It was a noisy fiesta at the Araneta Coliseum last night as I attended the Bb. Pilipinas coronation night. Though the front seats were not fully occupied, the noise levels from the bleachers and upper box section more than made up for it as the energetic cheers were loud enough to stir up a 100,000-seater football stadium (the Araneta Coliseum can seat between 20,000-25,000).
I had a blast hobnobbing with old pageant colleagues and bumping into a former officemate and even an old college schoolmate. The expected intermittent wait for the deliberations prior to the announcement of final results was made worthwhile as host Toni Gonzaga treated the audience by singing along to “Let It Go” from Frozen, Ariana Grande’s “Break Free”, and Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”, interspersed with sassy comments about the time. Toni’s irreverent hosting style, as I later learned, turned out to be polarizing as it rubbed several people the wrong way, like a Facebook posting from Bb. Pilipinas – Universe 2000 Nina Ricci Alagao, for instance. I’ll discuss more about the overall hosting when I post a full-fledged review of this pageant later this week.
I got 11 of the 15 semifinalists correct in my “Fearful” Forecast. Three of those I didn’t get were in my “Bubbling Under” List, and the one I didn’t include in my predictions wasn’t really a head-scratcher after all, as even then I vacillated between including her in my “Bubbling Under” list or not. But I have to salute Binibining 9 (Maolin Yalung) as she performed justifiably well considering originally got into the ranks as a replacement for a withdrawing candidate.
The Ruth Ocumarez Award is particularly a bitter, tragic award this time with the preponderance of repeaters this year. In terms of hubris, I’ll have to give this award to Binibining 30 (Patricia Lae Ejercitado) as this is her last hurrah and it was her third attempt and it’s sad it ended with a shut-out.
I have a sentimental choice who I’ll give first runner-up honors for the Ruth Ocumarez award who I thought based on sheer beauty and the length of time between her first attempt and this one deserved to make the cut. She first competed in 2008 and made the semifinals, and then missed the final cut in 2010 and this year. But at least she has the consolation of garnering the Miss Congeniality award, and conceivably she can still make one last go-round next year–Binibining 6 (Toni Alyessa Hipolito).
Of the seven members of the royal court, I got five out of seven correct, and among the titleholders, I got three out of five right. Still, there are twists that left an unpleasant aftertaste. First, despite a sterling performance, Binibining 28 (Hannah Ruth Sison) is shut out of the five titles at stake and had to settle with the consolation that she improved on her 2nd runner-up showing last year by finishing as 1st runner-up. Second twist is that it seems the judges were not properly briefed that Binibining 19 (Christi Lynn McGarry) already previously competed at Miss Intercontinental five years ago (and finished in the Top 15 with a continental queen award to boot), and yet she was still awarded with this title. I doubt that Detlief Tursies’ World Beauty Organization would permit a candidate to repeat joining the contest–most, if not all, major international pageants don’t allow repeaters. What will they do with this dilemma? Again, I’ll discuss this further in my full-fledged review.
It turns out the ladies most discussed/hyped about by pageant fans and pundits indeed ended up with the premiere titles of Universe and International, with Binibining 10 (Pia Wurtzbach) garnering the Miss Universe Philippines title and Binibining 11 (Janicel Lubina) garnering Binibining Pilipinas – International. It’s a long overdue vindication for Pia, in my reckoning as in the previous two outings she ought to have already won a title but fate somehow shut out what was rightfully hers. Fellow pageant blogger Joyce Ann Burton-Titular and I discussed about Janicel about an hour before the coronation proceedings began, and she gave an interesting insight regarding what could be done if Janicel bags that title–hint, something that helped policeman Neil Perez clinch the Mister International win last month. I’ll discuss the possible strategies these two big winners could pursue in my full-fledged review. Anyway, I’m in a rush of euphoria over the vindication victory of Pia, so a major congratulations to her, and to all the winners of this year’s pageant.