The last time Miss World Philippines held the finals in Solaire, it was a very stormy night as Tropical Depression Maring unleashed heavy downpours. That was two years ago in August and the winner was Megan Young, who went on to win Miss World 2013 more than a month later. This year, same venue and guess what–there was a storm named Lando hovering over our shores–though it did not bring forth as heavy a downpour in Metro Manila, it brought some scary heavy winds with it.
Nevertheless, the pageant finals went ahead as scheduled. The show opened to a mash-up of Beyonce’s “Who Run The World (Girls)” and Britney Spears / Iggy Azalea’s “Pretty Girls”, with the candidates grooving and striking fierce poses in canary, plum, and coral dresses. The candidates then made their requisite live introductions and then danced a bit again. It was generally simple, but still worthwhile to behold.
The hosts for the show were “eventologist” Tim Yap, GMA talent Iya Villania, and Miss World 2011 1st runner-up Gwendoline Ruais. All did their jobs well, with Iya Villania providing an example of how to add flashes of sass without rubbing audiences the wrong way the way Toni Gonzaga did at Binibining Pilipinas earlier this year. Sure, she doesn’t generate the guffaws that Toni did but a few of her quips do manage to earn a few small chuckles.
The format of Miss World Philippines and Binibining Pilipinas share similarities in terms of both pageants present all candidates in two rounds–the first in swimsuit and the second in evening wear. For this edition, the swimsuit round featured candidates parading in one-piece swimsuits (instead of the usual bikinis that is usually the norm in this decade) designed by Rocky Gathercole. They are generally bright and colorful, though some color combos might be unflattering to some. Before they paraded individually, they also appeared en masse sporting poufy white skirts–they are actually quite cute. The evening gown round was again a showcase for local designers–this year’s theme was Hollywood glamour, and just like in the opening number, the candidates follow a color scheme according to their number: Candidates 1-8 sported sophisticated black, Candidates 9-17 in fiery red, and Candidates 18-26 in pale pink/nude colors.
The twist was after they call out the Top 13. In previous editions, the semifinalists would be subject to the judges’ questions, and when they are whittled down to the Top Five, they would basically deliver a speech on why they are the best choice for the title. This year, the first set of Q&As was “select-the-questions-from-a-bowl” and for the Top Five, it was the judges’ questions. This subtle change slightly threw off the candidates a bit, but for most part, they manage to compose themselves and prepare for the new format.
Before I proceed to discuss the Top 13 semifinalists, I’ll pay tribute to one non-finalist who at least garnered a special award (albeit in a three-way tie):
CANDIDATE NO. 13 – Avonlea Paraiso. At least her harp playing gave her a moment in the spotlight as she garnered the talent prize. I have previously noted she’s also the recipient of the Ruth Ocumarez award for this pageant.
COMING UP: THE TOP 13 SEMIFINALISTS