RESULTS REACTION: MISS WORLD PHILIPPINES 2013

The Miss World Philippines 2013 winners: 4th Princess Osmarie Linn Osuna, 1st Princess Janicel Lubina, Miss World Philippines 2013 Megan Young, 2nd Princess Zahra Bianca Saldua, and 3rd Princess Bianca Paz

I am gladdened that the ultimate result was as what pageant fans and pundits from all over are expecting–that the Perceived Favorite was crowned as the Chosen One.  The choice of 1st runner-up was also expected, and also deserving of her placement.  The Top Five were also what several pageant fans and pundits also placed in their radar.  In my “Fearful” Forecast, I got three of the Top Five right and nine of the Top 13 (though counting those included in my “bubbling under” list, I got 11 out of 13).

There was a shocking exclusion, in my reckoning–I wonder what happened to Candidate No. 14, Vina Opiniano?  Why is it after she tied with the Chosen One at the Miss World Laguna event, she was then shut out of the Top 13?  I know her gown presentation was not that much of a standout, but I also wonder if she also fizzled in the closed-door judges’ interview?  I suppose this year’s panel of final judges are just not that into her native features.

Ruth Ocumarez awardee: Candidate No. 14 Vina Openiano

I was expecting that because of the three=hour delay between the actual event and the final telecast, GMA 7 will treat TV viewers with a tight and well-paced program that would last below three hours.  Unfortunately, GMA 7 then decided to bombard TV viewers with lengthy commercial breaks hyping its own programs for extremely long stretches–some lasting 30-45 minutes (most notoriously after the announcement of the Top 13).  The TV program eventually lasted almost as long as the live finals, finishing at 2 AM.   I wonder if a combination of the torrential downpour and possible problems with its editing bay had led to such an unnecessarily marathon four hour broadcast?  The actual program as broadcast seems to only cover at most two hours, and they actually edited out of the broadcast the final walks of the outgoing winner and her court!

That issue over the broadcasting aside, I am part of a huge community now rejoicing at the final outcome.  Though with such a satisfying victory now comes with the burden of heavy expectations from over 90 million countrypeople and thousands of international pageant fans and pundits, Megan Young’s extensive experience in the public eye and the widespread support would help her carry the responsibility with grace and style.

As a parting note, it dawned on me that Megan  evokes the vibe and charisma of a couple of illustrious Filipina beauty queens from rival pageants past.  I will detail that in my full-fledged review of the event coming at the end of this week.   What I and all her myriad of supporters would love to give is our love for her to carry through so she could shine in the obviously challenging road ahead.  Go for it Megan!

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

All images courtesy of Bruce Casanova and Jory Rivera for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.

MISS WORLD PHILIPPINES 2013: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

This second half features the “Perceived Favorite” that I mentioned in my previous installment, plus a few Bb. Pilipinas 2013 alumni and a previous Miss World Philippines runner-up on another go-round.

CANDIDATE NO. 14 – Vina Openiano.  She was a Top 10 semifinalist in the recently concluded Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant.  She was under the radar initially, but she caused a stir at the Miss World-Laguna pre-pageant event, reportedly tying with the “Perceived Favorite” for the special award before it was decided to award it to the “Perceived Favorite” with her getting the first runner-up honor.  Some may say it’s because she’s a Laguna native that was why she fared so well, but I think there is more to it than that.  Her looks admittedly do not fit my conventional notions of beauty, but I have to hand it to her that she knows how to carry herself well and put her best foot forward.  Her sort of native features could actually give her an edge if she would be selected to represent our country at Miss World.  She also gave a good impression in her hula dance at the talent competition. I wonder if Julia Morley could permit us to crown the representative for this year and next year, so she (or maybe Janicel) would no longer need to have to repeat the process if she does not win this year.  RATING: 9.

Performing a Tahitian dance

CANDIDATE NO. 15 – Maria Lily Teresa Salazar.  She is one of the plainer looking contestants in this year’s batch, to be blunt.  Her edge might be that considering her talent was a basketball demonstration, maybe she could be the one who might win the sports event.  Still, her basketball skills aren’t at the level that would give the Harlem Globetrotters, much less the players of the WNBA much pause.  RATING: 5.

Performing a basketball demo as Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” played.

CANDIDATE NO. 16 – Aikah Dindah.  She’s a worthwhile candidate who could pull off a sleeper surprise–she was shortlisted in the Top 10 of the Miss World-Laguna event.  She isn’t as highly buzzed about as Pia, Janicel, Vina, Bianca, Ria, or Patricia, but she is making a positive impression.  RATING: 8.

Demonstrating her painting skills as Taylor Swift’s “Safe & Sound” plays on.

CANDIDATE NO. 17 – Jennifer Hammond.  Her mestiza features and prominent cheekbones are actually highly valued in Philippine society.  But to my eyes, I find her plain and I don’t think she’ll make a serious impression in the international arena.  But if the panel of judges is predominantly Filipino, she’ll be a shoo-in for the semifinals, just like what happened in the Miss World-Laguna event.  Some might argue–well, she resembles Miss Earth 2008 Karla Henry.  But then again, you wouldn’t want to hear how international pageant fans and pundits regarded Karla Henry’s looks (though personally I disagree with them as I do find Karla Henry attractive)…  RATING: 7.

Dancing a modernized pop singkil
Miss Earth 2008 Karla Henry (image courtesy of ramonahaar.com)

CANDIDATE NO. 18 – Omarie Linn Osuna.  She has one of the prettier faces in this year’s batch.  She seems to be a relative newcomer in the pageant world, but I think she is making a good impression that with more seasoning, she could eventually make a much bigger splash and eventually garner a title to represent our nation in a major pageant.  But at this point, she is a likely semifinalist and a possible sleeper finalist.  RATING: 8.5

Belly dancing to Selena Gomez’s “Come and Get It”

CANDIDATE NO. 19 – Maria Paula Bianca Paz.  This pageant veteran (Bb. Pilipinas 2009 contestant and Miss World Philippines 2011 3rd princess) is putting up a strong fight–this is the last year she would be eligible to compete in this pageant.  Besides being a known quantity, she made a great impression in the talent round with a sultry rendition of Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why”.  But can she win it all?  Remember, the one who follows her is the “Perceived Favorite”…  RATING: 9

Sultrily singing Norah Jones’s “Don’t Know Why”

CANDIDATE NO. 20 – Megan Lynne Young.  This lady may be a first timer in the pageant scene, but she has extensive experience in the public eye, being a Top 6 finalist in the second season of GMA’s reality talent search Starstruck, a houseguest in rival network ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Big Brother: Celebrity Edition 2, and a Channel V VJ, along with movies and TV shows to her credit.  Her beauty excited pageant fans and pundits for a long while now, and there was heavy clamoriing for her to tip her hat in this arena for the past few years.  Though due to its conservative and antiquated rules she is no longer eligible to compete in Bb. Pilipinas, it opened the door for her to compete in this pageant, and yes, this lady is the “Perceived Favorite” and thus far she delivered on her status.  Is she actually going to be the “Chosen One”?  If I have my way (and along with pageant fans and pundits from here and around the world), yes, she should win, and yes, she’s our best bet thus far to finally clinch that ever-elusive first Miss World crown for the Philippines.

Though for a long while I have been advocating selecting a girl with native features as a ticket for us to make serious inroads in Miss World, it dawned on me that our best placements thus far were when we fielded mestizas (I would define mestiza in the context of one who is fair-skinned with European features).   Though Evangeline Pascual sported a tan in 1973 when she garnered 1st runner-up, she is actually mestiza (and if you see her these days, she is fair complexioned–another example of a tanned mestiza was Miss Universe 1975 4th runner-up Chiqui Brosas).  Miss World 1993 2nd princess Ruffa Gutierrez and Miss World 2011 1st princess Gwendoline Ruais’ European pedigrees are more obvious and apparent.  Though  looks alone are no guarantee in clinching the crown, the charisma and beauty Megan Young possesses is something that the world would highly appreciate and behold.  The only justifiable reason why she should not be granted the title is probably if Megan choked big time during the pageant finals.  The crown is hers to lose.  RATING: 10!

Singing The Cure’s “Lovesong”
Evangeline Pascual (4th from left), 1st runner-up at Miss World 1973 (image courtesy of Veestarz.com)
Ruffa Gutierrez (right), 2nd runner-up Miss World 1993 (image sourced from hotsunhot.blogspot.com)
Gwendoline Ruais (left), 1st runner-up Miss World 2011

CANDIDATE NO. 21 – Jennyline Karla Malpaya.  There are some people who might appreciate her very native features, especially in Bb. Pilipinas (especially circa 2006).  But in this pageant, I don’t think she is standing out–she could be a solid contender, and that’s about it.  RATING: 6.

Performing a flouncy dance to Ricky Martin’s “Maria”

CANDIDATE NO. 22 – Patricia Lae Ejercitado.  She was a thank-you girl in Bb. Pilipinas 2010 but then made a splash two years later and landed in the semifinals.  I was surprised why she didn’t make the Top 10 in the Miss World – Laguna event as I thought she seems to be making all the right moves.  She got a sponsor’s prize (Miss Prudential Life) at least, so maybe she will be vindicated later in the game.  I do hope she garners a Top Five finish.  RATING: 9.

Hand-painting as a muzak instrumental version of Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World” plays on.

CANDIDATE NO. 23 – Ria Rabajante.  Also hoping for vindication after an unsuccessful stint at Bb. Pilipinas 2013 is this erstwhile big favorite in that pageant.  For some odd reason, based on the earlier photos she didn’t seem to be styled right and was not projecting the way we remembered her to be.  I was not surprised that she was not short-listed in the Miss World – Laguna event if she looked the way she did.  There was a bit of course correction that took place during the Gala Night, but is it too little, too late at this point?  We’ll see what happens during the finale this Sunday.  RATING: 8.

Performing a comic/dramatic monologue

CANDIDATE NO. 24 – Zandra Flores.  This lady is the equivalent of South Africa’s Bokang Montjane in terms of local pageantry as she took part in all the major national pageants–she competed at Miss Philippines Earth 2012, Bb. Pilipinas 2013, made the Top 10 in the recently concluded Mutya ng Pilipinas, and finally is hoping for a strong finish in this pageant.  I’m optimistic about her prospects, as besides her good looks she also delivered in the talent competition–she’s the best singer amongst those who sang in that event, and remember, Miss World tends to prize singers highly.  Making all the way to the Top Five is highly conceivable.  RATING: 8.5

Singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” as popularized by Bette Midler
Bokang Montjane (image courtesy of Miss World Ltd)

CANDIDATE NO. 25 – Melanie Barret.  She’s a fair-skinned mestiza so many Filipinos would have a high regard for her features.  Though to my eyes, she looks rather awkward at times, like a gawky, paler version of actress Cherie Gil.  But I have to hand it to her with her unique performance in the talent competition, dancing with two puppets to make it appear that there were three people doing a folk dance onstage.  RATING: 6.5.

Dance with mannequins
Cherie Gil (image courtesy of insidepinoyshowbiz.ph)

CANDIDATE NO. 26 (now CANDIDATE NO. 1) – Henna Kaizelle Nicole Cajandig.  After squeaking by and replacing a withdrawn candidate in this year’s Bb. Pilipinas, at least this lady was already among the chosen candidates for this pageant.  But again, she technically acted as a replacement again after Nicole Marable withdrew as she now takes a new number, Candidate No. 1.  She is generally a solid contender, but I think in this group her best prospect is a creditable performance.  RATING: 7

By the time of the Gala Night, she’s now Candidate No. 1
Dancing the singkil

Now that all the candidates are accounted for, allow me to trot out my leaderboard for my “Fearful Forecast”:

MISS WORLD PHILIPPINES: 20

TOP FIVE:  10, 14, 19, 24

SEMIFINALISTS:  7, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 22

BUBBLING UNDER:  5, 8, 17, 23

If it weren’t for the presence of Megan Young, a win by the likes of Vina, Janicel, Bianca, or even Patricia would be well-regarded and highly acceptable.  But the breathtaking beauty and charisma of Megan is just such that pageant fans and pundits (including myself) would be extremely disappointed if any other final outcome occurred this Sunday.  Let’s see if fate and destiny would bring forth the anticipated outcome or deal us a lousy hand.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

All images courtesy of Jory Rivera, Bruce Casanova, Melvin Sia, and Noli Berioso for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.’

MISS WORLD PHILIPPINES 2013: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 1)

A palpable wave of excitement has befallen Filipino pageant fans regarding this year’s Miss World Philippines pageant.  It is fixated over one lady who several local fans and pundits believed is our best shot in garnering that ever-elusive first Miss World crown.  But a competition is needed to be held, and there are other candidates in contention besides her too.  How do they stack up, and can any of them pull off an upset over the perceived major favorite?

A last-minute development came in wherein one of the 26 candidates has to drop out of the competition.  Officially it was for “health reasons” but there is speculation that based on now-deleted posts on a couple of popular pageant blogs, that it was about something that would be grounds for disqualification.  Let’s start with that withdrawn candidate, who happens to be…

CANDIDATE NO. 1 – Nicole Marable  (Withdrawn).  Looks-wise, this former Bb. Pilipinas 2012 contestant seems to be a lock for the Top 12, but we all know Miss World sometimes looks for qualities besides a pretty face and a trim figure.  Though she gave a nice energy in her peppy pop dance during the talent show, it did not quite stand out in the end.  I would’ve liked to see how far she could parlay her good looks in this contest.  RATING: 7.5

Performing a peppy pop dance

Now, let’s proceed with the rest of the candidates.  The ratings I give is my indication of how far they can go if they would be selected to represent our country in Miss World.

CANDIDATE NO. 2 – Roselle Marie Ferrer.  To be blunt her face is not my cup of tea, and though she gave a competent Argentine tango, it still was not considered a standout talent.  RATING: 5.

Performing an Argentine Tango

CANDIDATE NO. 3 – Princesslyn Dignadice.  We have to hand it her talent is quite unique–combining a painting demonstration and dancing to some ethno-tribal music.  Otherwise, as former American Idol judge Randy Jackson would put it, “she’s just aiiight.”  RATING: 6.

Odd combo of painting and dancing to tribal music.

CANDIDATE NO. 4 – Khadija Nasser.  Her name has an Islamic/Arab tinge to it, though she looks Oriental.  I think she needs a little seasoning as her looks has potential but she doesn’t seem to project and showcase her best features optimally.  Like Nicole she did a pop dance but a bit lesser energy than Nicole’s performance.  RATING: 6.

Performing a peppy Latin-tinged pop dance

CANDIDATE NO. 5 – Zahra Bianca Saldua.  In her press presentation photos she seemed to be hefty and worsening matters was that she covered herself with a shawl around her waist.  But it turns out it was not because she was hiding her figure, but because of her religion–she’s Moslem.  Then again, with Miss World being held in Indonesia this year, she could fit right in and it is reported that the beachwear competition will be conducted in modest sarongs anyway.  She performed a mish-mash medley of songs for her talent, an eclectic mix featuring “On My Own” from Les Miserables, Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now”, Shakira’s “Whenever Wherever”, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and a Beyonce song that was edited out of the excerpt I saw through OPMB Worldwide.  Her rapping in the “Look at Me Now” portion was actually impressive, but to be blunt I found the rest of her medley rather disjointed and messy and her singing chops aren’t up to them.  But since she’s a disc jockey for DZRH, expect that a gift of gab would be one of her strongest qualities and her possible ticket to make the Top 12.  RATING: 6.5.

Singing a medley of Les Miserables’ “On My Own”, a Pinoy-rock classic, Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now”, Shakira’s “Whenever Wherever”, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”, and Beyonce…

CANDIDATE NO. 6 – Karla Patricia Alas.  This former Miss Philippines-Earth 2013 contestant is reasonably attractive.  But does she have any more to offer besides that?  The talent portion is in my opinion not one of her strengths as her singing sounded rather pitchy (yes, another Randy Jackson-ism).  RATING: 6.

Singing a song

CANDIDATE NO. 7 – Samantha Mae Bernardo.  Her facial features are not really my cup of tea, but she has a trim figure, and she’s my bet to garner the Talent title, as she was very impressive in her dance routine, combining a Pandango sa Ilaw folk dance with rhythmic gymnastics.   RATING: 7.5

From a “Pandango sa Ilaw” dance…
…to a rhythmic gymnastics hoops routine.

CANDIDATE NO. 8 – Frances Claire Vintola.  She reminds me of Korean girl group Brown Eyed Girls singer Narsha, prior to her glamorous transformation via plastic surgery.  But she looked good and performed well in the talent round, playing acoustic guitar and singing to Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning.”  Will her strong talent showing propel her to a semifinal finish?  RATING:  6.5

Singing and playing guitar to Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning”
Narsha pre-plastic surgery and circa 2009 (image sourced from en.korea.com)

CANDIDATE NO. 9 – Pia Kamil Ochengco.  She is refreshingly good looking, and she performed her Latin ballroom routine pretty well (to “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps”).  I think she can propel her good looks and trim figure to a strong finish.  RATING: 8.5

Latin-style ballroom dancing to “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps”.

CANDIDATE NO. 10 – Janicel Lubina.  This reigning winner of Miss Bikini Philippines 2013 seems to have a significant following over the web, hyping her as the possible usurper to the perceived favorite’s destined path.  She does have appealingly Asian exotic looks and yes, a buffed figure–which she showcased with aplomb performing a belly dance combined with a swinging routine that you can imagine could have been performed as a fire poi, but she used yellow fringed balls instead of actual flaming chains.  In another year, I would’ve regarded her as an acceptable choice for the title, but well, there is the “perceived favorite” present…  RATING: 9.

Belly dancing and spin dance to a medley of songs including Buster Poindexter’s “Hot, Hot, Hot”.

CANDIDATE NO. 11 – Mercegrace Raquel.  Speaking of fire, this Bb. Pilipinas 2013 contender danced to a medley of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” and Jennifer Lopez featuring Flo Rida and Li’l Jon’s “Goin’ In” in a red fringed minidress.   She has attractive native features so she can be a possible contender in the semifinals.  RATING: 8.

Dancing to a medley of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” and Jennifer Lopez’s “Goin’ In”.

CANDIDATE NO. 12 – Angelica Lopez.  In general, this otherwise attractive lady does not really make a standout impression.  And the less said about her pitchy rendition of Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts” during the talent show, the better.  RATING: 6.

Singing Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts”

CANDIDATE NO. 13 – Maria Paula Estenzo.  Facewise, she reminds me of famous (and ageless) Philippine choreographer Maribeth Bichara in the OPMB photos below, but there are angles where she looked more gorgeous than that.  She looked great during the talent show, but unfortunately the same cannot be said about her singing–she listlessly butchered Adele’s mega-smash “Rolling in the Deep”.  But that talent debacle aside, it is still conceivable she can parlay her looks to a semifinalist finish.  RATING: 7.5.

Singing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”
Maribeth Bichara (image courtesy of Pep.ph)

All images courtesy of Jory Rivera, Bruce Casanova, and Melvin Sia for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP:  CANDIDATES 14-26, and the “FEARFUL” FORECAST