Binibining Pilipinas Specials 2018: Final Hot Picks & Predictions

In three days’ time, the winners of Binibining Pilipinas 2018 will be announced in a grand coronation at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Six girls will be crowned and will represent the country to these pageants – Miss Universe, Miss International, Miss Supranational, Miss Grand International, Miss Intercontinental and Miss Globe.

With that being said, let me present to you my final pick for these titles along with the girls whom I think will most likely to spoil it for each title.

Binibining Pilipinas – Globe
The Miss Globe organization is a generous organization who has gifted us two winners already – Maricar Balagtas in 2001 (before the conflicts of the owners and when it was still an Istanbul based pageant) and most recently, Ann Colis (2015, now simply Miss Globe based in Canada). Nelda Ibe almost got the title last year and it’s easy to say that the organization is basically looking for a polished contestant to represent their brand. With that being said, I would pick Vickie Rushton as the best delegate to represent the Philippines. With her sultry look and very interesting background, she could easily seal the deal for our third win.

Most Likely to Upset: Ma. Andrea Abesamis. Aya’s polarizing appeal may do wonders overseas and she could clinch the third Miss Globe title for the country just as easily.

Binibining Pilipinas – Grand International

This budding Thai-owned pageant has been a tough nut to crack for the Philippines. The country has been sending top notch delegates such as Parul Shah, Nicole Cordovez and Elizabeth Clenci from last year who finished 3rd overall. With ‘promotion of peace and love’ as the pageant’s motto, I could easily envisioned Dr. Ena Velasco using her profession to easily see her way through the top and win the country’s first Miss Grand International title. Blessed with a pleasant mixed of Pacific and Oriental beauty – Ena is the perfect girl to win this title.

Most Likely to Upset: Karen Gallman’s beauty is definitely Nawat’s type of beauty. She’s like a petite latina beauty contestant and we all know how much Nawat loves her Latinas. Karen is a solid candidate but her height pretty much derails her chances on clinching the top 2 crowns.

Binibining Pilipinas – Intercontinental

Like in Miss Grand International, the country hasn’t won its first crown from this pageant. Pageant fans and pundits were in shock earlier this year when favorite Katarina Rodriguez failed to snag the crown but since it’s all done and over with, it seems like the best contestant to send here is the polarizing beauty of Ma. Andrea Verdadero Abesamis. I initially pegged her as the ultimate spoiler for the Miss Universe Philippines crown but as we approaches the finale, it looks like Aya will be best suited for this pageant for its unpredictability.

Most Likely to Upset: Michele Gumabao may also be a good fit for this pageant. She’s a great talker and an amazing personality that nobody cannot resist.

Binibining Pilipinas – Supranational

If there is one contestant who could charm this Europe-based pageant, Michele Gumabao with her statuesque frame and fun personality may just be the girl for it. Since the win of Korea’s Jenny Kim last year, it’s now kind of difficult to say if her win was just a bleep from their usual type of winners but knowing Michele could easily adjust the way she did from being a professional athlete into becoming a beauty pageant contestant, she could easily make her presence known and perhaps get our second win from this pageant.

Most Likely to Upset: I’ve to settle for Ahtisa right here as the second-best for this title. If she’s unable to clinch the International sash, she could easily be our Miss Supranational rep where her beauty will surely be appreciated first and foremost.

Binibining Pilipinas – International

This is actually a tricky one for me because I’ve consistently pitted two girls for this title since the very beginning. I thought it’d be a two-way battle between Vickie Rushton and Ahtisa Manalo, but lo and behold – Sigrid Grace Flores came out of nowhere leading up to the final stretch of the competition. Her contagious smile and glowing aura during the Parade of Beauties and her communication skills that was briefly showcased during The Road to the Crown was enough to render Vickie & Ahtisa’s arsenal weak to clinch the second highest title in the competition.

Most Likely To Upset: Angelie Asuncion. She’s one of the few girls who stood out for me in the televised Road to the Crown primer. What a revelation! She reminds me so much of her camp sister, Janicel Lubina. If Sigrid won’t make it past Ahtisa and Vickie, I’ve no problem with Angelie nabbing this title.

Miss Universe Philippines

This has been Catriona’s title to lose since the very beginning. Catriona went to the screening battle-ready and up to this point, she’s the girl that’s been tagged as the one to beat and the girl with the complete package. Barring any “political” moves against her, the probability of her getting the top plum is almost at a 100%.

Her gift of gab, facial beauty, elegant aura, towering height and international experience are what made her my ultimate Miss Universe Philippines.

Most Likely to Upset: Another fan favorite, Michele Gumabao may provide a hurdle to Catriona’s path to the MUP crown but I honestly don’t see her usurping Cat for the top title of the night.

I recall reading a comment from somewhere that actually encapsulate my thoughts about the Bb.Pilipinas Organization choosing the new Miss Universe Philippines – If they are gunning for the fourth Miss Universe crown – they should crown Catriona. If they’re after the continuous semis streak – choose Michele or Ena. If we want to rest for a bit and give others a chance to penetrate the semis – pick Aya.

I am now going to pray that we’d get the best results come Sunday night #forthePhilippines


Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Specials: Third Hot Picks!

We are just two weeks away from the finals night of choosing the next batch of Binibining Pilipinas queens and it’s getting more and more intense for our forty girls in terms of consistency and peaking at the right time. I feel like some faded since my last hot picks and had trouble getting the attention of fans and pundits when it matters. With that being said, here are my hot picks before my final prediction for the finale.It’s very difficult to topple Catriona out of the top spot at this point. There’s no denying that the hype around her is justifiably real. She’s not flawless but she knows how to capitalize her other assets that pundits tends to forget what she’s lacking. Catriona by any means is a league of her own. During the most recent fashion show at Kia Theater, her performance completely annihilated the compeition. She has Miss Universe Philippines written all over her face. At this stage of the competition, she’s still very much the one to beat.

Ahtisa Manalo has finally overtook Vicky Rushton in terms of overall performance in the last couple of weeks. On stage, she was glowing and she’s getting better and better. She’s now poised to spoil the game from the initial frontrunners for the Binibining Pilipinas – International title.

Michele Gumabao’s transformation has been nothing short of amazing. Her metamorphosis from being a national volleyball athlete to being a national beauty pageant contestant is one of the best things to happen this season. She’s doing her assignment and it’s paying off.

Vicky Rushton is still a contender for one of the crowns. A Miss International prototype, she’s still one of the favorites to win but recently, she’s been playing it safe which might cost her a title. She’s still amongst the strongest though, but she definitely need to step it up!

Ena Velasco may have fallen from the top of my list but she’s still firmly in the winners’ circle for me. I feel like she’s being overpowered by the stronger contestants but her overall performance from the last two weeks is really nothing to scoff about. Like Vicky, she’s a strong contender but she’s slowly fading. I am hoping that she’d gain more steam as we approach the finale.

Ulimate Spoiler:
I’d like to include other girls here like Samantha Bernardo, Eva Patalinjug, Karen Gallman and even Roseantonette but methinks that Aya VERDADERO Abesamis’ pedigree is something that would be use to advance her fight in the competition. Not to take away too much credit from her but she’s being overpowered by the “talks” of her connections. It’s a nasty thing to imply that she’d be nowehere without these connections but If I were a betting man, I’d place my bet on her to spoil everything. She seems determine to prove her worth but will it be enough to topple the top 5 above her? We’ll see…

Photos courtesy of the Binibining Pilipinas Facebook Page

Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Specials: Top 10 National Costume!

I’ve just been to the KIA Theater last night (about 6 hours ago) for the presentation of this year’s Binibining Pilipinas National Costume. This year, it wasn’t just a celebration of beauty but also of culture and heritage. Filipino designers once again showcased their creativity, inspiring and elaborate designs that will make you proud to be a Filipino.

With that being said, 10 costumes were adjudged to be the best amongst the 40 amazing designs. But before that, lemme share my very own Top 10 vs the actual Top 10.

My personal Top 3 are from Catriona Gray (#20), Vicky Rushton (#1) and the one wearing the white hijab – (#4) Ana Patricia Asturias.

Below are the actual Top 10 who made the cut and votes from the public thru Binibining Pilipinas’ social media will determine the winner of the Best in National Costume award.

photos courtesy of Bb.Pilipinas 2018 Facebook Page.


Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Specials: Meeting The Press

Earlier today, the 40 hopefuls of Binibining Pilipinas had their press presentation showing off their bikini bodies and great personalities while sashaying the stage mounted at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center.

Amongst the 40 candidates, these are the 10 ladies who made an impression on me upon seeing their pictures and videos!

(L-R: Vicky Rushton, Catriona Gray, Kaizelle Cajandig, Michele Gumabao, Ena Velasco)

(L-R: Anjame Magbingtang, Shane Tormes, Eva Patalinjug, Samantha Bernardo, Aya Abesamis)

Who are your picks?

photos courtesy of Bb.Pilipinas Facebook Page.



Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Specials: My Second Hot Picks!

I’ve had a hard time selecting the girls for my second hot picks. After seeing them in person during the talent competition and their sponsors tour, there are some girls who went up from practically nowhere to the top of my list. Catriona is still a force in the competition. I firmly believe that she’s still the one to beat for the top plum at this point but there are girls who are peaking at this point and are challenging her claim to the most coveted crown.

It’s not going to be easy for Catriona to maintain her stronghold to the Miss Universe Philippines title but her international exposure, gift for gab and universal beauty are still the main factors that’s keeping her afloat amongst these bevy of beauties. She is still my Top Pick at this point.

Trailing behind her is the formidabble rallying of Ena Velasco. She’s slowly and surely becoming one of those girls that may pose a greater challenge to Catriona. She is beautiful, moves like a gazelle and her background as a doctor will play well to her advantage. For now, she is my alternate pick for the top title.

We cannot easily discard beauty over brains. This is a beauty pageant after all. Ma. Ahtisa Manalo is arguably the prettiest in this batch and her beauty alone could catapult her to the top. She is undeniable. A Miss International prototype to the hilt.

Vicky Rushton may just be Ahtisa’s biggest rival for the International crown. She’s like a ray of sunshine with that effervescent smile. Her presence has been widely felt in the competition since the beginning and I’m expecting her to peak real soon.

I am quite certain that if Michele Gumabao will be fielded to the Miss Supranational, there’s a big chance for her to bring the crown back to Asia. I’m still not discounting her to win the top plum but she’s kind of fading for me.

Karen Gallman is at a disadvantage because of her height but like Catriona, her gift of gab may just give her one of the coveted crowns. For now, I am delegating her as Katarina’s succesor.


I am delegating Aya Abesamis and Samantha Bernardo as my 7th and 8th placer for now. Both have polarizing yet similar auras. They are also in the ‘oldest’ contestants category so I am expecting that they will either go home crownless or one of them will do an upset.

To complete my Top 10 are Wynonah Buot and Loren Mar Artajos.
Wynonah because of her facial beauty alone. I’m still not sold by her overall packaging but I think she’s still got a lot to offer. Artajos’ experience will be a huge advantage for her but up to this point, I’m not seeing her advancing into the winners’ circle but she’s definitely part of the upper 50% .


Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Specials: Who’s Your JAG Denim Queen?

As one of the major sponsors of this year’s edition, Jag Jeans is letting you choose who you think should be this year’s Jag Jeans Denim Queen!

You can vote for your favorite candidate by hitting the LIKE and SHARE button of the official video found on the page timeline of JAG Jeans

Online votes through number of LIKES & SHARES on facebook will aid the brand in choosing which Binibini reigns best in JAG Jeans.

JAG Denim Queen 2018 Award winner will receive P100,000* worth of prizes.

Voting via FB LIKE & SHARE is until March 17 at 12nn.
JAG Denim Queen 2018 will be awarded on-stage during the Coronation Night on March 18 at the Smart, Araneta Coliseum.

Use the following tags for your shares:
Example: #Binibini(number)#JAGDenimQueen2018 #JAGJEANSPH #BbPilipinas2018
@Jagjeans @RealBBPilipinas

Here are my Top 3 favorites amongst the 40 lovely candidates!

Muriel Orais

Catriona Gray

Ena Velasco

Who are your favorites?



Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Specials: My Top 6 First Hot Picks

I’ve been going back and forth with my first hot picks and finally decided with this list.

Catriona Gray is easily the most recognizable for pageant fans and pundits all over the world. By joining the biggest national pageant in the land, she’s as good as secured with one of the national crowns at stake. If the finals were to happen tomorrow, the biggest travesty would be denying her the Miss Universe Philippines crown.  This makes Catriona the one to beat at this point.

Michelle Gumabao isn’t new to the spotlight.  Being a celebrity daughter of Denis Roldan and being one of the top volleyball players in the country, it is easy for her to play the camera. Her height is one of her advantages, and like Catriona whose gift for gab is unbeatable – Michelle comes second, adding new admirers as her Binibining Pilipinas journey unfolds.  She is my alternate MUP contender.

Vickie Rushton at this point is slowly gaining momentum as the prime candidate for the Binibining Pilipinas – International crown. All the girls may be targeting the MUP sash but if Vickie’s dream is to represent the country in this Japan-based major pageant, then title is hers to lose at this point.

Sandra Lemonon’s face is flawless. She’s Isabela Manjon Version 2 but way prettier. She’s also very articulate but I find her styling a bit bland. Nevertheless, she’s one of the strongest girls in the competition. For now, I will be assigning her as my Bb.Pilipinas – Supranational!

Karen Gallman is the strongest repeater this year and six years after her first attempt for the crown, it is easy to see how she’s grown more confident with the way she carry herself. My only hesitation in putting her higher than my first four is her height. She’s short and she looks short. But hey, if Olivia Culpo could win Miss Universe with that face – Karen’s nothing to sneer about. She is my Miss Globe Philippines for now.

Muriel Orais isn’t even on my radar until I saw her web interview a week ago. This girl is oozing with simple elegance. I loved the vulnerability I saw in that video and she speaks pretty well! She actually reminded me of Stephanie Retuya from Asia’s Next Top Model Season 1. For now, she’s one of my top contenders and I am delegating her as my Miss Intercontinental succeeding Katarina Rodriguez – again, for now.

Who are your top picks for the Binibining Pilipinas crowns?

Images courtesy of the Official Facebook Page of Binibining Pilipinas. 
Photography: Raymond Saldaña
Styled by: Patrick Henry Mergano

Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Specials: The Repeaters

There are only three candidates this year who are out to prove themselves worthy of a Binibining Pilipinas crown after failing their first and even second and third try at the nationals. They may not have the hype of MJ Lastimosa (2011, 2012, 2014 – Miss Universe Philippines), Maria Angelica de Leon (2013, 2017 – Bb. Pilipinas International), and Pia Wurtzbach (2013, 2014, 2015 – Miss Universe Philippines, Miss Universe) but they will surely be stepping up their game this time around.

Juliana Kapeundl just landed in the Top 15 last year – her first attempt. I personally predicted her as my first runner-up because truth be told, the girl is too gorgeous in person.

Here’s what I wrote about her last year: Juliana is a living barbie doll in person and I just want her to train more and come back next year because this girl just screams “Miss International!” but not this year though.

This is Jezha Huelar’s third attempt to win a crown after her being 2nd Runner-up  in 2016 and a Top 15 finish last year, Jezha is more than ready for her final hurrah in the country’s biggest pageant stage!

What I thought about her return last year: Jezha Huelar’s second runner-up finish last year helped her gain confidence and the training she went through along with the 2016 queens was the result of her fierce return into the compeition. I was never a fan before but she’s slowly growing on me. Those legs are to die for! Not sure how many brownie points she had acquired from Madame Stella over the course of her runner-up reign but for now, I am willing to bet that she’d get one of the crowns – the ‘Globe’ one presumably.

Finally, we have 2012 semifinalist Karen Gallman. IMO, she’s the strongest amongst the three returnees this year. Her face to die for and I’ve a feeling that gaining life experiences overseas will work in her favors although I am a bit worried about her height. Pero sabi nga ng Tita Beks ko, at the end of the day BEAUTY pageant parin ang Binbinin (At the end of the day, Binibini is still a BEAUTY pageant).

Who do you think has the best chances to clinch a crown this time around?


Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Specials: The Frontrunners

Whilst Katarina Rodriguez is currently competing in Egypt to bag the elusive Miss Intercontinental crown for the Philippines, the pageant season in the country has officially started with the announcement of this year’s Binibining Pilipinas official candidates.

As per our tradition, we catapult girls to the all-so-important and perhaps the most difficult position to be in – the frontrunners pedestal where there is intense pressure from every pageant fans and pundits.

This year, we’ve a few frontrunners who are mostly crossovers and returnees, although there are also some newbies amongst them. Rest assured though, that these girls have the experience, the hype and the power to lord it over the other girls. The only question is – will they be able to maintain said status until the pageant night?

These are the seven considered frontunners based on the hype, connections, experiences or whatever you wanna call it. They have it.

We’ve been hearing Aya Abesami’s name since 2014 as a possible contender for the nationals but it’s only now that she decided to try out under the tutelage of Aces & Queens allegedly leaving behind a very stable job from the Big Apple.

For all of you unaware of her beauty queen pedigree, Aya is the daughter of Miss Universe 1984 3rd Runner-Up Desiree Verdadero and the niece of Miss World 2003 finalist Mafae Verdadero Yunon. Pretty formidable connections yeah?

She is now being touted by many as the flag bearer of her beauty camp but does she have what it takes to win the top plum? Her beauty is a polarizing one but we have to remember that Aya before her beauty pageant quest is a model first and foremost. Will she be able to carry on her legacy this year?

Former DLSU Lady Spiker and Pinoy Big Brother housemate Michelle Gumabao is also gunning for one of the national titles this year as the lone sportswoman who applied and made it through the Top 40. Daughter of veteran Filipino actor Dennis Roldan, Gumabao is one of the tallest from this batch and is all ready to power it up under the Aces & Queens banner.

This is Jehza Huelar’s third attempt to win a crown after her 2nd Runner-Up title in 2016 and disheartening Top 15 finish last year. This Davaoena beauty is still as fresh as ever and she’s now hoping that she’d be able to do a Maricar-MJ-Pia comeback! Mind you, all three of these ladies went eventually won the Miss Universe Philippines title.

Karen Gallman made the semis back in 2012 and won the Miss Photogenic award. After a long hiatus in the pageant world, this beauty from Brisbane is all set to snatch one of the crowns at stake. Her height maybe her most disadvantageous quality at this point but we’ll see if the she’d be able to do a David against her Goliath competitors.

Vickie Rushton is a budding actress and a former Mutya ng Pilipinas 2011 grand winner where Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago was also a co-winner. In 2011, she was unable to represent the country in Miss Intercontinental because of scheduling conflict between the local and the international pageant. Now, she’s back stronger than ever in the pageant stage hoping the represent the country in the international arena!

Like Vickie, Eva Patalinjug was also a Mutya ng Pilipinas grand winner back in 2014 and was supposed to represent the country for the comeback staging of Miss Asia Pacific Quest. Unfortunately for her, the organizers of the pageant were unable to stage it on time until last year so Eva was left without a pageant assignment but retained the title anyhow. Now older and more beautiful, this Cebuana queen is consider to be the flag bearer of the Kagandahang Flores camp, the same camp of reigning Miss Universe Philippines Rachel Peters.

Without question, Catriona Gray became the one to beat the moment she declared her intention to try out for the nationals. Now, as part of the official 40 candidates, this Miss World 2016 Top 5 finisher is more than ready to conquer the universe. Will the stars align in her favor come March 18?

Who for you are the frontrunner/s this year?



photos courtesy of Official Binibining Pilipinas Facebook Page.