BINIBINING 31 – Angelique Celine de Leon.  Hard to believe she used to be relatively heftier at 180 lbs and that she was a tomboy.  Now, she is a vision of glamour.  She looks on track to garner a semifinals slot and perhaps in a year or so be on track to garner a title.  U – 9; I – 8.5; TQI – 8.5; S – 9; IC – 9

BINIBINING 32 – Jeslyn Santos.  In real-world terms, she would be deemed attractive but in pageant terms, making this cut is going to have to be enough.  U – 7; I – 6.5; TQI – 6.5; S – 7; IC – 7

BINIBINING 33 – Gabrielle Erika Tilokani.  She made the Top 10 in Mutya ng Pilipinas 2011.  But this pageant is a whole different ballgame and so far it seems that making the roster of 40 candidates is the most she will achieve.  U – 7; I – 7; TQI – 7; S – 7; IC – 7

BINIBINING 34 – Leonalyn dela Cruz.  She has appealing Asian/native features, and the fact she is a CPA going for her.  She could be considered a worthwhile contender, though a longshot to make the final cut.  U – 8; I – 7.5; TQI – 7.5; S – 8; IC – 8

BINIBINING 35 – Yvethe Marie Santiago.  Admittedly, I’m not that into her features as other pageant fans and pundits are, rating her as one of the top contenders for the crown.  But I do have to note she is actually very photogenic, is a strong communicator (and branded among the academic overachievers with Laura Lehmann and Joy Diaz in the Road to the Crown primer), and is clearly a strong, polished stage presence.  I don’t mind seeing her garner one of the crowns, but my heart right now is with four ladies at this point.  U – 9; I – 9.5; TQI – 9.5; S – 9.5; IC – 9.5

BINIBINING 36 – Krystal Alonday.  She is reasonably attractive, but otherwise not in serious contention for the finals.  In my opinion she wore the worst national costume of the bunch with her ill-proportioned  white terno and humongously flouncy white-pink-and-blue hoop skirt.  U – 6.5; I – 6.5; TQI – 6.5; S – 7; IC – 6.5

BINIBINING 37 – Vanessa Saliba.  This half-Lebanese lady has the mestiza features that are highly appealing to most Filipinos.  She isn’t making a major splash, but I consider her worthwhile.  U – 7.5; I – 8; TQI – 8; S – 7.5; IC – 7.5

BINIBINING 38 – Janine Asanion.  Reportedly, straight men find her highly appealing.  If the proportion of straight men are in the judging panel is high like back in 2010, it is conceivable she can pull off a Czarina Gatbonton-type of upset.  U – 8; I – 7.5; TQI – 7.5; S – 8.5; IC – 8.5

BINIBINING 39 – Ladylyn Riva.  She’s a veteran who previously competed in the 2011 Bb. Pilipinas, along with winning Miss Casino Filipino and 1st runner-up of Miss Resorts World that same year.  I dig her unconditional choice of costume–a pantsuit laden with golden lace embroidery.  She could be within striking distance of making the final cut.  U – 8; I – 8; TQI – 8; S – 8; IC – 8

BINIBINING 40 – Vessica Sambo.  She has these prominent almond eyes and a long swan-like neck, plus an unconventionally spelled name (I initially thought her name started with a letter “Y” instead of a “V”).  Her pink terno would have been otherwise lovely if it weren’t for the way her skirt was shredded–supposedly for unconventional effect, but in my opinion, it just looked as if it was torn apart by accident.  U – 8.5; I –  8; TQI – 8; S – 8.5; IC – 8.5

I am not certain at this point if they are to select a Top 15 or a Top 12, and if they are still including runners-up on top of the five titleholders for this year.  I’ll assume they will do a Top 15 and add runners-up so let me now trot out my “fearful” forecast:

TOP CONTENDERS:  8, 11, 13, 22, 35


SEMI-FINALISTS:  1, 4, 14, 15, 17, 23, 27, 31

BUBBLING UNDER:  5, 7, 10, 18, 19, 21, 24, 30, 37, 38, 39, 40

i find this group in general to be highly competitive.  The interesting battle is who is going to garner the plummier titles of Universe and International–will it be Bianca or Kris Tiffany for Universe (with Pia in striking distance to take that title, too), and will it be Pia, Laura, or Yvethe for International?  Will MJ finally garner a title?  Plus, whoever would garner the Miss Universe Philippines title, will she finally bring home that much coveted third crown for our country?  And will the other titleholders sustain the blazing showings we had last year (and maybe even bring forth back-to-back wins in the case of International and Supranational)?  I’m waiting with bated breath.