Image courtesy of Bong Tan for Missosology

The Binibining Pilipinas 2019 pageant has concluded and let’s see how I fared with my “Fearful” Forecast.  I got 20 out of the Top 25 correct and 10 of the Top 15 correct.  I have to say, not really that bad, but I feel I could do better.  In my Top 25 prediction, I had two in my “Bubbling Under” list, and they are…

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY (Malka Shaver) and LA UNION (Kimberle Mae Penchon).  Especially with the latter, who previously made the Top 15 three years ago, they each have worthwhile qualities that it wasn’t that surprising that they both made the Top 25.

Admittedly, when I posted my “Fearful” Forecast, I actually intended to include POLANGUI, ALBAY (Sherry Ann Tormes) in my “Bubbling Under” list especially since she made the cut last year, so it’s also not surprising that she made the cut.  My bad.

Now the closest thing to a headscratcher is DAVAO DEL SUR (Jane Darren Genobisa) as I wasn’t that into her brand of native looks, but somehow the judges seem to like her and despite not quite as impressed with her Free Speak response, somehow the selection panel found favor with her to make the cut.

Also out of my radar and “Bubbling Under” list is DUMAGUETE CITY (Joahnna Saad), as I found her features a tad too angular and her figure a tad too slender for comfort.  But I know she did well in the Free Speak round and perhaps enough people in the selection committee gravitate to her slender frame and patrician mestiza looks so that was why she won favor with them and surprisingly ultimately with the final night panel of judges as she went further into the Top 15.

I thought BULACAN (Rubee Maree Faustino) has strong enough qualities worthy of making the Top 25, but perhaps the people in the selection panel didn’t feel the same way and felt she didn’t make enough impact.

I also had bullish prospects for BACOLOD CITY (Cassandra Chan) as she seems a strong interview and has distinctive Chinese features plus she was shortlisted in the Top 10 in national costume, which based on the TV primer is supposedly part of the criteria for selecting the Top 25.  But it seems the BPCI selection panel were simply not into her looks even if she has sterling communication skills that they shut her out.  At least she has the consolation of being the non-finalist who got a moment in the coronation night spotlight as she won a special award.

I was impressed enough with the answers delivered by DARAGA, ALBAY (Julia Saubier) and TARLAC (Mary Faye Murphy) in the Free Speak round and felt they have strong qualities worthy of advancing even as far as the Top 15, but somehow they didn’t garner enough favor with the BPCI selection panel.  Wonder what gives?  Anyway I would put them as runners-up for the Ruth Ocumarez award.

Considering her previous strong stint at Mutya ng Pilipinas and ultimately a fourth runner-up finish at Miss Asia Pacific International, I would award the Ruth Ocumarez award to MANDAUE, CITY (Ilene De Vera).  I thought her previous experience would mean something, but the BPCI selection panel were simply not feeling her for some odd reason.  I thought she deserved to make the Top 25, at the very least.

My weak Top 15 prediction batting average could be attributed to the three members of the Ruth Ocumarez court this year, along with underestimating some ladies who I just pegged as part of the Top 25 and not further, and overestimating the strength of a couple of ladies.  But I feel proud that I got seven of the eight-person winners’ circle correct including four of the six titleholders.  I blame the downfall of one big favorite for this…

Based on the slew of special awards and sponsors’ prizes she garnered, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL (Vickie Marie Rushton) seemed on track to garnering one of the titles.  Unfortunately everything fell apart at the Top 15 Q&A as she lost her train of thought and gave one of the weakest answers of the night and lost a bit of poise in the process.  It’s such a huge fall that she was shut out of the winners’ circle in the process.

Vicky’s debacle provided an opportunity for PASIG CITY (Aya Abesamis) to finally clinch a slot in the winners’ circle as first runner-up.  And she earned it as she gave a stronger-than-expected answer in the Top 15 Q&A, to the point that she even outranked a lady who was hoping to parlay her previous year’s second runner-up finish to a title, but ended up repeating her showing, PALAWAN (Samantha Bernardo).

I have to also pat myself on the back for believing in the strong prospects of MAGUINDANAO (Resham Saeed) even if other fans and pundits only pegged her as a possible usurper.  I knew she deserves to belong in the winners’ circle, so I’ extra pleased that she earned the Supranational title.  Her Muslim background can make for an interesting human interest story but then again Europe has already seen its slew of Muslim beauty queens, as they are next door to Turkey.  Still, I’m happy with her showing and optimistic of her prospects in the international arena.

Admittedly I was expecting BATAAN (Patch Magtanong) to win it all, but it seems the coronation night panel of judges decided to gamble on a strategy of gunning for our seventh Miss International win to catch up with Venezuela’s eight wins.  The choice of winner for the plum prize, TALISAY, CEBU (Gazini Ganados), yes she has the looks and stage presence that made maximum impact, but I was less than impressed with her answer in the Q&A round–it felt like a Maxine Medina scenario was at play here, to scale down our expectations after Catriona Gray‘s momentous win last December.  I know some pageant fans are gunning for her to go for a back-to-back, but for me, I’ll be more than satisfied if she can at least equal the placements of MJ Lastimosa and Rachel Peters and a showing higher than that is gravy.  I’m also pleased with the rest of the titleholders and I’ll discuss their prospects in my full-fledged review expected next week.  Congratulations and best of luck to the winners!



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