Maxine Medina is Miss Universe Philippines 2016

Maxine Medina was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2016 during the finals night held Sunday, April 17 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 25-year-old professional model and interior designer will be gunning for a back-to-back win at the 2016 Miss Universe pageant. Medina also bagged the Miss Philippine Airlines special award.

Medina first joined Bb Pilipinas in 2012 but had to back out due to an existing endorsement contract.

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During the Q&A round, she was asked what advice she will give a 15-year-old girl who wants to quit school despite being able to afford it.

She answered: “I would tell the little girl to study hard no matter what their parents would tell them because having an education is something that cannot have that anybody else (sic). Education can make you even a better person. Thank you.

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Kylie Verzosa was crowned Bb Pilipinas International 2016 and will compete at the 2016 Miss International pageant in Tokyo in October. Verzosa also won the Miss Photogenic, Miss Manila Bulletin and the JAG She’s Got the Look award.

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Joanna Eden, who was awarded Best in Swimsuit, bagged the Bb Pilipinas Supranational 2016 crown and will represent the country at the Miss Supranational pageant.

The rest of the winners were: Bb Pilipinas Intercontinental 2016 Jennifer Hammond, Bb Pilipinas Grand International 2016 Nicole Cordoves and Bb Pilipinas Globe 2016 Nichole Manalo. Angelica Alita and Jehza Mae Huelar finished first and second runners-up, respectively.

Hammond won Best in Evening Gown while Manalo was named Miss Creamsilk. Other winners of special awards were: Angela Lauren Fernando (Best in National Costume), and Vina Openiano (Best in Talent and Miss Friendship).

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The rest of the 15 semifinalists were: Openiano, Riana Agatha Pangindian, Apriel Smith, Tobias, Kimberle Mae Penchon, Dindi Joy Pajares and Edjelyn Joy Gamboa.

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Bb Pilipinas 2014: Post-pageant review

Mary Jean Lastimosa gets emotional as she was proclaimed Miss Universe Philippines 2014. ALL PHOTOS FROM RAPPLER
Mary Jean Lastimosa gets emotional as she was proclaimed Miss Universe Philippines 2014. ALL PHOTOS FROM RAPPLER
Mary Jean Lastimosa, center, gets emotional as she was proclaimed Miss Universe Philippines 2014. ALL PHOTOS FROM RAPPLER

THERE was only one crown left to be awarded and Mary Jean Lastimosa was there, standing beside last year’s runner-up, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.

It felt just like the coronation night of 2012 – only the Bb Pilipinas – Universe crown had not been awarded, and Lastimosa was standing beside her fellow runner-up of the previous year when the host announced, “Binibini 18 Janine Mari Tugonon!” It was a heart-breaking moment for Lastimosa.

Lastimosa must have recalled that moment, on the coronation night on March 30, just after Bea Rose Santiago crowned Mary Anne Guidotti her successor as Bb Pilipinas – International.

This was Lastimosa’s third and last attempt at going for a Bb Pilipinas crown. It was all or nothing for her.

When she was finally crowned Bb Pilipinas – Universe, her dreams came true.

Unexpected, but well-deserved

Lastimosa during the long gown competition

Many pageant observers didn’t see it coming that Lastimosa would be crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2014 on Sunday night. While she was among the most cheered on candidates, many thought the battle would be between last year’s first runner-up Pia Wurtzbach, Cebuana beauty Kris Tiffany Janson, and Bicolana Yvethe Marie Santiago. But the Binibini third-timer proved there’s no limit to what one can achieve.

Compared to her two previous attempts, Lastimosa looked more relaxed this year. It was obvious she was enjoying every moment, but her competitive spirit never waned. She showed off a healthy, toned body during the swimsuit competition. She was sassy and sexy, and look how she played with the fan – it was the best performance that night. Then, she sashayed with elegance in her fuchsia sweetheart evening gown. Her wide smile, good styling and fluid walk truly made her stand out.

Winning the Best in Swimsuit award was a good sign that Lastimosa would go home with a crown. But it was the Q&A portion that must have sealed the deal for her.

The crowd cheered when Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler asked her what the greatest advantage of being a woman is. She replied: “The greatest advantage of being a woman is being able to compose herself. Just like here, we’re standing in front of thousands of people, not knowing if they’re going to cheer for us or boo us. But we try to compose ourselves. We keep the emotions and show the beauty that is in us and tonight, thousands of people are standing here, celebrating the beauty of women.”

It was a heartfelt response. Lastimosa didn’t let pressure take over. She was every inch a queen.

Chances at Miss Universe
Lastimosa has big shoes to fill following the Philippines’ four consecutive runner-up finishes at Miss Universe. But one thing’s for sure: if she was able to beat the odds in Bb Pilipinas, it’s not impossible for her to take home the coveted Miss Universe crown. Lastimosa is already polished, but she still needs to undergo rigid training to maintain that pageant-ready figure, improve her communication skills and personality, among many other things, in order to package her as a Miss Universe candidate.

But her greatest advantage is that she already got training from two of the best pageant camps in the country. She was formerly under Jonas Gaffud’s Aces & Queens who was behind former Miss Universe Philippines titleholders Venus Raj, Shamcey Supsup, Janine Tugonon and Ariella Arida. She is now with Kagandahang Flores, the team behind Miss International winners Precious Lara Quigaman and Bea Rose Santiago.

Other queens
Joining Lastimosa as the new torch-bearers of the Philippines in international pageants are Mary Anne Bianca Guidotti (Bb Pilipinas-International), Kris Tiffany Janson (Bb Pilipinas-Intercontinental), Yvethe Marie Santiago (Bb Pilipinas-Supranational) and Parul Shah (Bb Pilipinas-Tourism). Finishing as first and second runners-up are Laura Lehmann and Hannah Ruth Sison, respectively.

Guidotti and Santiago will be facing a big challenge this year: to score back-to-back wins for the country in the Miss International and Miss Supranational pageants.

Bb Pilipinas International 2014: Mary Anne Bianca Guidotti
Meanwhile, Guidotti’s win came as a surprise to me. While she was able to bag the Best in Long Gown award for her stellar performance and elegance, I thought her answer could’ve been meatier. She was asked about using the crown to push for her advocacy should she win, and she said she would “use [the] crown to influence people to adopt their own advocacies.”

Despite this, there’s no denying Guidotti is classy. Also she speaks well which is one of the qualities of Miss International winners. The Philippines seems to have mastered the art of placing in this Japan-based pageant. Winning the title is a long shot for now, but I’m confident Guidotti can give us our 7th consecutive placement.

Bb Pilipinas Supranational 2014: Yvethe Marie Santiago
The Big Dome went wild each time Santiago hit the stage. She had lots of supporters at the venue, and she was also deserving of the accolades. At one point, I really thought she was going to win the top title, especially after giving a good answer when she was asked about the inherent quality that makes Filipinas stand out in beauty pageants: ” I believe that the quality that every Filipina has that makes her stand out in a beauty pageant is confidence. We feel confident in our own skin and that makes us feel very beautiful.”

Santiago was at top of her game and was really among the best performers of the night. With her presentation skills, I’m confident she could keep the streak going for the Philippines in Miss Supranational.

Bb Pilipinas Intercontinental 2014: Kris Tiffany Janson

Janson was touted as the girl to beat prior to the coronation night, but her star lost its luster during the pageant. While she has one of the most beautiful faces, her performance in the first two rounds was underwhelming. However, she made up for it in the Q&A. She makes history as the first recipient of this title, but the biggest challenge for Janson is to bring home the country’s first Miss Intercontinental crown.

Bb Pilipinas Tourism 2014: Parul Shah

Shah’s overall look was perfect – the curly hair parted to one side, plus the shimmering gown. She was glowing and her presence was really commanding. She almost untied her bikini during the swimsuit round, but she still gave a solid performance. Her placement was solidified by her heartfelt response to the question given to her. Shah will surely give her co-candidates a good fight in Miss Tourism Queen International.

Surprises, upsets
The two runners-up, Lehmann and Sison, were the biggest surprises of the night. Laura was breezing through the competition, until the Q&A. She raised many eyebrows when she answered Amsterdam as the city that best describes her personality.

Hannah, meanwhile, made a big comeback after failing to make the cut the previous year. She gave one of the best and most diplomatic answers. “If I were to fall in love outside of my religion, I would. Because for me it’s not about what you are, you should not condemn any person because of their religion. Love is what you need to get into a relationship and that’s why I would marry someone or I would fall in love with someone who is not even part of my religion.”

The Top 15

Rounding up the Top 15 were Julian Aurine Flores, Joanna Angelica Romero, Pia Wurtzbach, Emma Mary Tiglao, Zahara Mae Soriano, Mae Liezel Ramos, Kenneth Santiago, Nichole Marie Manalo.

The inclusion of underdogs Joanna Angelica Romero and Zahara Mae Soriano came as a surprise. The performances of the two were totally forgettable. Add to that that Soriano had to ask the question again during the Q&A. Many pageant fans, myself included, though Kimverlyn Suiza, Angelique Celine De Leon and Diana Arevalo were far more deserving to be in the Top 15.

The biggest disappointments of the night were the exclusion of Arevalo in the Top 15 and Wurtzbach failing to get a crown. This was Arevalo’s third try in the pageant. After placing in 2009 and 2011, she was expected to still make as finalist this year. Her face was stunning and her swimsuit performance was solid, but the black evening gown must have cost her the placement. She lost her spark and her performance was dry.

Wurtzbach was breezing through the competition, but choosing to answer in the native tongue was a risk when judge Sen Sonny Angara asked her in Filipino. To be fair, she gave a good answer and the production should have given her time to translate it in English given that there were foreigners in the panel of judges. She has been very vocal about wanting to win the Miss Universe Philippines crown, but should not lose hope. She should take inspiration from Lastimosa.

Russian pop star Emin

The technical side
From the stage to the camera angles and the performances, the production made a huge improvement this year. The size of the stage was just right and was completely utilized. The swimsuit competition was very engaging and those fans, hats and masks gave it all a festive feel.

The decision not to have singers during the long gown competition was also a welcome move. While they could’ve chosen a better background music, the segment was regal and didn’t seem rushed.

The production numbers were good. The opening number was engaging and did a good job at setting the mood for the evening. Emin’s performance of “Amor” also made it seem like we were watching the Miss Universe final look segment.

Anne Curtis sings “Alone”

Anne Curtis was a joy to watch, but the highlight of the night was when she sang Heart’s “Alone” during the break, when the judges were deliberating the results. Xian Lim improved compared to his first Bb Pilipinas hosting stint in 2012. The three former titleholders Raj, Supsup and Tugonon also did well as side hosts. And let me just say they wore stunning gowns that night!

This year’s winners will try to keep the winning streak going for the Philippines in their respective international pageants. The pressure is always there, but with proper training and the drive to win, nothing is impossible.


This article also appeared on Rappler.

Bb Pilipinas 2014: Official number of candidates

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The wait is finally over as the Binibining Pilipinas 2014 candidates’ official numbering has been officially announced. As is customary, the girls are arranged by height, with the tallest girls placed in the middle, while the shortest ones get the first and the last number.

Here’s the official numbering:

Binibini 01: Julian Aurine Flores
Binibini 02: Mary Ainjely P. Manalo
Binibini 03: Joana Angelica M. Romero
Binibini 04: Parul Shah
Binibini 05: Hanna Mariz D. Dela Guerra
Binibini 06: Anabel Christine G. Tia
Binibini 07: Aiza Faeldonia
Binibini 08: Pia Alonzo Wurztbach
Binibini 09: Joy Antonette Diaz
Binibini 10: Shauna Indra Salina Curran

Binibini 11: Laura Victoria Lehmann
Binibini 12: Sarah Jireh C. Asido
Binibini 13: Kris Tiffany M. Janson
Binibini 14: Emma Mary F. Tiglao
Binibini 15: Kimverlyn Suiza
Binibini 16: Zahara Mae O. Soriano
Binibini 17: Diana B. Arevalo
Binibini 18: Ellore Noelle Punzalan
Binibini 19: Mae Liezel J. Ramos
Binibini 20: Kenneth Santiago

Binibini 21: Racquel D. Kabigting
Binibini 22: Mary Anne Bianca G. Guidotti
Binibini 23: Nichole Marie R. Manalo
Binibini 24: Ednornance Agustin
Binibini 25: Mary Jean Lastimosa
Binibini 26: Hanna Sheena L. Manuel
Binibini 27: Hannah Ruth Sison
Binibini 28: Carla Jenina Lizardo
Binibini 29: Krischelle DG. Halili
Binibini 30: Jeslyn Santos

Binibini 31: Angelique Celine L. De Leon
Binibini 32: Joy Marie Gangan
Binibini 33: Leonalyn D. Dela Cruz
Binibini 34: Gabrielle Erika Tilokani
Binibini 35: Yvethe Marie A. Santiago
Binibini 36: Krystal Alonday
Binibini 37: Vanessa N. Saliba
Binibini 38: Janine A. Asanion
Binibini 39: Ladylyn Riva
Binibini 40: Vessica L. Sambo

Some would say it’s just a number, but for avid pageant fans the official number might actually be a reference as to say who the “lucky ones” are. Here are some examples:

  • Two titleholders in the last decade were Binibini 8 during their respective pageants: Carlene Aguilar (Bb Pilipinas World 2005) and Nicole Schmitz (Bb Pilipinas International 2012).
  • Denille Lou Valmonte (Bb Pilipinas International 2006) and Anna Theresa Licaros (Bb Pilipinas Universe 2007) were Binibini 9 during their respective pageants.
  • Binibini 12 has been a lucky number for Bb Pilipinas International titleholders: 2003 – Joanna Marie Peñalosa (2000), Maricarl Tolosa (2001) and Jhezarie Javier (2003).
  • Binibini 17 is one of the most successful numbers: Katherine Manalo (Bb Pilipinas World 2002), Margaret Ann Bayot (Bb Pilipinas International 2004), Gionna Cabrera (Bb Pilipinas Universe 2005), Lia Andrea Ramos (Bb Pilipinas Universe 2006) and  Marie Ann Umali (Bb Pilipinas World 2009).

 

UPDATED: Bb Pilipinas 2014 final screening set for Jan 23

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From 118 to 74 and now, 60.

Only 60 aspirants for Bb Pilipinas 2014 survived the third round of screening held this afternoon. Final screening is scheduled on Thursday, January 23, where this group will be narrowed down to 30 (or 40) official candidates.

Here are the names of the girls who made it (with check marks beside their names):

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