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!
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 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.
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!