Hard to believe it was already nine years since I last watched a Bb. Pilipinas pageant live.  But thanks to a dear close friend, I finally got back to watching the proceedings at the Araneta live.  The enthusiasm and electric energy from the audience that I recalled in previous editions remained undiminished.  But adding to the fun this year was the presence of the reigning Miss Universe, Molly Isler, who had some charity work to perform here along with being part of the panel of judges.

The show was generally high energy and nicely paced (considering all 40 candidates paraded in swimsuits and evening gowns), but I’ll provide more details on that when I post my full-fledged review later this week.  Anyway, waiting for the final results (which could have been the one that would drag the proceedings) was not as unbearable as usual as Pentatonix’s cover version of Lorde’s “Royals” piped in as ABS-CBN cameras panned in to the 15 finalists grooving and miming to the tune, then seguing to commentator Venus Raj also miming to the song, then finally co-host Anne Curtis gamely “singing” over the tune (though of course, I wish Anne left Pentatonix alone, but it was fun, nevertheless).  Then, Anne gets to belt out over Heart’s “Alone”, reportedly a staple in her surprisingly successful concerts.  All these were not shown in the telecast, of course…

Anne Curtis belting out to Heart’s “Alone” while awaiting the final results.

I got 11 out of 15 finalists right, and 5 out of 7 in the court.  One was in my “Bubbling Under” list and one of the three I didn’t get I was torn about including in my “Bubbling Under” list.  Two of them were headscratching surprises for me, with one who didn’t justify her placement in the final Q&A round–again more on that in my full-fledged review.  Now, let’s go to the Ruth Ocumarez awardees.  I’ll award bronze, silver, and gold, and these are:

Ruth Ocumarez Award Bronze Medal goes to Binibining 9, Joy Diaz.  who I thought would win over the judges with her intelligence behind the scenes–but well, I suppose the conspicuous absence of her aunt, Gloria Diaz should’ve clued me in that her intelligence and personality were not enough to overcome her obvious weaknesses in the looks department.

Ruth Ocumarez Bronze Medalist Joy Diaz (image courtesy of Jory Rivera for OPMB Worldwide)

Ruth Ocumarez Award Silver Medal goes to Binibining 15 is Kimverlyn Suiza.  I think the judges had a major quibble about her narrow shoulders that I can understand that could have been the main hindrance to her making the final cut.

Ruth Ocumarez Silver Medalist Kimverlyn Suiza (image courtesy of Jory Rivera for OPMB Worldwide)

Finally, the Ruth Ocumarez Award Gold Medal goes to Diana Arevalo.  After making the final cut in her two previous attempts, I thought she performed strong enough to at least secure a semifinalist slot, yet surprisingly, she was instead shut out of the Top 15.  It was the most shocking result amongst pageant fans and pundits who have a high regard for her.

Ruth Ocumarez gold medalist Diana Arevalo (image courtesy of Jory Rivera of OPMB Worldwide).

Most of the ladies who made the final court delivered.  I know legions of local pageant fans are especially gladdened that finally, MJ Lastimosa garnered a coveted crown after her third try–the plum prize of Miss Universe Philippines at that.  I sincerely respect the results, but apparently in the wake of her victory she bequeathed a legacy to one highly favored semifinalist who missed out of the crowns this year.  I’ll provide more details in my full-fledged review but until then, well, I’ll just say the ending is bittersweeet for me.