Image courtesy of Miss World Philippines Organization

Due to so many personal factors I was unable to watch the proceedings of Miss World Philippines 2017 live.  However, as much as I could I do keep track of their activities online and made sure I got to watch the delayed broadcast on TV, and needless to say, the pomp and splendor were great to behold–more on that on my full-fledged review most likely to be posted in the next couple of weeks.

I got 9 of the Top 15 correct and three of the four title holders.  Not bad, though I know others had better batting averages, but I have the consolation of having four others in my bubbling under list.  But then again, with a batch like this, I know there would be others out there who given the chance to rise to the occasion, would usurp the front-runners out there.

The two ladies who I totally missed turned out to indeed deliver strongly when it counted.  Candidate 28 (Sheila Marie Reyes) turned out to sparkle brightly when it counted, and she went as far as the Top 10.  I though Top 10 is as far as Candidate 35 (Sophia Senoron) would get, but befitting her name, her beyond-her-17-years-of-age wisdom and that San-Beda-Debate-Team-honed gift of gab helped her achieve the seemingly impossible and with a couple of other strong gabby gals, yanked Candidate 26 (Janela Joy Cuaton) out of a supposed lock for one of the four titles (and even a spot on the royal court) and Sophia ended up with the Miss Multinational title honors.

Biggest surprises: Candidates 28 (Sheila Marie Reyes) and 35 (Sophia Senoron)


I have a couple of sentimental faves who failed to make the cut–indeed this pageant is loaded with high quality ladies and perhaps these ladies just missed it by very little.  Both of them were standouts in the Talent event, and I thought they have great looks, but well, with this high caliber of ladies, those were the breaks sometimes.  They are runners-up for this pageant’s Ruth Ocumarez award and they are Candidates 1 (Shawntel Cruz) and 5 (Kaycie Lyn Fajardo).

Ruth Ocumarez runners-up: Candidate 1 (Shawntel Cruz) and 5 (Kaycie Lyn Fajardo).
More of these Ruth Ocumarez runners-up performing their talents: Shawntel playing and singing her song, and Kaycie Lyn performing magic tricks.

But my choice of winner for the Ruth Ocumarez award made a strong initial impression in the challenge events, making the shortlist in Talent and Beach Beauty.  However, she seemed to have lost her luster afterwards, and that probably made her miss the final cut in the end–the winner is Candidate 31 (Jeanyfer Ozbot).


Winner of the Ruth Ocumarez award: Candidate 30 (Jeanyfer Ozbot)
Jeanyfer performing her indigenous dance.

It looks like the interview rounds are held at a high premium in this contest, and in that context, the final results are fully justified.  Even if there was a shocking upset, I’m more than happy with the current set of winners, especially Winwyn Marquez getting her vindication by garnering the Reina Hispanoamerica title, Anne Curtis-Hathaway, er, I mean, Cynthia Thomalla rewarded with the Miss Eco Philippines title (and other numerous prize because of her sheer gorgeousness), and most especially Laura Lehmann garnering the plum prize of Miss World Philippines.  A well-earned congratulations to all the ladies and congratulations to the Miss World Philippines Organization under Arnold Vegafria and Mark Bessie Besana for a sterling event.  Wishing for more success in the years to come.



The royal court: 1st Princess Glyssa Perez, Miss Eco Philippines Cynthia Thomalla, Reina Hispanoamerica – Filipinas Winwyn Marquez, Miss World Philippines Laura Lehmann, Miss Multinational Philippines Sophia Senoron, and 2nd Princess Zara Carbonell

All images courtesy of Edmund Chua for OPMB Worldwide unless otherwise indicated.




CANDIDATE 25:  Karren Dela.  East Asians may find her features appealing, but they are not highly regarded in our shores.  Rating: 7.

CANDIDATE 26:  Janela Joy Cuaton.  She previously won a title two years ago at Mutya ng Pilipinas as she was Mutya ng Pilipinas – Tourism International, and she competed in the pageant staged in Vietnam and garnered 1st runner-up.  That track record would make a compelling argument why she’s worthy of garnering the plum Miss World Philippines title.  She also has a devoted fanbase and thus far she figured in three fast-track events:  Beach Beauty, Top Model, and Multimedia.  I think garnering a title seems secure for her–the question is, would it be the plum title?  Rating: 9.5.

CANDIDATE 27:  Ella Eiveren Lubag.  She has an edge in the Talent competition with her violin playing skills.  There is also merit in her very Chinese features.  Even if she didn’t win the Talent fast-track, she has a good chance of advancing to the semifinals.  Rating: 8.5.

CANDIDATE 28:  Sheila Marie Reyes.  She’s attractive, but her features are not by cup of tea.  She made the Talent shortlist with her contemporary dance routine.  Rating: 8.

CANDIDATE 29:  Krystie Anne Gongjanco.  Her features would be too exotic for many tastes.  But it seems her key strong qualities are her gab (since she’s raised in the US) and her background in web design.  Still, it seems she fell short in Multimedia, so this is probably as far as she can go.  Rating: 7.

CANDIDATE 30:  Kathleen Gomez.  She could be a possible usurper for the Reina Hispanoamerica title as she is half-Spanish.  But though her features are appealing in these shores, they don’t really appeal much elsewhere.  Rating: 8.

CANDIDATE 31:  Jeanyfer Ozbot.  She has the looks to be a shoo-in for the semifinals, and she figured in both Beach Beauty and Talent (with her indigenous dance).  I don’t really foresee her winning a title, but it’s highly possible she can garner a runner-up position.  Rating: 9.

CANDIDATE 32:  Cynthia Thomalla.  She stuns pageant fans and pundits with her striking beauty, a cross between two celebrity Annes–Anne Hathaway and our very own Anne Curtis.  Arguably the prettiest face of this year’s batch, she looks like a lock for one of the titles–the only question is if it’s going to be the plum prize.  She figured in three fast-track events:  Beach Beauty, Top Model, and Sports.  Another lady who is a lock for a title, but of course the question remains–will she get the plum one?  Rating: 9.5.

Anne Hathaway (L) (image sourced from and Anne Curtis (R) (image sourced from

CANDIDATE 33:  Noelle Uy-Tuazon.  Living in the US seems to indicate she has an edge in communication skills, and she has an interesting career:  forensic anthropology.  Her Asian looks again has its appeal and adherents, and the mix of judges that like this sort of looks would probably be the key for her to advance.  Rating:  8.

CANDIDATE 34:  Andrea Poliquit.  She’s another attractive looker, though she hasn’t made a standout impression.  In general she can be considered a worthwhile contender.  Rating: 8.

CANDIDATE 35:  Sophia Senoron.  She is shortlisted in Multimedia, and that could be her ticket for advancing, as otherwise she’s drowned by the sterling group out there.  Rating:  7.5.

Swimsuit Press Presentation images courtesy of Joy Arguil for, all others courtesy of Miss World Philippines Organization unless otherwise indicated.

As is customary, I will now declare my “Fearful” Forecast, as follows:

TITLEHOLDERS:  9 (Winwyn), 15 (Laura), 26 (Janela), 32 (Cynthia).

RUNNERS-UP:  6 (Jona), 31 (Jeanyfer)

SEMIFINALISTS:  1 (Shawntel), 3 (Glyssa), 5 (Kaycie Lyn), 11 (Gabriela), 20 (Trizha), 21 (Tanya), 22 (Chelsea), 23 (Princess), 27 (Ella)

BUBBLING UNDER:  8 (Nikki), 12 (KC), 13 (Kathryn), 14 (Cristina), 24 (Zara), 33 (Noelle)

The Miss World Philippines title is expected to be a four way battle among Winwyn Marquez, Laura Lehmann, Janela Cuaton, and Cynthia Thomalla.  Each of these ladies have compelling qualities worthy of winning the plum prize, and it looks like it will be a nail-biting fight to the finish.  It’s a good thing there are three other titles now at stake so there is at least a consolation that the other three would at least get to compete internationally, albeit with “lesser” titles.

The four likeliest (L-R, top to bottom): Winwyn Marquez, Laura Lehmann, Janela Cuaton, Cynthia Thomalla (images courtesy of Edmund Chua for OPMB Worldwide)

The reigning Miss World, Puerto Rico’s Stephanie del Valle, and her continental queens, along with Miss World president Julia Morley, are present to attend the coronation night.  I actually welcome their presence though I notice the Filipino netizens still hurling virtual vitriol at their presence.  As much as I join in the sentiment about Catriona’s outcome last December, this kind of conduct is uncalled for.  I know it’s bittersweet for many fans to see these people in our shores, but I still have faith in the possibility that things will swing again in our favor and win our second Miss World crown.  Anyway I’m looking forward to what promises to be an exciting edition of Miss World Philippines.



Miss World, her continental queens and Julia Morley, from L-R: Miss World – Asia Natasha Mannuella (Indonesia), Miss World – Caribbean Yaritza Reyes (Dominican Republic), Miss World 2016 Stephanie del Valle, Julia Morley, Miss World – Oceania Madeline Cowe (Australia), Miss World – Europe Letty Frans (Belgium), and Miss World – Americas Audra Mari (United States) (Image courtesy of Noli Berioso for OPMB Worldwide)
Presenting the new Miss World Philippines crown: MWPO COO Mark Bessie Besana, MWPO National Director Arnold Vegafria, Miss World 2013 Megan Young, Miss World Philippines 2012 Quenerich Rehman, Miss World Philippines 2014 Valerie Weigmann, and Miss World Philippines 2015 Hilarie Parungao (image courtesy of





CANDIDATE 13:  Kathryn Jade Cudiamat.  For many Filipinos, her girl-next-door mestiza features are highly appealing.  Will that be enough for her to advance to the Top 15?  Rating: 8.

CANDIDATE 14:  Cristina Marie Coloma.  She’s actually a great looking native lady who deserves more notice than what she’s getting right now.  Rating:  8.

CANDIDATE 15:  Laura Lehmann.  This Bb. Pilipinas 2014 1st runner-up was deemed by most pageant fans and pundits as perhaps the one to beat.  But it seems as the activities wore on her status as the “chosen one” is less assured as it seems, as she figured in only two challenge events, Multimedia and Top Model.  But no one can discount her highly regarded gift of gab, which bodes well with the crucial interview rounds.  I’m still betting on her to win, though there are a few more great choices closely nipping at her heels–unlike in previous editions where there is one clear winner, this is looking like a toss-up among four major contenders.  Rating:  9.5.

CANDIDATE 16:  Ethel Abellanosa.  Her native features may appeal for those who have more exotic tastes, though most Filipino fans are fixated towards fairer types.  She made the Sports shortlists.  Would that be enough for her to advance?  Rating:  8.

CANDIDATE 17:  Jellie Alliana Escandon.  She is mestiza but well, there are some harsh angles and some might quibble about her gap teeth.  She looked her best at the Zalora fashion show thus far.  She also has a great human interest angle as she’s a vitiligo sufferer and considering she’s raised overseas, and the high premium we tend to put towards strong English skills, those could be her tickets to advance.  Rating: 7.5.

CANDIDATE 18:  Christine Angel Alvaira.  Her figure is on the skinny side, but at least her key edge is that she’s one of the tallest in this year’s batch at 5’10”.  With a little more polish she can go far, but at this point… Rating: 7.5.

CANDIDATE 19:  Joanna Marie Rabe.  She is actually good looking, but not quite delivering on charisma at this point.  At least she made the Sports shortlist.  Rating: 8.

CANDIDATE 20:  Trizha Ocampo.  Her features remind me of a major titleholder–Miss Universe Philippines 2014 MJ Lastimosa.  I was wondering why there isn’t an intense hype machine for this lady like the famously devoted fans that MJ has?  But then again, considering she figured in Multimedia, she probably also has a strong fanbase.  Rating: 8.5.

Miss Universe Philippines 2014 MJ Lastimosa (courtesy of Miss Universe Organization)

CANDIDATE 21:  Netania Deveza.  She’s the joint tallest candidate in this year’s group at 5’10” with Christine Alvaira.  She facially may not be the cup of tea of many, but many pageant fans and pundits take notice about her lean, trim model’s figure.  Hard to believe she’s only 17 years old.  She has strong potential for future modeling and/or pageant forays.  Rating:  8.5.

CANDIDATE 22:  Chelsea Anne Manalo.  She is the darkest complexioned lady in the batch as she’s the daughter of an African-American father.  There are some angles that made me imagine a black version of Megan Young and if she totally sparkles, she can usurp the front-runners out there.  That dark complexion was also her ticket to make the short list in Top Model.  I’m rooting for her to advance–time for Filipinos to realize that beauty can come with dark skin.   Rating: 9.

CANDIDATE 23:  Princess Laureano.  She has a nice regal name.  and like so many in this group, she has great potential to make major splashes in future national pageants.  If she plays her cards right, she could be a sleeper possibility for the semifinals.  Rating: 8.5.

CANDIDATE 24:  Zara Carbonell.  She’s gotten press ink for being the daughter of actor Cris Villanueva and model Zhara Carbonell.  She tried her luck at Miss Philippines – Earth seven years ago and didn’t make the cut.  Though she receives heavy hype, I don’t really quite get her looks, and her ticket to advance to the semifinals may lie on her gab and personality.  Would that be enough for her to make it?  Rating:  8.

Swimsuit Press Presentation images courtesy of Joy Arguil for, all others courtesy of Miss World Philippines Organization unless otherwise indicated.