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.
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!
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.
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.
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!