It’s that time of the year again when beautiful ladies from around the country compete at the most prestigious beauty pageant: the Bb Pilipinas.
This year, 40 ladies took the challenge to keep the country’s winning streak going in international pageants, following Pia Alozo Wurtzbach’s victory in Miss Universe 2016. From this group of ladies, here are the 15 girls who I think have the best chances at making it.
15 | Apriel Smith
I have to be honest: I’m not a fan of this girl. But her performance during the Fashion Show and National Costume presentation is enough to convince me that thus Cebuana deserves a spot in the semifinals. Apriel just needs to fins the perfect look to beat them front-runners.
14 | Jezha Huelar
So young yet so strikingly beautiful are the best phrases to describe Jehza. This Davaoena is also one of the underrated ladies in the competition. While she may be a newbie in the national pageant scene, she doesn’t get overshadowed by her experienced counterparts.
13 | Paula Rich Bartolome
Paula is undeniably pretty, but was forgettable during her first attempt in BBP. But this time, she made sure she will be remembered. We are now seeing a better version of her with her nice body, classier styiling and polished walk. And her hardwork has already paid off: she’s on of the Best in National Costume finalists.
12 | Joanna Eden
One of my sentimental favorites this year is the lovely Joanna, who is taking up International Studies at DLSU. Her fresh face is her greatest strength and I think we have a potential international titleholder in her. However, it seems she’s still raw for Bb Pilipinas at 19 years old. I would love to see her back in two to three years time more mature and prepared. I see her more as a Miss World prototype and knowing that she can play the flute and the saxphone makes me think she could be the next Megan Young.
11 | Maria Lina Prongoso
At first I thought she was just pure hype. Her face was just okay, nothing really exciting. But when I saw her during the Fashion Show, she reminded me of one of my favorite Miss Universe titleholders, Maria Gabriela Isler of Venezuela. Maria Lina is one classy lady that manages to standout without the need to overdo her actions. Watch out because this beauty from Iriga City could be a potential spoiler.
10 | Jennifer Hammond
Ask me who was the b10 | Jennifer Hammondest girl during the JAG segment of the Fashion Show and I’ll you it’s Jennifer Hammond. It didn’t come as a surprise because she’s a model by profession. Her mesmerizing look and commanding presence deserves to be brought in the international stage. She’s no stranger to pageants, too. She competed in Miss World Philippines in 2013 alongside Megan Young and Janicel Lubina and is the sister of Louvette Hammond Fowler (former Mutya ng Pilipinas-World).
9 | Maria Gigante
Maria has been a hit-and-miss for me. She started really strong but went out of the spotlight. But after seeing her perform in that stunning National Costume, I was convinced Maria is a legit contender in this competition. Don’t count her out just yet because she will deliver her best on stage, where she does the magic.
8 | Dindi Joy Pajares
Dindi, 23, is banking on her previous pageant experiences for a chance to win one of the six crowns at stake. She first joined Miss World Philippines 2011 and Miss Bikini Philippines 2013 before trying her luck in BBP. It isn’t hard for her to stand out given her stunning face and curvaceous body, as proven during the Fashion Show. If she nails the all-important Q&A round, it won’t be surprising to see her win a crown.
7 | Angelica Alita
This 20-year-old chef who hopes to put up her own restaurant one day doesn’t even need a lot of make-up to standout because her charm comes out naturally. Add to that her winsome smile that could light up a room. She was very elegant in her Bessie Besana national costume. With a pretty face to match her sexy body, Angelica definitely has a bright future ahead of her in beauty pageants.
BBP-Grand International: Kylie Verzosa
Kylie is one of the favorites last year because of her facial beauty and modeling experience. That is why it didn’t come as a surprise that she’s one of the most popular candidates on her second try. Without discounting the fact that she’s a formidable contender, Kylie seems to have reached a saturation point. It seems we’ve already seen all of her. I hope I’m wrong because this face deserves to be seen in the a grander, international arena.
BBP-Globe: Angela Lauren Fernando
One of the most underrated candidates this year is 24-year-old Angela from Lubao, Pampanga. She might not be the tallest or the most popular, but it’s interesting to note that she was Miss Philippines Earth Eco Tourism 2010. Six years after, Angela came back to the pageant world with a better body and an impressive academic record, too (she graduated with a medicine degree from UST). Her inclusion in the Top 6 Best in National Costume is a clear indication that she shouldn’t be ignored in the competition.
BBP-Intercontinental: Angelique Celine De Leon
She was a diamond in the rough back in 2014 and it seemed her non-inclusion in that edition’s set of semifinalists inspired her to unleash the better version of herself. Angelique came back this year stronger than ever, and with a legion of supporters behind her, she is set to claim what is rightfully hers: a Bb Pilipinas crown. She is one of this year’s runway divas so for sure, she will breeze through the competition. I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again: bring this girl to the Q&A round and she could easily win a crown.
BBP-Supranational: Nichole Marie Manalo
Many fans underestimated this girl, but Nichole is determined to prove them all wrong. After going home empty-handed in 2014, the sister of Katherine Manalo (Bb Pilipinas-World 2002) and Pamela Bianca Manalo (Bb Pilipinas-Universe 2009) came back this year with her guns fully loaded. The glowing skin, well-shaped body and killer runway skills are still there. But look at how she has transformed from head to toe. Nichole screams winner from every angle. And while I’m still not sold on her communication skills (I’m a sucker for girls with the gift of gab), I’m putting her in Supranational.
BBP-International: Maria Mika Maxine Medina
This girl is peaking at the right time, and who knows she might be the coronation night’s biggest surprise. Avid pageant fans like me have long waited for Maxine to join BBP and Maxine didn’t disappoint now that it finally happened. Her modeling experience worked to her advantage as she was among the best girls during the Fashion Show. But what sets her apart from the others is how she manages to exude sophistication. She could wear a bikini and still look classy! And this trait, for me, is what makes her suitable in Miss International.
Miss Universe Philippines: Nicole Cordoves
The first time I saw Nicole’s photo during the screening, I knew she has “it”. Despite the strong start, Nicole wasn’t spared from criticisms. Her styling during the first few appearances was off. She looked raw and unprepared. Her press presentation styling wasn’t the best. But Nicole managed to find her style. She managed to look fierce during the Fashion Show and was exuding so much elegance in her gorgeous Mak Tumang terno. But the ultimate deal breaker was the Parade of Beauties where Nicole managed to standout by showing her bubbly personality. This girl could do real damage in the Q&A round with her articulateness. We’re gunning for a back-to-back in Miss Universe and we don’t just need a pretty face, we should also be represented by someone who could be a good spokesperson and the well-educated Nicole is the one! Pageant Focus by Haraya