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!




BINIBINING 31:  SAN PABLO, LAGUNA – Danielle Dolk.  Her features are what I would classify as unconventionally beautiful.  It’s interesting to see her fair complexion in contrast to her very native features.  But I don’t know if that’s the sort of exoticism that would appeal to international tastes.  U – 7; I – 6; S – 7; IC – 7; GI – 7; G – 7.

BINIBINING 32:  TARLAC – Mary Faye Murphy.  She’s a polished mestiza type who proves to be a strong communicator as exhibited in her free speak on “cursing” where she covered contexts on when this could be allowed (generally based on intention and the company you keep).  Looks like a possible inside track to the Top 15 and beyond.  U – 8.5; I – 8.5; S – 8;  IC – 8.5; GI – 8.5; G – 8.5.

BINIBINING 33:  PUERTO PRINCESA – Jessarie Dumaguing.  She reminds me of PASIG (Aya Abesamis), but with rising buzz as besides striking a charismatic vibe with her Asian features, she proves to be well-spoken and nearly eloquent that many are buzzing she can make a play for the winners’ circle.  U – 9; I – 8; S – 9; IC – 9; GI – 8.5; G – 9.

BINIBINING 34:  BATANGAS – Alanis Binoya.  She has highly appealing native features, but would her looks be enough for her to advance as she was a bit disorganized in the free speak round.  U – 7; I – 7; S – 8; IC – 8; GI – 7.5; G – 8.

BINIBINING 35:  LA UNION – Kimberle Mae Penchon.  Yes, she made the Top 15 three years ago but judging from her free speak and overall impression it’s going to be an uphill battle for her to equal that feat.  U – 7.5; I – 7; S – 7.5; IC – 7.5; GI – 7.5; G – 7.5.

BINIBINING 36:  LIBON, ALBAY – Francia Layderos.  Like BATANGAS she has that strong native appeal.  Now, I’m torn by her off-tangent take on the topic “End Times” as she associated it with a moment where one has to make a stand on something like in a situation of sexual “harashment [sic[“, nothing at all associated with the Apocalypse.  I don’t know if it’s her lack of comprehension of what “end times” actually meant hence we have such a bizarre, off-tangent answer.  There might be some judges who might let her get away with it, but I won’t.  U – 7.5; I – 7.5; S – 8.5; IC – 8; GI – 7.5; G – 8.

BINIBINING 37:  CAVITE – Samantha Poblete.  She’s proven to be a solid contender, so even if she is not highly buzzed, a Top 25 finish remains conceivable.  U – 7.5; I – 7; S – 7; IC – 7.5; GI – 7; G – 7.

BINIBINING 38:  NEGROS OCCIDENTAL – Vickie Marie Rushton.  She was 1st runner-up last year, and now she’s making a play for one of the titles, and based on special awards received, she seems on-track to garner one of them.  Though I was more impressed with CATANDUANES’ take on “Darna”, Vickie also delivered a well-composed take on the topic.  U – 9; I – 9; S – 9; IC – 9; GI – 9; G – 9.

BINIBINING 39:  CARAGA – Dia Nicole Magno.  For me, she’s the winner of this year’s “BB Sweepstakes”.  But besides those very prominent assets, she’s otherwise raw and in the distant likelihood that she gets sent to Miss Grand International, she’ll get a severe tongue lashing from Nawat.  U – 6; I – 6; S – 6.5; IC – 6.5; GI – 5.5; G – 6.5.

BINIBINING 40:  CALOOCAN CITY – Joanna Tolledo.  She has appealing native features and is a great representative for the duskier set. She’s also a solid communicator so it looks like she can make a serious play for the Top 25 and possibly even beyond.  U – 8; I – 7.5; S – 8.5; IC – 8.5; GI – 7.5; G – 8.5.

Now that I have assessed the 40 candidates, here is my “Fearful” Forecast:







It’s actually a tough call on who will clinch the winners’ circle.  It’s going to be a tall order for whoever would clinch the titles so all of them I would say, Best of Luck!




BINIBINING 21:  ISABELA – Pauline Anne Cordero Barker.  Her only main advantage is her height, as she’s the tallest of this year’s batch at 6’0″.  Otherwise, her facial features are of an angular sort, and she was a hot mess in the free speak round when discussing water shortage–what does her “clean water” advocacy have to do with addressing water shortage?  She unfortunately was unable to organize her thoughts to relate them.  U – 6.5; I – 6.5; S – 6; IC – 7; GI – 7; G – 6.5.

BINIBINING 22:  ZAMBOANGA – April Short.  Despite her surname, she’s one of the tallest candidates at 5’11”.  She has good looks and a polished presence, but she didn’t nail her free speak on “Press Freedom” as she wasn’t able to connect the concept of free expression with press freedom.  U – 8; I – 8; S – 9; IC – 8.5; GI – 8; G – 9.

BINIBINING 23:  QUEZON CITY – Larah Grace Lacap.  She previously made the Top 15 two years ago in this pageant, along with a 2nd runner-up finish at Mutya ng Pilipinas seven years ago.  Repeating her previous showing in this pageant is far from assured but she’s a solid performer who at least is a Top 25 shoo-in.  U – 7.5; I – 7.5; S – 7.5; IC – 8; GI – 8; G – 7.5.

BINIBINING 24:  ILOCOS SUR – Jean Nicole Guerrero.  Sure, she has good English diction, but that still does not excuse her for her disastrous free speak segment, where she attempted to associate the battle between “Couture vs RTW” with environmental issues.  She’s obviously raw, so prospects for her making the Top 25 is distant.  U – 6; I – 6; S – 7; IC – 6.5; GI – 6; G – 7.

BINIBINING 25:  CEBU – Samantha Lo.  Many are buzzing that she could be one of the possible title usurpers as even if others exude more charisma, she can keep up with the best of them, and is reportedly aces in interview, as displayed with her well-composed free speak on the topic of “social media”.  U – 9.5; I – 9.5; S – 9; IC – 9; GI – 9.5; G – 9.

BINIBINING 26:  PAMPANGA – Emma Mary Tiglao.  She reminds me a lot of Bb. Pilipinas – World 2009 Marie Ann Umali especially with her highly prized mestiza features that are highly prized in these circles.  She seems poised to improve on her Top 15 showing in this pageant five years ago as she can make for a play in the winners’ circle.  U – 9; I – 9.5; S – 9; IC – 9.5; GI – 9.5; G – 9.

BINIBINING 27:  PALAWAN – Samantha Mae Bernardo.  She made the winners’ circle last year placing 2nd runner-up.  Can she clinch a title this time?  I’m not that crazy about her looks though I respect her very polished presence.  It’s also interesting how she tackled the topic of “political dynasty” in the free speech round as she took a pro stance on this–in her province’s case, the province as a whole benefited from a dynasty running their province hence you understand her stance.  It does make her intriguing and interesting.  U – 9; I – 9; S – 8.5; IC – 9; GI – 9; G – 9.

BINIBINING 28:  BULACAN – Rubee Marie Faustino.  She’s a good-looking girl-next-door type who can make a play for the Top 15.  U – 8; i – 8; S – 8; IC – 8; GI – 8; G – 8.

BINIBINING 29:  BACOLOD CITY – Cassandra Chan.  Being shortlisted in National Costume and her strong communication skills (as exhibited on how she was able to fluidly associate the term “photoshop” with women’s self-image and self-esteem) seems to indicate she can make a serious play for the Top 15.  Her very Chinese features are not really my cup of tea, but I respect that she’s a strong contender.  U – 8.5; I – 8; S – 8; IC – 8; GI – 8.5; G – 8.

BINIBINING 30:  MAGUINDANAO – Resham Saeed.  She wasn’t one of the big favorites in the early goings of this pageant, but buzz seems to be rising about her, especially since she’s shortlisted in National Costume and the strong impression she made in the free speak round when she expounded on “moving on” and talked about timing and how to accept when things don’t go your way.  There are angles about her that stun me and she casts this exotic spell, and as long as she works those angles, I feel she can make a play for the winners’ circle.  U – 9; I – 9; S – 9; IC – 9.5; GI – 9; G – 9.5.