Itt is in the final announcement where Kagandahang Flores made the most inroads, as they evened out with Aces & Queens as they split the winners evenly with four each. Even the runners-up are split with one for each camp.
2ND RUNNER-UP: BINIBINING 40 – Kristel Guelos [KF]. I should’ve paid more atention to this lady and included her in my list. Little did I know she would sparkle during he finals, showcasing her trim, buffed figure with aplomb and looking tastefully polished with her lacy white gown. TV host Gretchen Ho asked her this question: “Hidilyn Diaz, Olympic silver medalist, exemplifies the physical strength of the Filipina. What kind of strength as a Filipina can you show to the universe?” Kristel gave this brilliant answer: “As a medical practitioner and as a Binibining Pilipinas candidate, I can show the universe the dedication and passion I am having right now. And that is what I can share to others to become an influence of goodwill and to motivate others to become the better, the best version of themselves.” As Sirene choked, Jehza underwhelmed, and Christa’s face too plain to be granted a placement in this circle, this lady surged through and earned her place in this lofty firmament.
1ST RUNNER-UP: BINIBINING 32 – Charmaine Elima [A&Q]. I think the powers-that-be and the judges were not as into her as several pageant fans and pundits (like myself) were. I think in BPCi’s and the judges’ perspective, she’s only in contention for the lesser titles, not the two “premier” ones. Anyway, she seemed on-track for one during the Top 25 as she brought her smoldering dusky sexiness to the forefront in swimsuit and looked drop-dead glamorous with her dramatic one-shoulder white gown. She was asked by actor Paulo Avelino this question: “What is your view on cursing or pagmumura?” Charmaine’s answer went like this: “My view about cursing is something that we should avoid. It is something that other people can hear from the older ones. The things that children should not hear because the children follows what the older people says. So for me, my view about cursing is something that we should avoid in our everyday lives so instead of cursing – that’s negativity – we should be more focused about positivity and promote and embrace life as we should…” It’s a remarkable improvement from the caliber of her answer four years ago, but I have a feeling the judges deemed her answer not as strong as she slightly over-elaborated when she could’ve kept it simple. That can be easily fine-tuned and calibrated by her camp. Conceivably she can give two more tries, though it is intriguing if she decides to join next year as there is a possibility that a divine being (more on her later) will be part of the fray and serve as a major obstacle in her path.
BB. PILIPINAS – GLOBE: BINIBINING 18 – Nelda Ibe [KF]. She’s hyped as a shoo-in for a title–the question was which one of the “lesser” titles she’ll end up with. I have a feeling the judges and the powers-that-be pegged her for as high as Intercontinental or Grand International. However, she was pegged down a few notches after she answered TV newscaster and news radio DJ Ted Failon this topical question: “Death penalty has been a big issue concerning the Philippines in the recent months. Are you for or against death penalty?” Here is Nelda’s answer: “Well, I believe that we should not condemn life. We are sinner but then, we have to give importance to the life that God has given us. So, my stand is, I am against of it. Because we should celebrate what God has given us, and that is life.” There is good substance to that answer, but if you notice it is peppered with obvious grammatical lapses, and to the eyes of the judges, this made her answer sound less impressive and she was pegged down to the Globe title instead. Nevertheless, I’m optimistic this lady will deliver a strong showing in Albania, perhaps even probably winning like Ann Colis two years ago.
BB. PILIPINAS – INTERCONTINENTAL: BINIBINING 31 – Katarina Sonja Rodriguez [A&Q]. I think the powers-that-be and many pageant fans and pundits found her a bittt of a loose cannon and pegged that the best she’ll fare is a runner-up finish at most. But little did they estimate that she can deliver onstage, especially casting a dreamy spell in her jewel blue gown with elaborate pleated fan-like details at the skirt area. She also evoked Miss International 1986 semifinalist Alice Dixson in her 1980s-1880s moviestar heyday. But her shining moment was in the Q&A, when she was asked by Brazilian ambassador Rodrigo do Amaral Souza this question: “What is your definition of a winner?” Katarina’s superb answer goes like this: “My definition of a winner is somebody who understands that winning isn’t just because of the real way, it’s because of the responsibility that comes along when you win and how you execute the job after you win. I think a winner is somebody who knows how to inspire others, who is kind, and brave, and so ever curious.” For me, this is arguably the best answer of the night, though the ones who ranked above her also delivered top-caliber answers, and with that she arguably bumped off Charmaine Elima and Jehza Huela from a title and pushed Nelda Ibe down a notch or two. She also garnered a sponsor’s prize by winning Miss Philippine Airlines.
Two days after winning this title, there was this controversy disclosed first by CNN Philippines (from a BPCI source) that Katarina was planning to relinquish her title, though the motivation was undisclosed. I caused a major alarm amng pageant netizens but a day later the dust seemed o settle and Katarina chose to keep her crown. I’m relieved she didn’t step down, now I just hope she stays motivated when she competes at Miss Intercontinental which is reportedly scheduled again in Sri Lanka this October. Sure perhaps the odds are stacked against her as Sri Lanka might again be the continental queen for Asia, but still, duplicating Jennifer Hammond’s finish is a great achievement enough. I also have one suggestion, too: Recentt pictures show her parting her hair in the middle and pulling itt back in a severe bun–please lose the look, ifyou ask me as I think it is unflattering and makes her look like Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Sure Frida Kahlo is a highly esteemed artist, but her looks are no the sort that the pageant world appreciates.
BB. PILIPINAS – GRAND INTERNATIONAL: BINIBINING 39 – Elizabeth Clenci ]KF]. Little did I realize that it is not only Sirene Sutton who is channeling the Ruais sisters’ hauteur vibe–this lady does, too, and she also evokes a bit of Miss Grand International 2015 2nd runner-up Parul Shah. Many expected her to finish only as far as a semifinalist, not garner a title, but her stellar performance in the Top 25 round with that spellbinding white Grecian-style gown (designed by Project Runway Philippines finalist Jaz Cerezo) made people realize she can conceivably clinch a title. She sealed the deal with her sterling answer to judge Ted Failon’s topical question: “If you are caught in a heavy, terribly frustrating traffic, what are the best ways to make your time productive?” Elizabeth responded with “If I’m caught in traffic, what I usually do is read or I sleep, ‘coz time is of essence so I feel like when you’re stuck in traffic, you really need to make use of your time. So, I read or I sleep or I talk on the phone with a loved one.” I’m optimistic she’ll finish strong in Vienam this October–no guarantee she’ll duplicate or exceed Nicole Cordoves‘ 1st runner-up finish, but she’ll make our country proud.
BB. PILIPINAS – SUPRANATIONAL: BINIBINING 22 – Chanel Olive Thomas [A&Q]. She garnered two special awards: Miss Friendship and Best in National Costume. With her spontaneously bubbly personality on exhibit all throughout, her Miss Friendship win was well-deserved. She earned her National Costume win by having a standout costume that bucked the terno trend as it is more Muslim princess style and she showcased it with aplomb. She is not really regarded as a conventional beauty, but even with that caveat it turns out she’s a perfect fit for Supranational as this pageant’s grand production tend ttto require girls to be lively and vibrant and tthis girl possesses that quality in spades. For instance, in the evening gown round, she noticeably tripped, bu she compensated for it by being brightly cheerful and carrying on as it nothing happened. Sure, Chanel’s sterling communication skills apparently wouldn’t be showcased in this pageant’s final night, but there is an interview round conducted prior to the pageantt final, and just like Canada’s Siera Bearchell two years ago, this lady can ace it (yes, pun partly intended). She was asked by Nandy Villar this question: “Many countries have already legalized same-sex marriage. Do you think the Philippines should follow? Why or why not?” Chanel first responded by candidly revealing her conservative convictions: “As a Christian, I do believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.” But then she pointed out her compassion by adding, “HOWEVER, I do believe that everyone, every single person in the world deserves to be with whoever they want. And if they want to get married, that is fine.” i respect her views and I’m glad she’s the sort of Christian who is inclusive instead of shunning other people because they have a different lifestyle that her faith may not approve of. I’m rooting for her to perhaps go beyond the Top 20/25 finishes of her three most recent predecessors and att least advance a level further, at least. I’m optmimistic she can pull this off.
COMING UP: THE “PREMIER” TITLES