How true? Aiza Faeldonia, Carla Lizardo ‘called back’; Sherlien Dass, Diane Querrer OUT?

From left: Carla Lizardo, Aiza Faeldonia, Diane Querrer, Sherlien Dass. Photos from OPMB and Bb Pilipinas FB pages
From left: Carla Lizardo, Aiza Faeldonia, Diane Querrer, Sherlien Dass. Photos from OPMB and Bb Pilipinas FB pages

In a tweet earlier this evening, Aces and Queens’ Jonas Gaffud tweeted thatR-L’s Aiza Faeldonia and A&Q’s Carla Lizardo,  two applicants for Bb Pilipinas 2014 who failed to make it in the official list of candidates, were “called back” by BPCI.

Meanwhile in a thread on Missosology, a forumer posted that the two girls will be replacing Sherlien Dass and Diane Querrer as official candidates. Reason for their alleged disqualification or replacement has not been stated, but according to rumors, the two didn’t meet the minimum height requirement of 5’5″.

The Bb Pilipinas Charities Inc has yet to release an official statement regarding this matter as of press time.

Bb Pilipinas 2014 ‘super’ final screening on Saturday — or worse Monday

2010 Miss Universe 4th Runner-up Venus Raj takes a selfie with the 2014 Bb. Pilipinas hopefuls at Gloria Maris Banquet Hall, Gateway Mall.  Photo from Bb Pilipinas Official Facebook page
2010 Miss Universe 4th Runner-up Venus Raj takes a selfie with the 2014 Bb. Pilipinas hopefuls at Gloria Maris Banquet Hall, Gateway Mall. Photo from Bb Pilipinas Official Facebook page

It’s Saturday (January 25) or Monday (January 27) for the announcement of the lucky 30 (or 40) girls who will vie for the Binibining Pilipinas crowns.

The official candidates were supposed to be named yesterday, January 23, but the screening committee reportedly decided to postpone the announcement to give time to several girls to complete their requirements.

In the first place, the BCPI should not have accepted incomplete requirements. The deadline for submission has been extended (from Dec 30 to Jan 15) so that must’ve been long enough for the girls to complete their documents. Second, the BPCI should have also scrutinized the applications first before starting with the screenings.

But as pageant fans, we have no other choice but to wait for that “final” final screening and the announcement of the official candidates. After all, it is better to have a slow but sure process, instead of disqualifying (or worse, dethroning) a girl for any problems with her documents.

BEST BETS: My Final Choices for Binibining Pilipinas Gold



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Writer’s note: This prediction article also appeared on Click here.

It’s that time of the year again when the most beautiful women in the country battle it out in the annual Binibining Pilipinas.

The tilt gets even more interesting this year as the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc marks its 50th year. The race to the crown has become tougher and tighter with the election of 50 official candidates. Aside from this, the pressure is more intense this year following Janine Tugonon’s bridesmaid finish in Miss Universe last December.

With three consecutive runner-up finishes in Miss Universe (Venus Raj, 2010; Shamcey Supsup, 2011; and Tugonon, 2012) and five straight semi-finals placements in Miss International (Patricia Fernandez, 2008; the late Melody Gersbach, 2009; Krista Kleiner, 2010; Dianne Necio, 2011; and Nicole Schmitz, 2012), the eventual winners of the Binibining Pilipinas’ golden edition faces a huge challenge: keep the momentum going for the Philippines in the international pageant scene.

Who among this year’s candidates deserve to wear the Philippine sash in Miss Universe, Miss International, Miss Supranational and Miss Tourism Queen International? Here’s a list of who will likely emerge victorious on April 14.


15 Pujanes
15th: Mary Rose Pujanes (Binibini 15)
She may not be a favorite, but 20-year-old Rose has the pageant experience to prove her worth. Who would have though she used to be a shy girl prior to joining pageants? At 5’7.5″, Rose walks with so much confidence on stage. Her swag just sets the stage ablaze.

14 Respicio
14th: Merry Joyce Respicio (Binibini 25)
She’s got the height (5’11”) and the modeling advantage, gracing the runways of Philippine Fashion Week and Metro Wear. Not the best in the beauty department, but 18-year-old Merry knows how to work her angles. She already has the goods, but she needs to improve on her communication skills; her interview during the BBP Primer wasn’t impressive.

13 Apuad
13th: Grace Yann Apuad (Binibini 34)
This pretty face has already proven her mettle at an early age when she bagged the Most Photogenic award in Ford Supermodel of the World Philippines. Standing at 5’9″, it isn’t hard for Shan to get noticed. However, she seems to be playing it safe with her subdued performance during the press presentation. She needs to work on her stage presence come finals if she wants boost her chances.

12 Sison
12th: Hannah Ruth Sison (Binibini 19)
The Pastor’s daughter has one of the best smiles among the ladies. Ironically, 24-year-old Hannah got really noticed for her official glamour shot where she exuded so must fierceness. Her sophisticated look makes her all the more lovable. This Isabelle Daza dead-ringer’s regal stance, slender legs and curvaceous body, not to mention her excellent communication skills, make her an obvious contender.

11 Raquel
11th: Mercegrace Raquel (Binibini 28)
Merce, 19, is banking on her morena beauty for a shot at a crown. Her impressive academic background and towering height give her better chances. But her biggest weapon would have to be her fluid catwalk skills, which is surprisingly one of the best in the batch. She has a Theresa Licaros (BBP-Universe 2007) vibe in her  beauty with brains. She’s prepared and is definitely within the radar.

10 Rabajante
10th: Ria Rabajante (Binibini 1)
As candidate number 1, Ria sure knows how to set the bar high. She was a revelation during the press presentation: her catwalk commands attention, her smile so winsome and her face just oozes with so much charisma. Pageant fans call her a cross-breed of Miriam Quiambao (BBP-Universe 1999) and Tetchie Agbayani (BBP 1978 semi-finalist). But this dusky lady impressed them with her gift of gab. At 21-year-old, she talks with so much depth. Watch out, this girl is a potential spoiler come Q&A.

09 Naidas
9th: Cassandra Naidas (Binibini 24)
Simple yet head-turning is the best way to describe this 5’10″ half-Korean beauty. She was absolutely stunning in that black terno, but needs to tone her body more because she looks too skinny. This girl is no bimbo – she made sure she earned her Psychology degree before joining the pageant. Overall, this girl is ready to compete internationally. Miss Supranational, perhaps?

08 Miranda
8th: Joanna Cindy Miranda (Binibini 16)
This 22 year-old Tourism cum laude graduate from UST has one of the freshest faces, not to say the healthiest bodies, too. She gave up her hosting stint at TV5’s Wil Time, Big Time to chase her dream of becoming a beauty queen. Despite the TV experience, Cindy seems a bit reserved. If this is a strategy, it’s not effective. Despite this, this girl’s face can easily light up a dark room. For that alone she deserves a spot.

07 Wurtzbach
7th: Pia Wurtzbach (Binibini 15)
With a stunning face to match her voluptuous body and 5’7.5″ stature, Pia definitely has a “front-runner” minted on her status. She doesn’t even need a lot of make up to stand out – her tantalizing eyes do all the talking. She made a solid impact when she worked her shiny gold terno with so much grace and sophistication during the press presentation. She could easily bag the BBP-International, given that the Philippines usually sends half-breed Filipinas there (Gersbach, Kleiner and most recently Schmitz). Her beautiful face sometimes appears too strong, so she needs to work on softening her features.

06 Shah
6th: Parul Shah (Binibini 33)
Not to be forgotten, this Wilma Doesnt dead-ringer literally owned the fashion show with her commanding presence. Parul may not be very photogenic but her stage motion is unparalleled. She may not have the most beautiful face but she has a big smile to warm people’s hearts. This half-Indian beauty’s well-toned body accentuated by her sun-kissed skin and vivacious personality sets her apart from the rest. Parul is X-factor personified.

05 Arida
First runner-up: Ariella Arida (Binibini 41)
She’s gaining strength as the pageant progresses, and who knows, she might become the coronation night’s biggest surprise. This Chemistry graduate from UP Los Baños is an experienced ramp model. She went home empty-handed in last year’s Miss Philippines Earth. It was understandable because she was out of shape back then. But when she appeared during the press presentation, she showed off the result of her patience and determination: a sexy wnd fit body. She also has a stunning faces. Her fierce and feisty look make her stand out. With very expressive eyes and delectable lips, shes too good for a runner-up finish or so it won’t be a surprise if Ariella snatches the top plum.

04 Santiago
Binibining Pilipinas – Supranational: Bea Rose Santiago (Binibini 20)
Her beauty resembles that of Amelia Vega (Miss Universe 2003), but with an Asian flavor. She has the most refined walk. Her sophisticated body movements made her stick out among the rest during the press presentation. She was crowned Mutya ng Pilipinas Overseas Communities last year and went on to place in Miss Tourism Queen International of the Year. This experience could help her ace the competition. But she could do real damage in the all-important Q&A round with her excellent communication skillsg. Her glamorous beauty and model-ish stature at 5’9″ perfectly fits the Supranational prototype.

03 Elima
Binibining Pilipinas – Tourism: Charmaine Elima (Binibini 13)
By merely observing her actions, you’ll know that Charmaine knows what she is doing and has mastered it well. Among all the candidates, this 20-year-old lady is most ready to conquer the international pageant scene. Her fierce looks, wide smile, and well-toned body make her a shoo in for any contest out there. Local pageants have become Charmaine’s playground and winning the Miss Rizal and Miss Mandaluyong crowns seems to be working much to her advantage. She’s among the most talked about delegates because of her Asian-Latina features (South American beauties traditionally dominate pageants). However, she sometimes look too pageant patty to the point that even her answers to interview questions don’t appear natural. She needs to work on that. Despite this, Maine remains a strong contender for a title. You’ll love to see that gorgeous face promoting Philippine tourism.

02 De Leon
Binibining Pilipinas – International: Maria Angelica De Leon (Binibini 31)
She is the most talked about delegate, mainly because she is the daughter of actors Christopher De Leon and Sandy Andolong. At 19 years old, Mariel seems too raw for pageants. Her body isn’t on top form, her styling a hit and miss. She may not be the most facially beautiful, but proper styling could work wonders for her. Pageant followers heard it through the grapevine that this girl is most favored to win a title. And having the most exposure during the fashion show seems a confirmation. She didn’t disappoint, however, because she sashayed grace and class on the runway. She has the breeding and the doll-like features that recent Miss International winners possess. She can do opera singing for the talent competition. Lastly, she exudes sincerity when she talks – something a candidate needs to win the judges’ nod. If she’s indeed the “anointed one”, the International crown fits her well.

01 Datul
Miss Universe Philippines 2013: Mutya Johanna Datul (Binibini 39)
People might mistake her for Aphrodite, because every encounter with Mutya is an encounter with inimitable beauty and charm. Right from the start, this girl has been considered as a front-runner. Compared to her stint in Mutya ng Pilipinas last year, this 20-year-old lady looks fresher and more polished now. Her body is more curvaceous, not to mention her well-toned legs that give her the svelte look. She has the effortless charm that could warm anyone’s hearts. But her best weapon is her winning smile. However many doubt her chances because she’s not that fluent in English. But in a web interview, she said she’s open to using an interpreter if ever she gets the chance to compete internationally. It must be remembered that Venezuela gained its powerhouse status in the world of pageantry not because its delegates are well-versed in English (most of them actually used interpreters), but because they are stunningly beautiful. It’s about time the Philippines reconsider this. After all, not all Miss Universe winners are fluent in English. Aside from this, Mutya perfectly fits the mold of recent Miss Universe winners: the sweet chick aura. It would be a crime to waste this beauty.

Photos from Binibining Pilipinas Facebook page. Graphics by Drew.

UST celebrates Janine Tugonon’s feat

Imbued with undending grace. Janine Tugonon returns to UST.(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Imbued with undending grace. Janine Tugonon returns to UST.
(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)

Earlier today, I was going gaga on Twitter and Facebook to check for updates about Miss Universe 2012 first runner-up Janine Tugonon’s grand motorcade, which includes a homecoming in her (our) alma mater, the University of Santo Tomas I would’ve wanted to drop by UST to witness that momentous celebration, but the photos I found line were enough to feed my excitement. I also shared them to fellow pageant fans.

“The celebration started with a motorcade around the campus, where she was warmly welcomed by students, faculty members, and administrators, followed by an awarding of a plaque of recognition and a lunch reception,” reports The Varsitarian, UST’s official student publication.

Janine earned her degree in Pharmacy, cum laude, from UST in 2010. She was crowned as Ideal Female Thomasian Personality (Miss UST) in 2010.

Here are some photos from The Varsitarian’s official Facebook page:

Janine's float enters UST Espana gate, welcomed by students at the Arch of the Centuries.(Photo by Jaime T. Campos)
Janine’s float enters UST Espana gate, welcomed by students at the Arch of the Centuries.
(Photo by Jaime T. Campos)
Students from the College of Commerce take a break from their classes to see Janine.(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Students from the College of Commerce take a break from their classes to see Janine.
(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
All smiles and gladly waves for the Thomasian crowd.(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
All smiles and gladly waves for the Thomasian crowd.
(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Radiant on the red carpet before the start of the program at the Plaza Mayor.(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Radiant on the red carpet before the program at the Plaza Mayor.
(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Fr Herminio Dagohoy presents a plaque of appreciation to Janine.(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Fr Herminio Dagohoy presents a plaque of appreciation to Janine.
(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Janine gamely answers questions from the press.(Photo by Sherwin Marion T. Vardeleon)
Janine gamely answers questions from the press.
(Photo by Jaime T. Campos)

“Ms. Janine Tugonon’s impressive performance in an international competition proves that Thomasians truly excel in almost every field, and more importantly, she has become a positive role model to many young people because she exemplifies determination, hard work, beauty, and intelligence.”

– UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P.

Pageant enthusiasm

The Big Four winners of 2012 (Graphics by Drew)
The Big Four winners of 2012 (Graphics by Drew)

“Mention something about you that would surprise people.”

Without batting an eye, I said, “I’m a beauty pageant enthusiast.” The HR officer almost dropped his cup of coffee. The two other newbies were grinning. “Let’s just say I have an eye for beauty.”

* * *

I can still vividly remember watching the telecast of Miss Universe 1999. The show was very festive, and I almost jumped off my seat when Philippines was called in the top 10. Miriam Quiambao almost made it, but she lost to Botswana’s Mpule Kwelagobe. But the most memorable moment was when Miriam tripped in her sky blue Halston evening gown during the preliminaries. She tripped her way to people’s hearts. Until now, she remains the best Filipina delegate in Miss Universe for me.

* * *

I never missed a telecast of Miss Universe since 2007. It was heartbreaking to see the Philippines missing the cut until 2009. So it was totally expected that Filipinos would go crazy over Venus Raj’s top 5 finish in 2010. Of all the editions I’ve seen, 2010 remains the best in terms production value.

* * *

My fondness for beauty pageants led me to Missosology, a forum dedicated to pageants. There, I interact with people from all over the globe who share the same passion. I regularly write threads about pageants and post them there. My dedication finally paid off last month when I was promoted to Pageant Expert status.

* * *

To be honest, I was never a fan of Venus, Shamcey Suspsup and Janine Tugonon. Venus’ beauty isn’t my cup of tea. Shamcey was a diamond in the rough when she was crowned. Janine’s body was in bad shape when she rejoined Binibini this year. But what sets them apart from the rest is their determination to succeed. Venus fought for her crown against all odds. Shamcey worked hard to improve her styling. Janine hit the gym almost everyday to achieve her pageant ready body. That’s more commendable than having a flawless face.

* * *

The first time I saw Janine was when she was crowned as Miss UST in 2010. Back then, she wasn’t my favorite, but she caught my heart because of her good answer to the final question. When she joined Binibini in 2011, I was among the minority who believed she has the goods to make it. Many thought she was too raw and ordinary, but I was right when she made it to the top 15and even ended up as 1st runner-up. I had second thoughts, though, when she decided to rejoin last year. Her body was obviously a disaster. However, I can’t deny that her styling had improved. Although I was rooting for MJ Lastimosa, I had Janine as my alternate for the crown. She was heavily bashed, but it seemed the bashing served as her inspiration to succeed. Look at her now. She’s just classy.

* * *

I can’t give a concrete reason as to why I fancy beauty pageants. I like the thrill of predicting the outcomes, analyzing each girl’s potential and defending the relevance of pageants at this day and age. But one thing’s for sure, I appreciate a real beauty when I see one.