Binibining Pilipinas Gold has finally kicked off. Despite the fact that this season marks the 50th year of the most prestigious pageant in the country, some consider the season as lackluster. I slightly agree, but we still have a month to go. For sure, a lot are in store for both the candidates and the pageant aficionados.
Also, we can’t deny that we have a bunch of equally beautiful and deserving ladies. Until now, I still can’t pick my bets for the Universe, International, Tourism and Supranational (not sure though if they will give this title this year or the runner-up will be sent in Belarus) titles. This is an initial list of 15 ladies who I think can keep the flame alive for the Philippines this year.
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Imelda Schweighart (Binibini 45) She is a Sandra Seifert dead-ringer, but I can’t deny her charm and youthful presence. I love her body, too. I’d love to see her up there, but at 17 she’s too raw for international pageants for me.
Grace Yann Apuad (Binibini 34) She has the Diana Arevalo look that I love so much – mature and sultry beauty. She has the height (5’8 1/2″) and the experience as a Supermodel of the Philippines finalist to her advantage. But based on what I’ve seen so far, she is a hit-and-miss when it comes to styling.
Anna Fernandina Buquid (Binibini 26) I’m no fan of this towering beauty, but I can’t deny she is very classy. Just one look and you’ll know she has breeding . She has a decent walk that can be improved. I like that she can wear light make-up and still look beautiful.
Merry Joyce Respicio (Binibini 25) One of the underrated beauties is the reigning Mutya ng Bulacan. Very Pinay beauty, this girl is a diamond in the rough. Height (5’11″) is her greatest advantage. While she may be a neophyte in national pageants, I personally consider her a dark horse.
Bea Rose Santiago (Binibini 20) She was crowned Mutya ng Pilipinas Overseas Communities last year and went on to place in Miss Tourism Queen International of the Year. An experienced model and contestant, she could surely give them newcomers a run for their money. She sometimes gives off a milf-y vibe, but one can’t deny how classy she is.
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Cassandra Naidas (Binibini 24) From the start, I have always been impressed by how simple yet head-turning this 5’10” half-Korean beauty is. I’m on the fence, however, if she should be sent to Miss Universe since East Asian beauties are usually not that appreciated in that arena. But I’d love to see this girl compete internationally. Miss Supranational, perhaps?
Zandra Flores (Binibini 3) She was robbed of a placement in Miss Philippines Earth 2012, where she represented Manaoag (Pangasinan). Her regal bearing and impressive academic background (went to University of Bradford in England) really suits the BBP mold. Very Filipina features, but surely with the brains, this girl won’t get ignored. And she has a good body, too.
Ariella Arida (Binibini 41) This Chemistry graduate from UP Los Baños is an experienced ramp model. She went home empty-handed in last year’s Miss Philippines Earth last year, where she represented Alaminos, Laguna. She has one of the most stunning faces in the batch. But what I love most is her eyes – very expressive. If given the proper styling, she could really stand out.
Ria Rabajante (Binibini 1) When I first saw her, I said: “Miriam Quiambao?” I’m not going gaga over her but I can’t ignore that exotic, fierce face. She’s definitely one of the strongest girls in the competition. Being the Binibini number 1 has its advantage: Ria could set the bar high for the competition.
Theresa Fenger (Binibini 35) I’m so in love with this 24 year-old Filipina-German beauty. She was Century Tuna Superbods winner years ago, which speaks a lot about her attitude toward fitness. She was a finalist in Canadian Idol in 2006, which says a lot about her talent. Her face registers a bit stronger, maybe due to her German blood. I want to see more from her, and I’m considering her for the International title. If she won’t penetrate the top 5, I hope she’ll try out for Miss World Philippines.
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Mutya Johanna Datul (Binibini 39) At first, I really didn’t get the hype over Mutya. Initial photos didn’t impress me. But I find her winsome smile very captivating and so I researched more about this girl until I found that photo where she was wearing a black swimsuit. I love her stature. She has well-toned legs. Very fresh face that resembles Maricely Gonzalez of Panama: angelic! If given the right training, I definitely believe Mutya could be transformed into an Irene Esser. Bubbly personality, with a body to die for and a megawatt smile. Never count this girl out.
Ma. Bencelle Bianzon (Binibini 2) My sentimental favorite. She has a very workable beauty – she can do with heavy o light make-up and would still look great. She can sport any hairstyle and still look stunning. She seems polished and has experience in modeling. She may not be that tall, but she has a good face to offset that. She definitely has a bright future ahead of her. This girl can pull an upset come finals.
Joanna Cindy Miranda (Binibini 16) She represented Baguio in Miss Philippines Earth 2008 but was unnoticed. She was runner-up to Janine Tugonon in Miss UST 2010. This 22 year-old Tourism cum laude graduate from UST has one of the freshest faces, not to say the healthiest bodies, too. I’ve seen her during her Miss UST stint and I think she needs to work on her communication skills. Also, she seems a bit timid and shy-type. Despite her TV experience. Will Janine crown her runner-up this year? We’ll see. But I have a feeling this Tomasina might bag one of the crowns.
Charmaine Elima (Binibini 13) The first time I saw her, I thought she could pass as a Miss Venezuela candidate. With Miss Rizal and Miss Mandaluyong titles under her belt, it’s easy to say she’s a legitimate front-runner. Maine is exotic and sexy. And based on the interviews and videos I’ve seen of her, she seems very polished. However, she sometimes look too pageant patty to the point that her answers to interview questions don’t come off as natural. She needs to work on that. Also, she looks older with heavy make-up. She should experiment on making her look fresher and younger. But overall, she is a tough contender.
Pia Wurtzbach (Binibini 15) A Star Magic talent. She began modeling at 11, and began her show biz career at age 12 in 2001. I like her mestiza look, which is very different from the classic Pinay beauty of Janine Tugonon. She is the face of the competition, no doubt! I like that she experiments with her hairstyle – we get to see how she looks in whatever style she sports. I honestly want a mestiza for Universe this year, and Pia is a good choice. But I think she might settle for the International title. For now, I can safely say Pia is a sure top 5 placer.