Monthly Archives: September 2013

RESULTS REACTION (AND PERSONAL DIARY): MISS WORLD 2013

A most cherished dream has been fulfilled as Megan Young was finally crowned as Miss World 2013.  Filipino pageant lovers both local and overseas (and of course, including myself) rejoiced over this major piece of pageant history, and squeals of euphoric ecstasy can be heard all throughout.

Prior to the broadcast, I had a strong belief that history was about to be made, and I felt waiting for the delayed telecast in the confines of my bedroom would not hack it and neither would surfing the net for social media updates, as I know I wouldn’t be able to get live streaming with my very slow internet connection at home.  I learned from a friend of mine in my office, Edz Esmeria, about a viewing party for this pageant, sponsored by the guys from the pageant website Sash Factor.  I’m happy one of the proponents of this website, Brix Vera, welcomed me with open arms and I was granted an invite.

But earlier on that day, though, I promised I would come along with my mom, dad, and sister to celebrate my aunt’s birthday in a swanky subdivision along the Commonwealth Quezon City area.  It was a wonderful occasion with a grand feast and fun times reconnecting with most of my relatives.  I was stuffed from the heaping buffet they had on offer (with delectable desserts).  But little did we know that instead of lasting up to about four hours, it stretched to 6 PM as some of my relatives availed of manicures and hand-and-foot massages.  Plus I didn’t have the time to tell my family of my plans later that evening.  But they were amenable and understanding.  My mom was concerned as the rain was extremely heavy that day if I should cancel my plans, but I felt that I can manage it and that I’ll be safe and sound.  So, I was dropped off at the Quezon Avenue MRT station so I could take a ride to my destination.  While taking my ride amid the heavy downpour, I recalled how this was similar to what happened on Megan’s coronation as Miss World Philippines last August.

When I arrived at the venue, little did I know that the event is going to be a star-studded affair.  I found out that a fellow pageant blogger that I have a high regard for, Joyce Ann Burton-Titular (Adventures of a Beauty Queen) was in the house.  I never personally met her, but she’s a friend of a good friend of mine, Lex Librea (the guy who uploaded that legendary viral video on Venus Raj above) and we had a great time “talking shop” and even discussing my articles on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”.  And with her with a laptop handy to transmit fresh updates on her blog, I realized I should’ve brought my recently bought laptop too and then publish a quicker “results reaction” (and probably be more diligent updating on Facebook, even if I had my smartphone handy).  She was a delight to be with and I am looking forward to more interactions with her down the line.

Joyce Ann Burton-Titular and myself (image courtesy of Joyce Ann Burton-Titular)

There was a couple of other beauty queens in the viewing party, too.  Miss Earth-Air 2011 Athena Imperial, in her role as a GMA 7 correspondent, was there to report on the viewing party, and yes, there was a camera crew on-hand to document almost the whole proceedings, especially our reactions (expect it to be broadcast on Jessica Soho’s Brigada show on GMA News TV channel on Monday).  As expected she was great to talk to, and it’s nice to listen to her insights about her experiences during her Miss Philippines-Earth and Miss Earth stints and the intrigues that came about.  Highly regarded Bb. Pilipinas 2012 and Miss World Philippines 2013 semifinalist Patricia Lae Ejercitado was also present though I wasn’t able to have a conversation with her as she arrived at the time I and most of us were engrossed with the live pageant proceedings.

Most of the people at the viewing party, including Athena Imperial and Joyce Ann Burton-Titular (image courtesy of Jerome Lee)

Admittedly, watching the live webcast of the pageant was a frustrating affair, as we had frequent occasions of “buffering” and the broadcast feed getting dropped, to our consternation and frustration.  As a result we missed several portions of sequences during the live final, and we attempted several ways to be able to view the proceedings as continuously as possible–alternative feeds, tethering the wi-fi connection to a broadband network, and more.  We particularly missed the Dances of the World segment.  However, we got to see the crucial final moments, and of course we cheered loudly whenever Megan appeared on the screen (imagine a drinking game based on that–people would be quickly drunk by then…).  We were so gladdened when the leaderboard results came in reporting Megan was in the lead.  However we are made aware that the results are then set back to zero when the Top 10 was announced so we tensely hoped that the judges continued to look upon her with favor, and of course we were gladdened when she made the Top 5.  We at least also got to listen to her speech on why she should become Miss World 2013, though it was choppy but we loved what we heard.  As the final results were announced, we had a slight fear after Ghana was announced as 2nd runner-up wondering who among Brazil, France, and our Megan was shut out.  Fortunately to our joy and relief, Megan was announced as Miss World 2013 and joyful pandemonium ensued in our viewing party.  There was ecstatic screaming and hugging galore at this historical event.

Because of the choppy experience trying to view the live webcast, we all decided to also watch the delayed telecast on GMA 7, which came in 20 minutes (instead of the scheduled 30) after the live coronation.  Before the delayed telecast began, I chitchatted with the other guys from Sash Factor, and one guy noted they will be sleeping over and not go home after the viewing party, so it gave me an idea that I can watch the delayed telecast with them and also sleep over (though actually most of guys didn’t actually sleep after the replay but sang videoke all through the night, but I did doze off because I have so many things to do the following day).  I had to call home so my parents wouldn’t worry, and they were understanding.  With the blissful high over the results, we enjoyed relishing and finally experiencing the almost-complete broadcast (Blue’s song performances were edited out), and finally enjoying Megan’s performance in Dances of the World (worth even more extra cheers, even if my voice was worn out by then) and seeing how the results evolved in full (Megan was initially 4th in the judges’ interview, as there was a three-way-tie for 1st place between France, Ghana, and Jamaica, then fell to 7th when scores from the Beach Fashion and Sports were factored in, but she then rose to the top when the Multimedia and Top Model scores were considered and she never yielded the lead since).

I got 17 of the 20 quarter-finalists correct–I didn’t expect that despite misgivings on her looks, Canada’s Camille Munro would rank high, and ditto would Dominican Republic’s Joely Bernat.  Aruba’s Larissa Leeuwe was someone I was teetering over including in my Top 20 forecast and thought she would fall short by just a little, but she wasn’t that surprising.

Big surprises in the Top 20:  Dominican Republic and Canada
Big surprises in the Top 20: Dominican Republic and Canada

Though some might say that the Ruth Ocumarez award should go to Ukraine’s Anna Zayachkivska, I have to note that thanks to her challenge event scores she made the Top 20 and missed making the Top 10 by very little as she failed to garner points for Beauty with a Purpose.  Instead, I’ll award this dubious award to China’s Wei Wei Yu, who was touted by pageant fans and pundits to be close in the running for Miss World – Asia (since it turns out Oceania has its own separate continental queen this year) but failed to ultimately figure in the Top 20.

Ruth Ocumarez Award: China PR

Now, for the “Holly Carpenter” Award, I would give it to Norway’s Alexandra Backstrom.  She seems to be a charming lady and she’s undeniably gorgeous, but why didn’t she make the much-needed impression?

Holly Carpenter Award: Norway

I will be delivering a full-fledged review on this most likely within the week.  After all the weeks of negative developments it’s wonderful to hear some refreshing good news with this breakthrough win.  I would like to thank the staff of Sash Factor for the event, and the opportunity to meet new friends like Joyce Ann Burton-Titular.  I, with the 100+ million Filipino supporters all around the world, would like to salute Megan Young for her well-earned and well-acclaimed victory.  Congratulations!

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

MISS WORLD 2013: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

Now that all 127 contestants are accounted for, below is the consolidated leaderboard:

TOP CONTENDERS:  BRAZIL, FRANCE, GHANA, ITALY, PHILIPPINES, SPAIN, UKRAINE

SHOO-INS:  AUSTRALIA, CHINA, ENGLAND, INDONESIA, SLOVAKIA

POPULAR VOTE FACTOR: GIBRALTAR

LIKELIEST:  ALBANIA, ARUBA, BAHAMAS, BULGARIA, CAMEROON, CHILE, COTE D’IVOIRE, CURACAO, CYPRUS, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, DOMINICA, ECUADOR, GUYANA, HUNGARY, INDIA, JAMAICA, JAPAN, KYRGYZSTAN, MALAYSIA, MARTINIQUE, MOLDOVA, MONTENEGRO, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NORTHERN IRELAND, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, RUSSIA, SOUTH SUDAN, THAILAND, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, UNITED STATES, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, VENEZUELA

CHALLENGE EVENT FACTOR:  BELGIUM, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS, CANADA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, HONG KONG CHINA, NEPAL, NICARAGUA, SCOTLAND, TANZANIA, WALES

EXCELLENT:  ARGENTINA, BELARUS, BERMUDA, BOLIVIA, BOTSWANA, CHINESE TAIPEI, GEORGIA, GUATEMALA, GUINEA, IRELAND, KOSOVO, LITHUANIA, MEXICO, NAMIBIA, NORWAY, POLAND, PUERTO RICO, SLOVENIA, SOUTH AFRICA, TURKEY, VIETNAM

VERY STRONG:  CROATIA, ETHIOPIA, GUADELOUPE, KAZAKHSTAN, KENYA,  LEBANON, MACEDONIA FYRO, SAMOA, SERBIA, SEYCHELLES, SINGAPORE, SRI LANKA, TUNISIA

STRONG:  COLOMBIA, EQUATORIAL GUINEA, FIJI, GERMANY, ICELAND, KOREA,MAURITIUS, ST. KITTS & NEVIS

VERY GOOD:  AUSTRIA, BARBADOS, BELIZE, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, GREECE, MONGOLIA, NIGERIA, PORTUGAL, SWITZERLAND, UZBEKISTAN

GOOD:  COSTA RICA, FINLAND, GUAM, HAITI, HONDURAS, LATVIA, MALTA, SWEDEN, UGANDA, ZAMBIA

FAIR:  GABON, GUINEA-BISSAU, LESOTHO, ROMANIA

As is customary, after the Leaderboard is trotted out I shall now present my “Fearful” Forecast:

TOP FIVE:  BRAZIL, FRANCE, INDONESIA, PHILIPPINES, UKRAINE

TOP TEN:  AUSTRALIA, ENGLAND, GHANA, ITALY, SPAIN

TOP 20:  BELGIUM, CAMEROON, CHINA, INDIA, JAMAICA, NEPAL, NETHERLANDS, NORTHERN IRELAND, SLOVAKIA, UNITED STATES

TOP 40:  ARUBA, BULGARIA, CANADA, CURACAO, CYPRUS, CZECH REPUBLIC, DOMINICA, EL SALVADOR, GUYANA, JAPAN, MOLDOVA, MONTENEGRO, NEW ZEALAND, NORTHERN IRELAND, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, SOUTH SUDAN, TANZANIA, THAILAND

BUBBLING UNDER:  ALBANIA, BAHAMAS, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS, CHILE, COTE D’IVOIRE, DENMARK, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, HONG KONG CHINA, HUNGARY, KYRGYZSTAN, MALAYSIA, MARTINIQUE, NICARAGUA, RUSSIA, SCOTLAND, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, VENEZUELA, WALES

STRIKING DISTANCE:  ARGENTINA, BELARUS, BERMUDA, BOLIVIA, BOTSWANA, CHINESE TAIPEI, GEORGIA, GUATEMALA, GUINEA, IRELAND, KOSOVO, LITHUANIA, MEXICO, NAMIBIA, NORWAY, POLAND, PUERTO RICO, SLOVENIA, SOUTH AFRICA, TURKEY, VIETNAM

It seems the two big favorites from the get-go are the ones who will be battling for the crown.  Oddsmakers and the Beauty with a Purpose points may currently give the edge to Brazil’s Sancler Frantz, but the Philippines’ Megan Young could still win over in the final clinch and ultimately fulfill the dreams of 100 million Filipinos (give or take a few disgruntled self-interested parties) scattered worldwide, over 40 years in the making.   Just like how the pageant itself promises to prevail over those Islamic extremists, I hope the final outcome would likewise show that we can also rise above last-minute sabotage attempts.  We Filipinos do need some really good news to help relieve from the ongoing negativity encountered by our nation.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

Who will win?  Megan Young vs Sancler Frantz
Who will win? Megan Young vs Sancler Frantz

MISS WORLD 2013: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (BLUE TEAM, PART 2)

HAITI – Ketsia Lioudy Iciena.  It’s nice to see this country return to this pageant after an absence of 38 years (when it placed among the Top 7 finalists).  With the exception of participating in the Waterbucket round of the Sports challenge (i presume other members eventually could join in besides the designated shortlisted contestants), she has not made an impression thus far in the challenge events.  Still, it’s nice to see this country present.

Participating in the Waterbucket round of the Sports challenge.

HONG KONG CHINA – Jacqueline Wong.  She might be one of the lesser-regarded contestants from the Asia-Oceania region, but she made the Talent finals with her traditional Chinese dance.  To her credit she has excellent communication skills.

JAPAN – Michiko Tanaka.  She is one of the prettiest representatives ever fielded by this country in this pageant (yes, include her as one of the ladies more beautiful than the reigning Miss International, Ikumi Yoshimatsu).  Hope that she makes the right impression with the judges to make more serious inroads than her Top 32 finish in Beach Fashion may indicate.  As she’s the roommate of the Philippines’ Megan Young, she is now held in high esteem and is well beloved amongst Filipino fans and pundits.

KENYA – Wangui Gitonga.  To her credit, she has a slim and slender figure and she’s well spoken.  But it’s not surprising why she has not made serious inroads in any challenge event.

KOSOVO – Antigona Sejdiu.  This lady is well regarded by pageant fans and pundits even if she didn’t figure in any challenge event.  Anyway, it’s a welcome debut for this country in this pageant.

LESOTHO – Mamahlape Matsoso.  She’s plain and unpolished.  So it’s not surprising why she failed to figure in any challenge event.

MALTA – Donna Leyland.  Well, what is notable about her is what Megan recounted–that she’s increasingly becoming Asian, learning Chinese songs from Miss China.

MONTENEGRO – Ivana Milojko.  Though she’s not the top performing sportswoman in her team, she was prominent in photos of the Blue Team during the Sports challenge finals.  She was the only one who played volleyball among the members shortlisted, and she is prominent in the other events as well.  Though her only impact thus far was the “homely” challenge event, she’s actually very good looking and deserves better notice than what she got thus far.  I think she could be an underrated gem.

At the Volleyball round of the Sports challenge

NORWAY – Alexandra Backstrom.  I actually find her very gorgeous and thought she could make serious inroads into the finals.  But then as the events wore on, she failed to figure in any of them.  She seems to be a front-runner for the “Holly Carpenter” award.

PHILIPPINES – Megan Young.  It was just announced that she won the Top Model challenge event.  It is not surprising as she looked regal and elegant during the event, proving that you can make a major splash without relying on elaborate hairstyles or hair accessories.  She also was announced as 5th in the Beach Fashion challenge and 4th in the Multimedia challenge (though if you ask me, the content she generated was way more engaging and spirited than what I saw from the ones who outranked her, but then again, I might simply be too biased).

From the get-go she has delivered her status as a favorite to win it all, and she is proving to possess the qualities that Miss World Ltd should not dare overlook.  Her generous spirit with her peers made me recall the reigning Mr. World, Francisco Escobar.  It is also well known about her willingness to help out in whatever worthy causes.  Of course, there is her stunning features, that perfect balance of classic Western beauty and Asian exoticism, and her touted excellent communication skills.  Also, imagine the opportunities in the English-speaking world for reality-oriented TV, as Megan has experience in that realm, too.  She is on the path to realize the fervent dreams of about 100 million Filipinos all around the world.  If the title is granted to her, there is a guarantee that the causes of Miss World would be promoted to the next level as the legion of Filipino fans would be rallying behind her and publicizing her every move.

Now, it has been reported that there is a small group of saboteurs who sent emails to the Miss World organization trying to discredit our beloved Megan, and they happened to be Filipinos.  It’s so shameful that there is this situation, and that the ugly crab mentality that we Filipinos tried to eliminate has reared its ugly head again.  Just like the furor by the conservative Islamists over this pageant as a whole, the sentiments of those saboteurs are not reflective of the sentiments of the public at large.  I can presume the issue the saboteurs were trying to raise was the magazine layout Megan did for Rogue magazine.  Now, okay the layout was sensual, but it was also editorial and artistic and lust is not the first thing that would come to mind when you look at them–more a sense of appreciation of beauty, like Chris Isaak’s legendary “Wicked Game” video with supermodel Helena Christiansen.  Besides, Megan didn’t expose any private parts in any of those photos.  If this is considered a chink in what is otherwise an impeccable reputation, most people would love to have that as their only bit of notoriety.

I also have to note that remember that there are at least three Miss World winners who were notorious for topless photos, too, and they were all allowed to complete their reigns (and I have to say, I saw some of those topless photos and they weren’t as tasteful as Megan’s as they have a cheesecake instead of art-directed feel to them).

Remember, she had topless photos, too: Miss World 1965 Lesley Langley
Ditto this lady: Miss World 1969 Eva Reuber-Staier
…And this lady: Miss World 1987 Ulla Weigerstorfer

ST. KITTS & NEVIS – Trevicia Adams.  Well, let me say that it’s nice to see this country in action in this pageant, as they don’t make regular appearances.

SERBIA – Aleksandra Doknić. Her features are generally plain, but she seems to make the most out of them.  At least she saw action in the Volleyball round of the Sports challenge.

SINGAPORE – Maria-Anna Zenieris.  Megan has described her as reminiscent of her Miss World Philippines 2013 2nd runner-up Zahra Bianca Saldua.  I see a resemblance to Glee star Jenna Ushkowitz.

Glee star Jenna Ushkowitz (image sourced from aceshowbiz.com)

SPAIN – Elena Ibarbia.  Many pageant fans and pundits presumed that if Megan is to become the winner, this lady would likely become the first runner-up and bring forth Spain’s best finish in this pageant thus far (its best finish was a 2nd runner-up placement back in 1961).  She seems to be on track by making the Top 10 in Beach Fashion and had the bonus of making the shortlist of the Sports challenge.  But then came the Top Model event, and she seemed to have lost some luster in that event–she might still have earned credits, but she didn’t seem to be performing at a level that most pageant fans and pundits have expected of her.  It turns out after the challenge results were announced that she was 2nd in the Sports challenge overall.  There is still a chance that she could still make the Top Three, but it seems that the edge is going towards Brazil, Ukraine (or France), and of course the Philippines at this point.

At the Waterbucket round of the Sports challenge.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – Sherrece Villafana.  She is actually a solid contender.  At least the highlight is that she made the extremely competitive Talent final with her steel drum skills.

Performing with her steel drum at the Talent Final.

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Petra Cabrera-Badia.  She is no Esonica Veira, but she’s attractive enough to garner some compliments.  She at least made the Top 32 in Beach Fashion.  Based on her surname, it’s interesting that it seems English is not her first language–she’s probably actually Latina.

Now with everyone in the Blue Team accounted for, let me trot out my leaderboard:

TOP CONTENDERS:  PHILIPPINES, SPAIN

SHOO-IN:  CHINA

LIKELIEST:  ALBANIA, CAMEROON, CYPRUS, DENMARK, ECUADOR, JAPAN, MONTENEGRO, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

CHALLENGE EVENT FACTOR:  DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, HONG KONG CHINA

EXCELLENT:  CHINESE TAIPEI, GUATEMALA, GUINEA, KOSOVO, NORWAY

VERY STRONG:  KENYA, SERBIA, SINGAPORE

STRONG:  GERMANY, ST. KITTS & NEVIS

VERY GOOD:  BARBADOS, GREECE

GOOD:  COSTA RICA, HAITI, MALTA

FAIR:  GABON, LESOTHO