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