MISS WORLD 2014 PHILIPPINES: DOMINANCE OF A GERMANIC FILIPINA (CONCLUSION)

I got four of the Final Five finalists correct.  Little did I expect that one lady (besides the eventual winner) with connections to the broadcasting network of this pageant would be given a slot.  One might wonder why despite the fact that three Filipinas with Germanic surnames (and when I mean Germanic, I am including English), my title refers to a singular instead of plural–that reason would be evident when you read further on this essay.  Without further ado, let’s take a look at the four princesses and the winner starting with…

4TH PRINCESS: CANDIDATE NO. 7 – Rachel Louise Peters.  Too bad the one-piece swimsuits during coronation night prevented her from showcasing her mega-buffed figure to the hilt, though she undeniably made the effort.  She garnered two special awards–Yahoo Readers’ Choice and Miss Alluring.  If it weren’t for the final speech, she could’ve been Top Four or even Top Three.  Unfortunately, a momentary lapse in her train of thought cost her dearly that she ended up in the rear–only the “Presumed (and Confirmed) Favorite” would’ve gotten away with this lapse and still win.  Anyway, let’s revisit her speech, shall we?  “Throughout the duration of Miss World Philippines, I have witnessed first-hand the number of lives that this organization has touched.  I would like to be in the next Miss World Philippines to be able to use this platform as an opportunity to express my passion for helping our fellow Filipinos.  If I were lucky enough to win the crown of Miss World Philippines, I would…I would…(sorry, whew it’s scary) I would be a strong international ambassadress and represent our country with great honor and pride.”  It’s slightly long-winded, but it’s generally a strong speech if she didn’t lose her train of thought.  Anyway, in two years’ time, I would suggest she should go for Binibining Pilipinas as her polished persona would be a great fit there.

3RD PRINCESS: CANDIDATE NO. 14 – Nicole Kim Donesa.  Sure, she improved significantly from her press presentation appearance, but still her coronation night performance is still not Final Five worthy if you ask me–I would’ve rather have Christine Balaguer or Gazini Ganados (or even Alexa Rae Kirby) advance in her stead.  Anyway, she gave a solid-enough answer to outrank Rachel Peters in the end.  “I know that I may not be able to solve all the problems in the world, but I know that I can make a difference by inspiring others in the whole world and our country. Loves, inspiration, sincerity, and motivation to being a better country and being a better community.  If I were to be crowned Miss World, I would also continue in my advocacy into always supporting foundation and charity projects such as PGH and Tuloy Po foundation.  Not only that, but I would also motivate myself into establishing my own foundation, where I can provide scholarship funds and school materials for unfortunate kids who want to learn but never had the means to.  Thank you.”  It’s a long-winded speech that rambles a bit and promises a lot, but was more fluid in delivery than Rachel’s unfortunate lapse.

2ND PRINCESS: CANDIDATE NO. 20 – Nelda Ibe.  I have a feeling that going into the final speech, this lady was actually on-track to garnering 1st Princess honors, as she got a fast-track slot by winning Miss Photogenic (but then again, this was derived from those not-so-well-regarded overexposed studio headshots) and Miss Organique.  But she did rock the stage and kept up with the “Favored One” as she employed the Taliana Twirl on her coral evening gown.  Her speech, though relatively short and sweet, was a bit too generic and emphasized a bit more on what she has instead of what she could give, and that pushed her down a notch.  This is her speech:  “Well, I should be Miss World because I am a selfless person, I am strong, I am more dedicated and committed to the vision and mission of the Miss World Organization, which is the vision to have a better world and the mission to help other people in need.  Thank you.

1ST PRINCESS: CANDIDATE NO. 1 – Lorraine Kendrickson.  Though at the beginning of the competition it was highly hyped by local pageant fans and pundits that this will be a close showdown between this lady and the eventual winner, during the conduct of pageant activities I thought she was slightly overshadowed by Rachel Peters, then during finals night, Nelda Ibe edged her out in stage chops.  But she reasserted herself during the final speech, as she gave a well-composed message as follows:  “I believe I should be the next Miss World Philippines because I have the heart to give and a mind to inspire. I know this is one of my purposes in life and I am ready to take on this great responsibility with all of my heart and I’m gonna see this as a blessing to bless others.”  Local pageant fans and pundits can debate the merits and demerits of this speech and the winner’s speech for ages to come, but anyway, I have to say that this lady was worthy of garnering her placement in the end, but there is no way she could’ve edged out the “Favored / Chosen One” judging from the performances on coronation night.  Still, a job well done.

MISS WORLD 2014 PHILIPPINES:  CANDIDATE NO. 19 – Valerie Weigmann.  If we follow German pronunciation rules, her surname should have been pronounced “vaik-man”, but it turns out she is actually of German-Danish descent, so it is actually traditionally pronounced “veek-man” or “vee-man”, though “wee-man” is considered acceptable, as it is actually pronounced in a Danish manner (and, yes, Danish, like English, is a Germanic language).  This lady has always been the front-runner to win it all, but during coronation night, she once and for all put all possible doubts to rest as she dominated the stage with her luminous presence and sleek (but healthy) model’s frame during the swimsuit competition, then during the evening gown round created an indelible presence in an olive-green empire-waist number, evoking the still much beloved dethroned Miss Universe 2002 Oxana Fedorova while employing elements of the Riyo Mori Gucci Flash and a dash of the Taliana Twirl.  It wasn’t surprising why she won both Best in Swimsuit and Best in Long Gown.  She won 10 other special awards on top of that, including the fast-track award of Best in Fashion Runway.  She clinched the deal in her final speech, of course, which is as follows:  “I try to live my life in relation to others, by putting myself into other people’s shoes. I believe in the importance of empathy and compassion. Because I see, if all of us can come together and work as one, we can all be advocates of change. I want to inspire and encourage everyone to take up a personal advocacy, such as my own, by enabling our indigenous brothers and sisters from Tarlac. Because I believe truly, in giving we can be beautiful.”  The strength of her answer is that she framed her personal qualities in the form of her own personal convictions and beliefs, and she emphasizes what she could give and invites others to follow her example.

Dethroned Miss Universe 2002 Oxana Fedorova (image courtesy of Miss Universe LP, LLLP)
Miss Universe 2007 Riyo Mori (image courtesy of Miss Universe LP, LLLP)
Miss Universe 2008 1st runner-up Taliana Vargas

Now that Valerie is now the one to represent our country in the Miss World pageant in London, Filipino fans are whetting in anticipation of a back-to-back victory.  Can Valerie do it?  So far, from the challenge events we assume would still be in play in London, Valerie is going to make her presence significantly felt in Beach Fashion and Top Model–if she duplicates the stage fierceness she delivered that night, she can repeat Megan’s victory in the latter event.  She also seems to have an edge in Beauty with a Purpose as her Musikaramay project has a unique hook that can stand out.  If she polishes her magic act (or better yet, copy and practice how to flawlessly execute talent winner Jean Marie Feliciano’s routine), she can also earn significant inroads in that event.  We can also assume she will engage her fans for the Multimedia challenge (well, she’s used to engaging the masses in her home-viewer correspondent stint in variety show Eat Bulaga).  For Sports?  Well, since we got five of the six covered, all she needs to do is just participate and hope for the best there–who knows?  Though international pageant fans and pundits are not yet exactly in Valerie’s bandwagon (as most view that almost anybody after Megan Young is going to be a letdown), things are looking up.  Best of luck on your back-to-back mission, Valerie!

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

Filipino fans are hoping this scenario will be repeated in London…

Images courtesy of Mark Cristino for Rappler and Bruce Casanova for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.

MISS WORLD 2014 PHILIPPINES: DOMINANCE OF A GERMANIC FILIPINA (PART 2)

Three of the Top 13 semifinalists were determined by fast-track awards–the Best in Fashion Runway, Photogenic, and Sun Cellular special awards.  The rest were determined by a pre-judging session prior to the pageant finals, and the Final Five were determined from their onstage performances in swimsuit and evening gowns.  Without further ado, let’s begin with:

CANDIDATE NO. 17 – Kimberly Pajero.  She performed decently enough, though I didn’t expect her to make the final cut.  She does seem to exude a vibrant personality that may have won over the judges and helped her edge some prettier contestants.

CANDIDATE NO. 13 – Kimberly Anne Sarreal.  She is marginally prettier than Kimberly Pajero, but I feel she probably only made the final cut by virtue of her Sun Cellular special award (most likely determined by text votes through that mobile network).  She didn’t quite strike a strong-enough stage presence that night.

CANDIDATE NO. 4 – Priscilla Kimberley dela Cruz.  I would’ve ranked her a bit higher, but I have some misgivings about her evening gown and the way she’s styled in it–it’s basically a midnight blue lacy cocktail minidress with chiffon train and the way her hair was styled in that segment was just too awkward to my taste.

CANDIDATE NO. 6 – Kristine Angeli Estoque.  She was tied for the Miss Friendship award with Candidate No. 12, Christine Balaguer.  She was able to work her dusky features to the hilt, and along with her sympathetic personality, she proved why she deserved to belong in this group.

CANDIDATE NO. 16 – Ina Dominica Guerrero.  Her fuchsia one-shouldered gown has a provocative angle as there was a snaking line from her bust to her torso that was actually transparent if it weren’t for strategically placed embroidery.  She projects a dusky, exotic radiance that she is worthy of belonging in this hallowed group.

CANDIDATE NO. 3 – Alexa Rae Kirby.  As expected she was polished all throughout that she was a clear shoo-in for the Top 13.  It was a tight race among four ladies to take the fifth finalist slot, and she was among those who fell short by very little, along with…

CANDIDATE NO. 12 – Christine Balaguer.  It’s hard to believe she’s hearing impaired as she walked the stage with panache and in sync with the rest of the ladies.  Her native features were not to my taste, but I have to hand it that her training with Aces & Queens paid off wonderfully as she was able to strike an exotic presence with her features and maximized her impact.  It’s such a shame we miss seeing her in the Final Five as I would look forward to her answering in sign language why she wants to win the title fo Miss World Philippines.

CANDIDATE NO. 5 – Gazini Christiana Ganados.  There was nothing to fault about her performance as she competed at a high level–it is just that there were four ladies who truly made the most impact and she was in a tightly contested race in the next tier of top performers, and she was edged out in favor of one who has deeper connections with a sponsor.

All images courtesy of Mark Cristino for Rappler and Bruce Casanova for OPMB  Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP: THE FINAL FIVE

 

 

MISS WORLD 2014 PHILIPPINES: DOMINANCE OF A GERMANIC FILIPINA (PART 1)

It seems apt that a heavy downpour greeted the incoming audience entering the SM Mall of Asia Arena for the Miss World 2014 Philippines pageant.  Remember that this is the sort of weather condition we experienced when we witnessed last year when Megan Young won Miss World Philippines, then when she Theultimately won Miss World, and when she came home for her victory parade after that landmark crowning.  As inconvenient as it might be for the audience members entering the venue, the events themselves went on with nary a hitch, and the same can be said about this event.

There was a sense of ceremonial splendor as the pageant proper finally began, as the Philippine Army Chorale sang a sweet cover of Parokya ni Edgar’s classic pop ballad “Harana”, serenading the entry of the reigning Miss World and Miss World Philippines, Megan Young (incidentally, the song title aptly means “serenade” in Tagalog).  Megan Young then gave a short and sweet opening declaring the Miss World 2014 Philippines pageant competition open.

Miss World 2013 Megan Young proclaiming the Miss World 2014 Philippines pageant finals open. (Image courtesy of Mark Cristino for Rappler)

This then segued to three GMA 7 sirens (JulieAnn San Jose, Maricris Garcia, and Francheska Farr) fiercely singing a cover of Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” as the 26 candidates marched and sashayed their way from the back of the arena to the stage.  The ladies looked fetching and resplendent in white knee-length dresses.  The three sirens then segued to the mellower rhythms of the Miss World Philippines theme song (“The Beauty of the Philippines”) with the 26 candidates gracefully swaying along–after the fierce and energetic entrance it’s sometimes nice to finish things up a little mellow though still uplifting like this Louie Ocampo-penned ditty.

Opening number (image courtesy of Mark Cristino for Rappler)

The key hosts of the proceedings were GMA 7 actors Mikael Daez and Janine Gutierrez, with events personality Tim Yap and Miss World 2011 1st runner-up Gwendoline Ruais providing support hosting duties (like backstage interviews and the like).  Mikael Daez’s hosting style reminds me of another local heartthrob, Dingdong Dantes, when he hosted the Mutya ng Pilipinas and Miss Asia Pacific pageants over the same network about a decade ago–my only quibble was when he announced the 13 semifinalists, he repeated the candidate numbers of those who were previously fast-tracked; I speculate Dingdong Dantes wouldn’t make that kind of mistake (or would he?).  Janine Gutierrez was adequate in her hosting chores, but nothing memorable.  Tim Yap was his usual energetic self, and Gwendoline Ruais’s hosting skills are a known quantity and she delivered her tasks and spiels well, as expected.

Hosts Mikael Daez and Janine Gutierrez (image courtesy of Mark Cristino for Rappler)
Co-hosts Tim Yap and Gwendoline Ruais (image courtesy of Mark Cristino for Rappler)

The structure of this year’s coronation night is a hybrid of the structure of Binibining Pilipinas and the Miss World finals.  The segments where all 26 candidates parade in swimsuits and evening gowns had been a staple format at Binibining Pilipinas.  Just like in Binibinign Pilipinas, after those segments there would be an awarding of special awards.  It’s the latter portion that differs this time–the Top 13 semifinalists were called out, and immediately they are whittled down to the Final Five, and the Top Five would then give their speeches on why they should be chosen the winner.  In this case, immediately whittling down the Top 13 to the Final Five is justifiable, as the Top 13 were determined from three fast-tracks and a pre-judging interview prior to the coronation night, so it is conceivable the Final Five were determined from the overall performance of the live swimsuit and evening gown rounds during the finals.

It is interesting to note that after the 13 semifinalists were called out, then the sponsors’ prizes were given out, and then after the Final Five were announced, another set of sponsors’ prizes were awarded.  Wonder if there is like a conditionality between the organizers and sponsors about when their prizes would be given out–that’s the only plausible explanation why the announcement of sponsor’s prizes are set up that way.

For viewers at home, the swimsuit competition features a pre-taped segment of the candidates posing along the beaches of Camarines Sur in red two-piece bikinis while rapper Abra performed two of his hit songs, while live onstage, the candidates strutted down in shiny gold one-piece swimsuits.  For the evening gown segment, we are treated to the vocals of another siren, Jonalyn Viray, wordlessly singing the melodies of two beloved Filipino songbook classics, “Bituing Marikit” and “Dahil Sa ‘Yo“.

Swimsuit competition as seen live (image courtesy of Mark Cristino for Rappler)

 

Swimsuit segment as broadcast on GMA 7
Jonalyn Viray during the Evening Gown competition (image courtesy of Mark Cristino for Rappler)

Before I proceed to review the Top 13 semifinalists, I will pay tribute to one non-finalist, namely:

CANDIDATE NO. 21 – Jean Marie Feliciano.  Not only did she deservingly win Miss Talent thanks to her fluid magic act, she got significant airtime as she was interviewed by Gwendoline Ruais before she went up onstage for the swimsuit competition.  I think she only fell short simply because her facial looks are not to the preliminary judging panel’s tastes.

(Image courtesy of Mark Cristino for Rappler)
(Image courtesy of Bruce Casanova for OPMB Worldwide)

COMING UP:  THE TOP 13 SEMIFINALISTS…