Tag Archives: Karen Gallman

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: Eva Patalinjug and Michele Gumabao’s Pageant Send-Off!

Earlier today, a send-off was held at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center for Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2018 Eva Patalinjug and Binibining Pilipinas Globe 2018 Michele Gumabao who are set to represent the country in Miss Grand International in Myanmar and Miss Globe in Albania later this month.

 

They will be the first Binibining Pilipinas queens  to compete this year for their respective pageants. We’ve yet to win the Miss Grand International crown and the closest we’ve come to winning is in 2016 with Nicole Cordovez placing first runner-up. Ann Colis meanwhile successfully got the first Miss Globe crown in 2015 under the Binibining Pilipinas organization.

Amongst the well-wishers are their Binibining Pilipinas sisters – Catriona Gray, Karen Gallman,  Ahtisa Manalo and Jehza Huelar.

Review: 2018 Binibining Pilipinas Grand Coronation Night!

It was a tension-filled Araneta Coliseum last Sunday but everything seems to go in favor of one candidate whose aspiration to represent the country in the biggest pageant stage in the world, the universe rather was not denied by the powers that be.

But let’s talk about that in a few. Let’s discuss first some other details of the grand coronation night of the biggest beauty pageant in the country.

The Stage:
I’m actually not a fan of this year’s stage’s set design. It looks cramped and the lighting wasn’t as good as the previous editions. Last year was definitely heaps better and the big screen for their backdrop looks cheap. I wished they could’ve done something similar to the Miss Earth 2017 staging at the Mall of Asia Arena. That’s just me though, some of my friends thought it was really cute.

And then there’s the horrible camera works! I mean, we’re not at the VIP or even the lower box sections so we rely heavily on the screens hanging at the dome’s ceiling and it’s so annoying when instead of focusing on the contestants, the cameras are lingering more on the audience’ s reactions. I mean, that’s cool and all but don’t let it linger too long because we want to see the girls do their thing!

Opening Number:
We’re a bit late for the opening number but I was able to see it online and I thought it was wonderful! I loved how you can easily discern the most comfortable on stage early on in the competition! As for the cocktail dresses they’re wearing – it wasn’t my favorite but it wasn’t that bad. I guess, I just want more colors or solid bright colors unlike the ones they wore Last Sunday.

On Richard Gutierrez and Pia Wurtzbach as hosts.
I loved how Pia’s more comfortable now than her last year’s almost robotic hosting that made me cringe by simply being reminded by it. This year, she’s more bubbly and doesn’t sound scripted (or reading from the teleprompter) half the time. And she looks gorgeous! Truly, she’s a Miss Universe through and through.

As for Richard – he looked good on stage but it seems like he’s always shouting when he’s speaking. I reckon that he needed to work on that. He could actually learn a thing or two from his twin, Raymond.

Coincidentally, Richard was the host of the Miss World Philippines when Catriona Gray won the title in 2016.

On Nicole Cordovez – I’ve always known that Nicole is a good communicator but I didn’t know that she’s actually this good. She should come back next year and be one of the main hosts. She’s even better than Pia if I may say so.

Special Awards:
Best in National Costume: Catriona Gray
I voted for her several times because she rightfully deserves it. She was phenomenal during the NatCos presentation and her Jason Demavivas Muslim princess-inspired ensemble was just to die for!

Miss Ever Bilena – Catriona Gray
JAG Denim Queen – Catriona Gray
These two major sponsors’ awards were already a bit expected to go to Catriona. Truth be told, Catriona’s every advertisers’ dream! Prior to the pageant night, it should be noted that she also won the Pizza Hut and Dairy Queen promo where the contestants with the most likes wins, proving her star-power and how big a following she’s got.

Manila Bulletin Reader’s Choice – Samantha Bernardo.

Miss Philippine Airlines – Muriel Orais. Her win is already a given as she’s actually THE current face of the Philippien Airlines. You can actually see her life-size standee at airports and ticketing booths.

Miss Photogenic (Face of Binibini) – Eva Psychee Patalinjug
This wasn’t that surprising. Along with her, I was only eying two other girls to possibly win this award and they are Karen Gallman and Catriona Gray.

Miss CreamSilk – Michele Gumabao.

Miss Friendship – Marie Sherry Ann Tormes

Best in Swimsuit – Catriona Gray
She has a really good pasarela and she strutted that icky-yellow two piece bikini in a flirty yet classy way! I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting her to win this award but looking back and watching the video, her bearing was just fabulous!

Best in Long Gown – Catriona Gray

She was such a vision in that princess cut Mak Tumang Swarovski crystal-covered body hugging gown! Her projection and overall aura just screams Miss Universe. And did you guys notice her ear crawlers? It has this pretty details of the sun and three-stars! She totally owned the stage last night!

Top 25 – This was only the second year they did this format of cutting down the contestants from 40 to Top 25 to Top 15. I actually liked it because it makes the whole proceeding faster. I wished they would just trimmed it down right away to Top 15 tho. It’s a pity that we didn’t get to hear the likes of Ena Velasco, Kayesha Chua and Sigrid Grace Flores answers questions in the next round.

Top 25
4 – Ana Patricia Asturias
7 – Sigrid Grace Flores
8 – Shane Quintana Tormes
9 – Agatha Lei Romero
10 – Kayesha Chua
13 – Kristie Rose Cequena
23 – Ena Velasco
34 – Mary Joy De Castro
37 – Patrizia Garcia
39 – Trixia Marie Marana

Top 15 Question and Answer

20 – Catriona Gray – She gave a very solid answer. The way she articulated her answer was just awe-inspiring. She’s calm and sincere all throughout so it’s very easy to see why she would top this round.

17 – Maria Ahtisa Manalo – Ahtisa was a joy to watch last night. I wasn’t that big of a fan but I liked her enough to place her as my alternate for Binibining Pilipinas – International. She surprised me during the Question and Answer portion and I expected her to win a title and she did!

31 – Jehza Mae Huelar – I am so glad that Jehza pulled through last night. I am not a fan but I loved her perseverance and determination to chase her dreams. She gave a good answer and she was rewarded for it. Bravo girl!

32 – Eva Psychee Patalinjug – Although a bit pageant patty, I loved how she exudes grace under pressure.

38 – Karen Juanita Gallman – She’s got a pretty controversial question on whether or not a third bathroom should be built for Trans people. Her question was under the same umbrella of what her camp sister Chanel Thomas diplomatically answered last year.

Karen’s answer however didn’t sit well with the crowd at the Araneta that is why it’s baffling to some how she usurp the ones who answered their questions better.

Now, here’s the thing – you guys have to remember that the results are cumulative scores of each girl from swimsuit, evening gown and the crucial question and answer. I reckon that she was at the upper tier of the scoreboard during the SS and EG competition, hence her high placement overall.

19 – Michele Gumabao – I thought Michele looked absolutely divine during the swimsuit round and she was just pure class in the evening gown competition so I have to wonder what went wrong at the deliberation when she actually gave one of the most cohesive albeit scripted-sounding answers amongst the Top 15. I mean, Miss Globe is nothing to sneeze about but I was maybe expecting her to garner the Binibining Pilipinas – Supranational (presumably the third highest title of the night) because I feel like she’d definitely do well there with her sunny personality and tall frame!

I’ve two theories: One is that she may not have that high of a score in both Swimsuit and Evening Gown rounds to garner a higher title or she may be number two with the judges overall but THE Stella decided that she’s best suited to follow through Nelda Ibe’s footsteps. I am leaning towards the latter.
At the end of the day, a crown is still a crown!

1 – Vickie Marie Rushton – I was so disappointed when Vickie failed to nab one of the crowns. I was hoping that she’d get the Intercontinental title who went to Karen but I guess, the powers that be decided that she’s not ready enough to compete internationally. I am hoping that she’d try again because she’s definitely got what it takes to win it all the next time around.

14 – Samantha Mae Bernardo – I’ve polarizing feelings towards Samantha. I find her too polished and too pageant patty. She did well last night so it probably boils down to getting lesser votes than, say Jehza and Karen to deny her a crown.

3 – Murielle Adrienne Orais – Winning Miss PAL, it looks like she was poised to enter the winners’ circle but after a rather lackluster evening gown presentation and an a-okay q&a, it’s certain that she will be going home empty-handed.

11 – Maria Andrea Abesamis – Okay, first let me just say that I owe Aya an apology for putting her in a negative light in one of my hot picks where I mentioned her family connections and related it to winning a crown. It was uncalled for and for that, I publicly apologized to her. Aya was pure class last night. Her polarizing beauty was truly mesmerizing on stage. She had this quiet dignity about her that made me realize that Aya wasn’t just competing because she knows that she could easily win this due to family connections. No. She’s actually competing because she is a beautiful Filipina who is proud of her achievements and the achievements of her Mother and perhaps dreams of representing the country in the same stage where her Mother competed. My hats off to you, Aya. You are one classy lady!

15 – Juliana Kapeundl – I was actually surprised that Juliana made it all the way to the top 15 over Flores and another favorite, Ena Velasco.

21 – Anjame Magbitang – This girl is a diamond in the rough. She’s young and she’s got tons of potentials. Just a little polishing here and there – make her read a lot of books, expose her to different things and she’ll go all the way to the Miss Universe stage the next time we see her.

24 – Edjelyn Joy Gamboa – She was very beautiful on stage but she kind of lacks charisma for me.

26 – Wynonah Van Joy Buot – Okay, Wynonah may have answered her question on point because that’s her belief. Also, I don’t think some of the judges especially a couple of foreign dignitaries knows who Toni Gonzaga is. My theory is that she was at the bottom half of the Top 15 of the SS and EG round rendering her high Q&A score useless.

35 – Sandra Lemonon – Poor Sandra. She was robbed the opportunity to shine through because she got one of the most difficult questions of the night. I loved how candid she was about not knowing what the Build, Build, Build project was. It just felt that she just gave up easily. I wished that she just gave a message of some sort for her to use her 30 seconds to answer. Nevertheless, her courage as she painfully admitted not knowing such project was commendable. I’d definitely want to see her rock it next year! Two words – CLASS ACT.

New crowns: In pictures, they looked tacky but if you look really up close, they are actually very beautiful! I’m super glad that Madam SMA and co finally listened to pageant fans wishes for new crowns!

Miss Universe Philippines 2018 20 – Catriona Gray
Bb. Pilipinas – International 2018 17 – Maria Ahtisa Manalo
Bb. Pilipinas – Supranational 2018 31 – Jehza Mae Huelar
Bb. Pilipinas – Grand International 2018 32 – Eva Psychee Patalinjug
Bb. Pilipinas – Intercontinental 2018 38 – Karen Juanita Gallman
Bb. Pilipinas – Globe 2018 19 – Michele Gumabao
Bb. Pilipinas 2018 1st Runner-up 1 – Vickie Marie Rushton
Bb. Pilipinas 2018 2nd Runner-up 14 – Samantha Mae Bernardo

Overall, this was an interesting production which needs a bit of improvement. Although I’ve to say that we’re lucky because I think this is the best batch of winners from this decade. I’ve high hopes that six of them will either win their respective competition or place in the semis at the least. But no matter what, we’re already proud of you girls!

Good luck! Mabuhay kayong lahat!

Former Miss World PH Catriona Gray wins Miss Universe Philippines 2018! 

And the Universe heeded our plea as Catriona Elisa Magnayon Gray made history as the first Filipina to be crowned as Miss World Philippines (back in 2016) and Miss Universe Philippines in this year’s edition of the Binibining Pilipinas Beauty Pageant.

Gray bested 39 other hopefuls for the top plum and won 5 major awards that includes the Pitoy Moreno Best in National Costume, Miss Ever Bilena, Jag Denim Queen, Best in Swimsuit and the Best in Evening Gown.

Other winners are Ahtisa Manalo for Bb.Pilipinas – International, Eva Psychee Patalinjug for Bb.Pilipinas Grand – International, Jehza Huelar for Bb.Pilipinas – Supranational, Karen Gallman for Bb.Pilipinas – Intercontinental and Michele Gumabao for Bb.Pilipinas – Globe. Vickie Rushton and Samantha Bernardo settled for first and second runners – up respectively.

Full review to follow!!!

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: 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.

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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: 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.