After a long protracted wait at 1:30 AM on Labor Day (May 1st), the winners of the 2017 Binibining Pilipinas was announced.  Though most of the favorites performed as expected and the result was expected for the Top Two titles, there were a few surprises in the offing, starting with a new format where they reduced the 40 candidates to 25 quarter-finalists who then paraded in swimsuit and gown before selecting the Top 15 and deciding the royal court from there.

Out of the 25 quarterfinalists announced, I got 20 of them in my radar.  The five that I didn’t get, well turned out also to be worthy of belonging there.  It goes to show the general high quality of this year’s batch of 40 candidates.  Three of those who were in the Top 25 were Binibining 27 (Denise Valente), 33 (Kristie Rose Cequeña), and 37 (Sammie Anne Legaspi)–two of these are refreshing choices and one is a bit of a head-scratcher though some might argue she indeed had merits belonging here.  I’ll discuss that in my full-fledged review.

Under the radar to the Top 25: Binibining 27 (Denise Valente), 33 (Kristie Rose Cequena) and 37 (Sammie Anne Legaspi)

Two of those outside my radar went even further, one making the Top 15 and the other announced as part of the royal court.  It turns out they are also worthy and refreshing.  They are Binibining 34 (Gabriela Patricia Ortega) and 40 (Kristel Guelos).  Again, I’ll discuss how they gone farther than expected in my full-fledged review.

Stealth achievers: Binibining 34 (Gabriela Patricia Ortega) and 40 (Kristel Guelos)

Now, for the Ruth Ocumarez awards.  In a tie for third place are Binibining 21 (Jamaica Ambal) and 30 (Mae Liezel Ramos).  I discovered the former has some unflattering angles when you see her in a TV camera and that may have left the powers-that-be and the judges a little cold, and such a shame she wasn’t appreciated.  Now, for the latter, considering she previously made the cut three years ago, it’s a bit of a shock why she fell short, though buzz has been muted for her in this edition.

Ruth Ocumarez 2nd runner-up (tie):  Binibining 21 (Jamaica Ambal) and 30 (Mae Liezel Ramos)

Garnering 1st runner-up honors for the Ruth Ocumarez award is Binibining 12 (Angelique Celine de Leon).  In all her three attempts in this pageant, she was regarded as having an inside track to the semifinals, has a significant and vocal fanbase rooting for her to succeed, and in all three occasions she fell somehow fell short.  This is presumably her final hurrah as she is already at the maximum age of 26.  It’s a bit of a heartbreak that the powers-that-be never looked at her with favor and could not even grant her a consolation for her efforts.

Ruth Ocumarez 1st runner-up:  Binibining 12 (Angelique Celine de Leon)

The winner of this year’s Ruth Ocumarez award is Binibining 24 (Dindi Pajares).  Yes, she’s not conventionally beautiful, but considering her previous Top 15 showing last year and how she’s perceived to still have all the qualities that made her made the cut intact, it’s a shock that she was excluded from the Top 25 this year.  Was this year really that cutthroat that there is no room for this sterling lady in that roster?

Ruth Ocumarez award winner:  Binibining 24 Dindi Pajares)

For the semifinals, I got 10 out of the 15 correct, with three in my “Bubbling Under” list.  I also got five of the royal correct and four out of the six titleholders.  Two of the highly favored ladies for titles may have been shut out and there are valid reasons for that, so all in all I find the verdict fair and just.  I’m optimistic this group of ladies could sustain the strong performances our country delivered in the international arena for the past couple of years.  Congratulations to all the winners, and best of luck on your various assignments.