Cory Quirino‘s CQGQ organization has decided to tie up with Viva Entertainment to produce this edition’s Miss World Philippines. This tie-up promised to bring elements of Filipino showbiz glamour to the proceedings, and the concept seems promising with the press presentation being held at the legendary Sampaguita Gardens*. But it seems based on the impressions of the candidates (with the exception of the presumed front-runner) pageant websites decided to prioritize other concurrent pageant events and give this pageant a bit of a short-shrift. For instance, the gala night held on 27 September at Enderun coincided with the arrival of the newly-crowned Miss United Continents winner, Jeslyn Santos. The finals also coincided with the finals of another exciting pageant, Mister Gay World Philippines, and guess where the key pageant website proponents prefer to prioritize (though many of the prominent ones have photographer correspondents to cover on their behalf.
*Sampaguita Pictures by the Vera Perez family was one of the premiere Filipino movie outfits back in the 1950s-1960s.
Many pageant fans and pundits may attribute the lack of buzz to two key factors: the lack of regional searches, and the absence of contestants coming from a competitive pageant camp that had been a major player in other national pageants. But I noticed that, yes, this year’s batch isn’t that polished, but between the time of the press presentation and gala night, this group showed marked improvement and clad in pretty good stylish fashions they can deliver the goods.
The Viva tie-up also seems to bring forth a more professional production, just like in the opening number which was fabulous with a live-sung rendition of the Calvin Harris / Rihanna dance smash “This is What You Came For” by girl-group IPT, and the 24 candidates looking disco-fabulous in gold-lamé halter jumpsuits. This extends to the choice of hosts–GMA star Richard Gutierrez (who happens to be the younger brother of Miss World 1993 2nd runner-up Ruffa Gutierrez), Miss World 2011 1st runner-up Gwendoline Ruais, and Miss World 2012 Top 15 semifinalist Quenerich Rehman. Providing color commentary were Viva talents Lauren Reid and Miss World Philippines 2014 4th Princess Rachel Peters. All presenters were faultless in their spiels.
Hosts Miss World 2012 semifinalist Quenerich Rehman, Richard Gutierrez and Miss World 2011 1st runner-up Gwendoline Ruais
The format of the finals is generally fast-paced and familiar–there is a swimsuit and evening gown parade for all 24 candidates before whittling them down to a Top 12 where they will have a question-and-answer portion, followed by a Final Five where they will deliver their speeches on why they should become the next Miss World Philippines. I know that Julia Morley had a directive that the Miss World pageant will no longer have a swimsuit competition, but I think local editions are allowed such competition as in many countries (like ours) this is usually a prerequisite to attract sponsors. Now, for the evening gown round, I have to say that this is a well-done fashion parade, with dresses that are of a high standard–only the 2013 edition was better than this.
Before I proceed to discuss the Top 12, there are a few non-finalists that deserve some attention and respect, especially judging their final evening gown performances. So i’ll pay tribute to them starting with:
CANDIDATE NO. 9 – Jan Helen Villanueva. I like the way she did a twirl in her yellow Grecian slit gown which is why I am including her as among my non-finalist citations.
CANDIDATE NO. 11 – Shaina Lalaine Sazon. Her white gown has the most distinctive design, with a flappy cape-like draping over her shoulders. Needless to say she carried it with style and aplomb.
CANDIDATE NO. 16 – Roshiel Asingua. She’s good looking and was impeccable in her pink gown. I also have to note I saw a posting from Mister Universal Ambassador 2nd runner-up Andrea Biondo wishing her success–I think they’re an item. She garnered positive notices, but too bad she didn’t make the final cut.
CANDIDATE NO. 19 – Vinnie Camille Quiangco. I also noticed some pageant fans were also hyping this lady, but she’s another one of those who missed the final cut. She also looked good, too.
All images courtesy of Bruce Casanova for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.
COMING UP: THE TOP 12