BINIBINING 31 – Kylie Versoza.  When the initial list of candidates were announced, many pageant fans and pundits, including myself, thought it would be the “Kim-and-Kylie” show, with Kim Ross and this lady in a toss-up to who between them would take the Miss Universe Philippines and Bb. Pilipinas – International titles.  When I attended the talent competition at Gateway, I observed that it seems their handlers are packaging both of them to a certain template–Pia 2.0, anyone?  Now that Kim Ross is gone, the person packaged to be the next Pia is this lady–notice her make-up and her poses in her official swimsuit and glamshot below?  Buzz about her diminished a bit as attention seems to be increasingly focused on Angelique de Leon, Nicole Cordoves, Maxine Medina, and, okay, Nichole Manalo, but she still seems to be on-track for a title.  The question is, will she get the plummiest one? U – 9.5; I – 10; S – 9.5; IC – 9.5; GI – 9.5; G – 9.5

BB 31


BINIBINING 32  – Jennyline Carla Malpaya.  She reminds me of Bb. Pilipinas World 2006 Anna Maris Igpit.  In other words, she would’ve made more serious inroads ten years ago, but in this era, it’s an uphill climb.  U – 6.5; I – 5.5; S – 6.5; IC – 6.5; GI – 6; G – 6.5

BB 32


Bb. Pilipinas World 2006 Anna Maris Igpit (image courtesy of Miss World Organization)

BINIBINING 33 – Leonalyn dela Cruz.  There are some angles where she reminds me of actress and Mutya ng Pilipinas – Asia Pacific 1990 Mutya Crisostomo Laxa.  She’s attractive, but it’s an uphill battle for her to make inroads into the Top 15.  U – 7; I – 7; S – 7; IC – 7; GI – 7; G – 7.

BB 33


BINIBINING 34 – Sarah Christine Bona.  There are some angles she resembles Miss Grand International 2015 3rd runner-up Parul Shah. albeit less charismatic.  As such, she has not really received as much buzz as she potentially could have gotten.  A bit more seasoning and maybe, jus maybe, she can make a stronger impact.   U – 6.5; I – 6; S – 6; IC – 6.5; GI – 6; G – 6.5

BB 34


Miss Grand International 2015 3rd runner-up Parul Shah (image courtesy of Miss Grand International)

BINIBINING 35 – Mariella Castillo.  Hard to believe she last competed six years ago (and she made the semifinals during that year), and she’s still young enough to compete two more times before being totally ineligible.  This deadringer to actress and Miss International 1994 semifinalist Alma Concepcion looks as great she did six years ago, so she looks poised to make the final cut again–though there are people quibbling that her figure may not be up to snuff.  But she has these native features that are very pleasing to the eye that she could win the judges over…  U – 8.5; I – 8.5; S – 8.5; IC – 8.5; GI – 8.5; G – 8.5

BB 35


Miss International 1994 semifinalist Alma Concepcion (program book image courtesy of Tony Paat)

BINIBINING 36 – Maria Gigante.  She has the looks and the intelligence to make serious inroads into the finals, and she has a catchy name (though at 5’6″, she’s not really a “giant”–remember that “gigante” is Spanish for giant).  Her touted skills in Q&A may even make her a possible crown usurper–will that materialize?  U – 8.5; I – 8.5; S – 8; IC – 8; GI – 8.5; G – 8

BB 36


BINIBINING 37 – Jehza Mae Huelar.  She recently graduated from my alma mater (Ateneo de Manila University) so I have a bit of a soft spot for her, and she’s good looking and a solid contender.  She is a semifinals possibility.  U – 8; I – 8; S – 7.5; IC – 7.5; GI – 8; G – 7.5

BB 37


BINIBINING 38 – Angelica Alita.  She received heavy compliments among pageant fans and pundits that many believe she has an inside track into the semifinals.  I so agree with them.  U – 8.5; I – 8.5; S – 7.5; IC – 7.5; GI – 8; G – 7.5

BB 38


BINIBINING 39 – Sissel Ria Rabajante.  This is her third attempt and a final hurrah as this is her last year of eligibility.  Though in all previous attempts (in 2013 and last year, along with a stint at Miss World Philippines 2013) she was well regarded by pageant fans and pundits but in all occasions she somehow fell short of making the final cut.  Can she finally end her pageant journey on a high note?  U – 8.5; IC – 9

BB 39


BINIBINING 40 – Christianne Ramos.  She’s attractive in real-world terms, but in pageant standards she has a long way to go–her strong factor is intelligence.  U – 6; I – 6; S – 5.5; IC – 5.5; GI – 6; G – 5.5

BB 40


With all 40 candidates accounted for, it’s time for me to give my “Fearful” forecast, as follows:

TITLEHOLDERS:  7 (De Leon), 11 (Cordoves), 27 (Pajares), 28 (Manalo), 29 (Medina), 31 (Versoza)

RUNNERS-UP:  14 (Bartolome), 22 (Smith)

SEMIFINALISTS:  4 (Penchon),  15 (Estoque), 16 (Openiano), 26 (Hammond), 35 (Castillo), 36 (Gigante), 38 (Alita)

BUBBLING UNDER:  2 (Garcia), 12 (Gamboa), 13 (Eden), 23 (Valdes), 25 (Lopez), 37 (Huelar), 39 (Rabajante)

INTELLIGENCE FACTOR:  3 (Fernando), 8 (Ibasco), 30 (Samaco), 40 (Ramos)

The coronation night promises to be very exciting as besides the reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach gracing her presence to crown her successor, three of her batchmates from the Miss Universe pageant would also be present as special guests:  Mz. USA (Olivia Jordan), Myanmar (May Barani Thaw), and Malaysia (Vanessa Tevi Kumares).  Wonder if sole merit would prevail or would pedigreed politicking be at play for the final results?  I’m simply hoping for a just result.




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