PASAY CITY, Philippines – Deciding this year’s Philippine representative to the Miss Universe pageant is perhaps one of the most important decisions the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) and this year’s board of judges will make. For the first time in the Miss Universe’s 60-year history, the Philippines is capable of making a grand slam. With the presentation of this year’s official candidates at the Genting Club in Resorts World Manila on March 12, a grand slam is very possible as predicted.
The three reigning Binibining Pilipinas 2011 title holders (L-R) Isabella Manjon, Bb. Pilipinas -Tourism; Shamcey Supsup, Bb. Pilipinas -Universe; Dianne Necio, Bb. Pilipinas International. The three were presented at Resorts World Manila's Genting Club. Photograph by Mark Joseph de Leon.
With Venus Raj and Shamcey Supsup placing fourth and third runners-up in Miss Universe 2010 and 2011, respectively, the stakes are high for this year’s representative. This 2012, the Philippines is hopeful to achieve a three-straight placement in the finals and if not, earn the coveted title. Maria Margarita ‘Margie’ Moran was crowned Miss Universe in 1973 in Greece and Rose Marie Brosas was almost successful in achieving this feat in 1975, but in-between Guadalupe Sanchez came up short in entering as a runner-up in 1974 and only settled as one of the Top 12 semi-finalists in Miss Universe 1974 held in Manila (the first time an Asian country to host the said prestigious beauty tilt). It could have been a three-peat for the country.
It took the late Rosario ‘Chat’ Silayan to almost bring home the crown in 1980 in Seoul, Korea, but again she only settled for the third runner-up spot and then Ma. Desiree Verdadero went home with another third runner-up place in 1984 in Miami. Later, in 1987 and 1994, Geraldine Asis and Charlene Gonzales only made it as one of the semi-finalists. Then, Miriam Quiambao almost took home the elusive crown, but became the first runner-up to Miss Botswana in 1999.
The pressures are high, too, in the Miss International pageant where the Philippine representative will also be chosen at Binibining Pilipinas. Since 2008, Philippine representatives to Miss International pageant have consistently placed as semi-finalists. Patricia Fernandez made it to the Top 12 in 2008 and Melody Gersbach, Krista Kleiner, and Diane Necio made it to the Top 15 in 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively. If our representative will make it as one of the semi-finalists again this year, Philippines will become the only country, aside from Venezuela, in the Miss International’s 52-year history to make it to semi-finals in 5 consecutive years.
The 30 candidates in their swimwear were presented to the press at the Maxim's Pool in Resorts World Manila. Photograph by Resorts World Manila.
Giving a strong response to the challenge of cementing the Philippines’ resurgence in international beauty pageants, Binibining Pilipinas picked quite a strong field of finalists for this year’s pageant. It was reported that close to 200 candidates from all over the country initially screened for the pageant. The top 92 were called by the organizers later on for a series of screenings where the 30 official candidates were finally chosen to compete on April 15 during the coronation night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and to be aired by ABS-CBN Channel 2, 7pm.
Several regional beauties are on contention of winning the most sought-after beauty titles this year starting with the candidates from Luzon including (No.10) Jillean Camille Orbilla of Isabela, (No.12) Ayelee Marie Dasalla from Mariveles, Bataan, (No. 14) Gina Joy Howell of Urdaneta, Pangasinan, (No.16) Liezl Alcantara from Batanes, (No.18) Janine Tugonon of Balanga, Bataan, (No.26) Angelee delos Reyes from Olongapo City, (No.27) Golda Soller from Roxas, Isabela, (No.29) Annalie Forbes of Malolos City, and (No.30) Sherylyn Gonzales from Bulacan.
The 30 candidates posed before the press. Photograph by Resorts World Manila.
Gorgeous beauty aspirants from the Visayas are also vying for the Binibini titles including (No.8) Nicole Schmitz of Cebu, (No.11) Maria Virginia Peter of Kalibo, Aklan, (No.23) Goldy Baroa of Bacolod City, and (No.28) Marie Irisha Arcenas who also hails from Cebu. They are joined by their fellow contestants from Mindanao starting with (No.6) Maria Alicia Elena Ariosa from Pagadian City, (No.9) Mary Jean Lastimosa of Davao, and (No.24) Fer Mary Baliquig of Oroqueta City.
The Bicolandia is also well represented this year by (No.4) Jaine Hidalgo of Naga City, (No.15) Elaine Kay Moll of Buhi, Camarines Sur, (No.17) Anna Czarina Buenviaje from Malinao, Albay, and (No. 19) Roxane Joy Jesalva of Irosin, Sorsogon. There are also two contestants who are born outside the country but are holding Filipino citizenships. They are (No.1) Karen Gallman who was born in Australia and (No.24) Chloe Zanardi, who is originally from Milan, Italy.
Completing the list of contestants seeing action in two weeks are beauties from the National Capital Region: (No.2) Romelin de Castro of Mandaluyong, (No.3) Nicole Marable also of Mandaluyong, (No.5) Rose Ann Aguilar of Manila, (No.7) Patricia Lae Ejercitado of Makati, (No.13) Katrina Jayne Dimaranan of San Juan, (No.20) Roxanne Tadique of Manila, (No.21) Giselle Angelica Munoz of Pasay, and (No.22) Meiji Cruz of Valenzuela.
Candidates showed-off their curvaceous bodies in their swimwear. They were presented in Resorts World Manila's Genting Club. Photograph by Mark Joseph de Leon.
The 30 candidates were first introduced during their public presentation at the Ali Mall Activity Area in Cubao on February 14 followed by their talent presentation at the same venue on February 24. In the posh Genting Club in Resorts World Manila held on March 14, meanwhile, the candidates were presented to the members of the media while they parade in their swimsuits and in their own Designer Ternos. The candidates also participated in a Fashion Show at the Ali Mall Activity Area on March 17. Finally, the candidates toured around Araneta Center for the parade of beauties on March 25 with their ‘Mardi Gras’ inspired headdresses,.
There will be a Binibining Pilipinas Primer on April 8, 10:30 pm on ABS-CBN for the audience to get a chance to pick their favorites prior to the pageant night. The winning beauties will represent the Philippines in Miss Universe, Miss International, and Miss Tourism International beauty pageants.