2ND RUNNER-UP: BINIBINING 8 – Kimverlyn Suiza. I admittedly didn’t have high expectations for her, as I was concerned about her narrow shoulders and lanky frame. But then she was a revelation during the evening gown competition as she was elegantly slinky in her strapless black evening gown, and I was thinking–what narrow shoulders? Her gown also was very flattering and gave her a sexy shape. But she then further impressed in the Q&A round, as she was asked by Ambassador Gilles Garachon about how she would describe or define the Philippines to a foreigner. Her answer: “The Philippines is such a beautiful place, not only with beautiful places, but most importantly beautiful people. The country’s pride is its people itself because we are very happy individuals, and despite all the calamities that we experience, we are very strong and we always come back happy and always looking forward to better tomorrow.” It’s a well-put answer (even with the repetition of “place” that with her sensational evening gown performance, she has proven worthy of belonging in the royal court.
1ST RUNNER-UP: BINIBINING 28 – Hannah Ruth Sison. There was clearly fire in her eyes and it shows in her stage performance that night. She was vibrant and lively in the swimsuit round and she was indelibly elegant and sexy in her sequined white evening gown with a sheer chiffon bottom. She was asked by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima about why is winning a Binibini crown relevant. I thought she gave a great answer thusly: “Well, as winning one of the crowns of Binibining Pilipinas, I think I can be a very good inspiration and a voice to a lot of people. So, I can voice out what we need to do and inspire other people to help and to unite.” In my opinion, her performance onstage and her answer should have guaranteed her a crown, but for some odd reason, the judges deprived her of that, and although she moved up in rank, it’s still a frustrating, heartbreaking end to her pageant journey.
BB. PILIPINAS – TOURISM: BINIBINING 24 – Ann Lorraine Colis. Yes, I’m aware Ann Colis has been one of the highly regarded favorites, and during finals night she did look great especially with her straight hair parted at the middle. But I was underwhelmed by her in the Q&A round. She was asked by Ambassador Gilles Garachon about how has joining this pageant changed her. Her response: “Joining Binibining Pilipinas changed me a lot and it cleared g my advocacy in life, which is education and my main purpose why I joined Binibining Pilipinas for I believe that education can change the world.” Okay, it’s a solid answer, but I suppose because I am aware that “education” has become such a pageant buzzword that her answer now feels like a cliche to me, and hence, felt that her crown should have gone to either Hannah Ruth Sison or Wyn-Win Marquez.
BB. PILIPINAS – SUPRANATIONAL: BINIBINING 25 – Rogelie Catacutan. She did deliver on her status as one of the favorites as she was indeed one of the strongest performers onstage. She also gave a strong answer in the question asked of her by Robinson Land president Frederick Go, about if she would be willing to marry a man less successful than her. Her answer: “Definitely. I would marry a man who is less successful than me because when you say love, it’s how you interact with people and when you say love it’s more on feelings and that is more important, loving the person no matter who they are or whatever they do because love is an unconditional thing that everyone needs.” Her answer has the right balance of sincerity and thought. Still, I was more impressed with the answers delivered by Hannah Ruth Sison, Wyn-Win Marquez, and Justine Felizarta, that I would give any of them a crown over her. Still, I won’t take it against her for winning a title as she was highly regarded from the get-go anyway. She will most likely sustain the strong streak whe have garnered at Miss Supranational, and there is a strong chance she will improve on Yvethe Marie Santiago’s Top 20 finish.
BB. PILIPINAS – INTERCONTINENTAL: BINIBINING 19 – Christi Lynn McGarry. It’s a given that this lady is always a front-runner for a title, and she delivered the goods during coronation night. Not only was she great onstage and she was able to showcase her great looks with aplomb, but she delivered a great, heartwarming answer to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s question about what she would tell a child longing for his/her OFW mother: “Something that I will tell a child who longs for her OFW mother is that whatever she is doing overseas is for the benefit of their own good, that she loves him very very very much and she has sacrificed a lot for her, him or her, and one day she will be in their arms again and everything will be alright.” With her sterling performance, she is guaranteed a title. The question was, which one, and many pageant fans and pundits assumed the Intercontinental title is off-limits as she previously competed in that pageant (relatively successfully, I might add, as she made the Top 15 and earned a continental queen title to boot). So it was shocking that she was granted this title*1 despite that caveat.
*1 Back at Mutya ng Pilipinas 2010, she actually garnered the crown of Mutya ng Pilipinas – Asia Pacific, and Carla Lizardo was designated as Mutya ng Pilipinas-Intercontinental. Due to personal reasons Carla could not compete at that pageant that year and this lady competed in her place.
It seems to be a messy situation and accusations of poor oversight at the Binibining Pilipinas organization were hurled. There are two scenarios to fix this “mess”, and interestingly enough, there was precedent for either scenario. First was the talk of switching titles or places with Rogelie Catacutan, so this lady could compete in Supranational and Rogelie goes for Intercontinental. There was precedent 31 years ago, when Bb. Pilipinas – International Catherine Jane Brummitt was deemed over-aged for International (the age requirements were more stringent then–maximum age limit was 23) so she competed at Miss Maja International instead (where she ended up a semifinalist) and in her stead was Bb. Pilipinas – Maja International Maria Bella Nachor (who ended up unplaced at Miss International). The two ladies officially kept their title designations but swapped at the pageants they competed in.
Based on the recent official statement issued by Bb. Pilipinas that all winners will retain their designated titles, and that Christi is “still eligible” for Intercontinental, then it seems the second scenario is more likely at play, and again, there was precedent for this back in the 1980s. It was discovered that there was one contestant at Miss International who managed to compete in the pageant twice–the Netherlands’ (then called Holland) Jacqueline Schuman saw action at Miss International 1982 without success then managed to compete again in 1985, where she ended up as 2nd runner-up behind Venezuela’s Nina Sicilia. Now that it seems that Detlief Tursies (the owner of World Beauty Organization, the organization that runs Miss Intercontinental) has given the go-signal, I have a feeling a similar outcome might happen with Christi’s case, and she’ll end up a bigger success at Miss Intercontinental this time–it’s highly conceivable she can duplicate or exceed the superb 2nd runner-up showing by Kris Tiffany Janson last year.
COMING UP: THE BIG TWO WINNERS…