The Miss World 2015 Philippines stage

It’s interesting that on the date that the Miss World 2015 Philippines finals was scheduled, Typhoon Lando (international code name Koppu) made landfall in Aurora Province and begun its slow but devastating trek across Northern Luzon.  Metro Manila was affected with heavy winds and intermittent downpours throughout the day.  With such foul weather, my parents admonished me not to push through with my plans to attend the coronation night, just be content to stay home to watch the proceeding on late night TV.  Besides, they argued, I just came out of being awake for 22 continuous hours without any sleep the previous day–besides my night-shift work, I finished my Homestretch review for this pageant, then be with my officemates as we enjoyed a feast at Todd English Food Hall in SM Aura, then going to Citibank in Makati to pay my credit card bills, and finally having my bi-monthly appointment with my endocrinologist.

Despite those concerns, I felt I was well-rested enough, and took brief naps that Sunday afternoon to gather my energy for the long night ahead.  I did not hear the sounds of downpour during that afternoon, so I thought the coast is clear enough for me to proceed.  So at 5 PM, I got myself ready and observed it was no longer raining so I proceeded to take a cab from my home to Solaire.  Although even inside a closed air-conditioned taxicab, we observed the strong wind, but somehow I didn’t feel that worried as I was hopeful that when the pageant ends the weather would improve somehow.  Anyway, when I was finally inside of Solaire, I’m not even aware at all of the weather outside, and I had a blast hobnobbing with friends and acquaintances, old and new.

Now let me talk about the results of the pageant.  First, most of us pageant fans and pundits presumed there will be a Top 12 but instead it turned out to be a Top 13.  I got 10 out of 13 correct, which I’m very satisfied with.  Two of them were in my “Bubbling Under” list, and the one I totally missed out on was Candidate No. 2 (Jannie Loudette Alipo-on).  To her credit, though she was a polished presence all throughout the finals so I don’t begrudge her placement or consider it a headscratcher–just a worthwhile surprise.

Surprise semifinalist: Jannie Loudette Alipo-on

The winner of the Ruth Ocumarez award for this pageant is Candidate No. 13 (Avonlea Paraiso).  She seems to be unable to fully capitalize on her Gwen Ruais-meets-Karla Henry vibe to make the final cut, though she at least had the consolation of wining the Talent award (sharing it with two others).

Ruth Ocumarez Award: Avonlea Paraiso (photo by Rob Reyes for Rappler)

Though the pageant itself is actually well-paced and straightforward, there were a few long lulls in between the sequences, such as a 30-minute break in between the swimsuit competition and evening gown competition, and a 15-minute break between the Top Five final question and the farewell walk of the outgoing queen and the announcement of the results.  For the longer breaks, they employed some eye-candy (who provided to younger generations ear-candy) with the cutie Tyson Kraft DJ’ing some dance tunes (and adding a few beats of his own by waving his lighted electronic drumsticks in the air) to make the lull more tolerable.  For shorter lulls, hosts Iya Villania and Tim Yap were pretty good in engaging the audience.  Iya had a few amusing quips here and there–not as saucy as Toni Gonzaga’s controversial hosting stint at Bb. Pilipinas, but still has a touch of playful sass.

DJ Tyson Kraft
Hosts Tim Yap and Iya Villania (photo courtesy of Rob Reyes for Rappler)

I learned that the TV broadcast edited out a full sequence onstage–the announcement of the special awards.  On TV, it was just shortened to a static list of winners.  But there was a full-fledged announcement onstage with the special award winners posing with sponsors and such.  As Candidate No. 19 (Hillarie Danielle Parungao) began sweeping most of the awards, Iya attempted to count the number of awards won, until at the end Tim Yap quipped that all those sashes she earned can be transformed into a new evening gown.

Enroute to sweeping the special awards: Hillarie Danielle Parungao (Image courtesy of Rob Reyes for Rappler)

I intend to post a full-fledged review on this pageant soon.  In general I do say that the results are fully justified and the best girl won, even if I know there are significant factions of local pageant fans who would beg to differ.  This can be reflected on the subtle signs when you look at the pictures of the royal court.

The royal court: 3rd Princess Vanessa Wright, 1st Princess Marita Cassandra Naidas, Miss World Philippines Hillarie Danielle Parungao, 2nd Princess Mia Allyson Howell, and 4th Princess Emma Tiglao

My evening left me with a great feeling of gratitude.  First, I get to hang around longer with my esteemed fellow blogging colleague Norman Tinio, and through him I got to meet my sentimental favorite at Misters 2015, JE “John Outlaw” Adajar again.  There were some missed opportunities as I had to conserve battery power on my cellphone as the wire of my portable charger wore out, so I missed taking a selfie with John Outlaw.  Another missed opportunity was the chance to pose with the beloved Miss World 2013 Megan Young and another celebrity judge, Venezuelan telenovela star Fernando Carrillo (best known for playing Fernando Jose in Thalia’s 1999 telenovela Rosalinda).  Some got to have pictures of both of them together.  Darn if they weren’t whisked away.

After the coronation, I decided to help out my friend Lex Librea, who had some duties to perform behind-the-scenes of this pageant (like picking up and handing the coronation bouquets back to the winners, etc.).  Thanks to him, I got to attend the coronation party. Though we noticed the hints of disappointment in the faces of two of the runners-up after the announcement of results, little did I know that it would extend to their conspicuous absence at the coronation party.

It was around 2:30 AM when the party ended.  Lex planned to meet up with other friends and it turns out many of them are hanging out at the outgoing queen, Valerie Weigmann’s hotel suite.  It turns out the winds were strong and the rain was pouring hard at that time so I decided to come along, and I had a blast hanging out with them, discussing and dissecting the results.    From what we discussed it dawned on me that a paradigm shift is needed for some parties if they want to truly shine.  I have to say thank you to Valerie Weigmann and Bodie Pulido for providing us with a safe shelter from the storm, so to speak.

Shelter from the storm: hanging out in Valerie’s suite (image courtesy of Bodie Pulido)

Early in the morning, we got to meet with Hillarie’s mom and discuss plans to prepare her for the main event in Sanya.  To all the readers, what I can say is watch out for her introduction and Beauty with a Purpose videos in the coming weeks because they promise to be exciting treats.  Hillarie is on track to make our country proud at Miss World 2015.  Congratulations again, and may everything work in your favor!