phone with my Top 9 only until the last month ended. I’ve tried checking out more girls and their trainings, their outfits and a lot more that has to do with their exposure but only came up with the same girls who are getting the hype since the start of the pageant season. So without further ado, let me present to you my Top 9 Hot Picks for the month of October!

In ninth place is Canada’s Marta Stepien. See, I loved Canada’s type of beauty just like the earlier comparison to superstar Taylor Swift, Marta has the type of beauty that would do well in Thailand like her compatriot Natalie Glebova when she snatched the crown from the Latinas in 2005. She’s went down on my list because I haven’t that much change in her – good or bad. I still think that she’s one of the frontrunners but her chances for me is dwindling.

At number eight is Sthefany Gutiérrez of Venezuela. I loved the fact that she’s experimenting with her looks now and that she’s listening to her supporters. I thought she looks a bit mature with her ‘pocahontas’ hair and too heavy make up so I’m very much happy with her different looks now. Seriously, she’s hella pretty with a no make-up makeup look.

Number seven for me is host delegate Sophida Kanchanarin. This Thai beauty is one of my favorite Asian beauties this year. I just loved her oriental bone structure and her classy aura. I still don’t see her winning the whole thing but she’s inching towards the Top 5 for me.

At sixth place is H’Hen Niê of Vietnam. I’m still on a fence with her recent styling with longer hair. I mean, she’s got a beautiful face but it felt too forced. Her face is meant to be shown with her current short do. She’s definitely one of the strongest Asian delegates this year!

On fifth place for me is Puerto Rico’s Kiara Ortega. Puerto has never reached the Top 3 in this decade but it looks like Kiki is about to avenge her compatriots most especially Bodine Koehler who got snubbed in 2013. Kiki is young, personable but lacks in height. Some people are touting her to be one of the ‘girls to beat’ but I am pretty sure that at this point – the girl to beat remains the same from my last Hot Picks – bias aside.

Coming in at fourth place for me is none other than South Africa’s Tamaryn Green. She also went down for me last month. She’s looking too mascular for me so she needs to exudes a little bit of softness come pageant proper in order to stand out the way Demi started her game plan to win the crown in Vegas last year.

My third placer is Miss USA, Sarah Rose Summers. I loved Sarah Rose’ looks and again, I keep on saying that her winning personality will make her shine in Thailand. I’m not sure if she’s really that focused in winning the crown or she’s content to just be Miss USA since her prizes as the reigning queen is the same with her Miss Universe counterpart. I still she’s one of the strongest delegates this year and she’s just so pretty to begin with so I have her as my third best’ for October.

My number two is Valeria Morales of Colombia. I’m very much enamored by her Juliana Franco’s aura and she’s a very good speaker too. I wished that she could speak English fluently to cater to her international fans but I think she’s the biggest rival of the ‘girl to beat’ at this point.

And my numbero uno pick is still our very own Miss Universe Philippines Catriona Gray. It’s always been Catriona Gray, you say but she’s really THAT girl who could bring Miss Universe into a whole new level. She’s beautiful, current, has a fun personality and most importantly – the gift of gab. I’m still in awe everytime I watch her speak about ANY given topics. I’m telling you, she’s coming for your favorites.

Who for you is leading the pack this year???

See you in Thailand next month!

All photos courtesy of missuniverse.com

ICYMI: Catriona Gray & Jezha Huelar’s Send-off!

Jezha and Catriona with Madame Stella Araneta

I’m a bit late in posting this but I’m pretty sure that you’ve read and seen all of there is to see during the send-off of Miss Universe Philippines 2018 Catriona Gray and Binibining Pilipinas-Supranational Jezha Huelar to their pageant assignment overseas.

Catriona of course will be competing at the 67th Miss Universe pageant in our neighboring country, Thailand while Jezha is flying to Poland for the 10th Anniversary Edition of Miss Supranational.

Catriona wowed everyone with her femme fatale styling while Jezha is looking oh-so-sweet with her blue princess cut gown.

Good luck ladies!

Miss Universe 2018 Ticket Prices – Live at the Impact Arena in Bangkok!

For those of you who are planning to watch the 67th Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok, here are the ticket prices you’ve all been waiting for!!!

The prices ranges from 2,500 – 50,000 THB (that’s about 4,000 – 80,000 Philippine Pesos exchange rate as of press time).

So, who’s going to be watching?