Wonder who are my personal favorites for the titles this year? Well, I must say that the last time I posted my personal Bb. Pilipinas choices was in 2010 when I rooted for the stunning mestiza Krista Kleiner for the Universe crown. But Venus captured the top plum then and emerged fourth runner-up in Miss Universe 2010 so it was all right. Plus, I was told that Krista wasn’t eligible for the Bb. Pilipinas-Universe title when she joined. This year, I still opted for a mestiza-Filipina for the main title – Miss Universe Philippines 2012. Here are my personal picks for this year’s pageant:
MISS UNIVERSE PHILIPPINES 2012 – Nicole Schmitz (Binibini #8)
To start with, it must be clear that Nicole Schmitz was my personal choice for the same title in 2007, her first time to join this pageant. I could vividly remember the sexy Jennifer Hawkins catwalk that she displayed on stage during the swimsuit competition. I thought she wouldn’t rejoin this pageant after being disappointed for not entering the top 5 that year. Nonetheless, she’s back and her determination to represent the Philippines in the Miss Universe stage was again manifested when she sought help from her lawyer to prove that she was only studying in Australia and that she is eligible for the Universe title. With that, BPCI accepted her papers and she’s eligible for the said title once again. Why did I choose Nicole for Miss Universe? She’s the most ready to compete in an international pageant. She has the strong stage presence, the pretty face, the eloquence and she can be fierce and charming at the same time. Sure, you can crown a raw girl and train her for months but that’s a big risk to take. BPCI should give this lady a chance. It was apparent that she performed the best during the press presentation, fashion show and national costume competition. Forget the fact that she is mestiza and looks like a Latina. Yes, the morena Filipinas sent to Miss Universe were successful but it’s about time to send a complete package like Nicole. Nothing to worry about in the interview and in all other rounds of competition. The only thing Nicole has to work on is to soften her facial features. If she’s able to do that, she can secure another top 5 placement in Miss Universe. Besides, if Madame Stella Araneta loves ladies with excellent academic background, Nicole will soon hold two degrees – psychology and law. Beauty and brains, indeed!
BB. PILIPINAS-INTERNATIONAL 2012 – Mary Jean Lastimosa (Binibini #9)
Talk about banging body. Without doubt, MJ Lastimosa has one of the best (if not the best) figures in this competition and that places her notches above other worthy contenders. She was second runner-up last year and she came back to place higher. Many keen observers say that the new MJ is more polished, especially in her catwalk. She’s downplaying her moves a bit every time the girls would walk in the ramp. This makes me think that she’s reserving her energies for the finals. A whistlebait figure, Latina-like looks and strong stage presence – this is the formula to get noticed and win in Miss International. Remember, most of the recent Miss International winners are Latinas – Ecuador (2011), Venezuela (2010), Mexico (2009), Spain (2008), Mexico (2007), and Venezuela (2006). In fact, Precious Lara Quigaman from the Philippines was the last non-Latina Miss International titleholder up to this time. Also, the question and answer segment in the Miss International pageant is becoming less significant so there’s no need to waste an eloquent lady in this pageant. Remember last year when they did away with the speech segment? The semifinalists only battled it out in swimsuits. MJ’s communication skills are fine but the way she speaks lack confidence and charm. That is why she is most fit for the Bb. Pilipinas-International title – perfect figure and Latina-like looks with average communication skills. Hence, the safest way to sustain the four-year streak of the Philippines in Miss International is sending MJ to that pageant.
BB. PILIPINAS-TOURISM 2012 – Janine Mari Tugonon (Binibini #18)
To her credit, Janine is also a consistent performer in this year’s batch. I didn’t notice her in a bevy of beautiful ladies last year. But when she grabbed that microphone from Derek Ramsay and spoke, she became a hit. During the press preview, I’ve observed that this Miriam Quiambao deadringer did the “tsunami walk” which Shamcey Supsup popularized. From then on, I was thinking that her handlers really package her like Shamcey. It’s a good idea, really, as it did help Janine improve her facial features and overall packaging. Her dark racoon-eye make-up during the Parade of Beauties was also something noteworthy about her and it reminded of Venezuelan Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza. I hope she sports that again. In spite of her above average noticeable performances, I think Janine is more suited for this title more than the Universe and International. One of the obvious reasons is her body. Sure, she can work out for six months if sent to Miss Universe but her bones seem large, making her body look straight and her legs are a tad chunky. This type of body is something that wouldn’t be a hit in Miss Universe. Secondly, we’ve sent morenas and exotic looking women to Miss Universe for so many times already. It’s about time to send a mestiza-Filipina who is a complete package. Honestly, she and Nicole are the most appropriate to send to Miss Universe but knowing that outgoing personality, sexy body and strong stage chops mean a lot of difference in Miss Universe, I’d go for Nicole. Rumored to be Madame Araneta’s top choice, Janine’s Asian looks and charm can be more appreciated by the MTQI organizers and she can be a great tourism ambassadress for the Philippines.
1ST RUNNER-UP – Patricia Lae Ejercitado (Binibini #7)
Patricia Lae’s dusky facial features instantly remind people of Puerto Rican Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera. This 2010 Bb. Pilipinas alumna gave quite an impact during the screening in that nude-colored Greek style dress. She became almost everyone’s first Miss Universe Philippines 2012 bet. However, as the days progress, she seems to lose steam, being overshadowed by heavy favorites MJ Lastimosa, Janine Tugonon and Nicole Schmitz. But I believe Patricia’s facial beauty and lean figure cannot be denied of a top 5 placement this year. She worked so hard for this and it’s about time to reward her. What kept her in this position in my list are her suspected average communication skills. Oddly enough, she sounded like a more confident Czarina Gatbonton for me. But if the judges would be forgiving like what happened during 2008 and 2010 to Janina San Miguel and Czarina Gatbonton, respectively, Patricia could dislodge any of the three other favorites to be in the magic 3 line-up. I’ve heard that the first runner-up will represent the Philippines in Miss Supranational so it’s a winning situation after all if she lands on fourth place.
2ND RUNNER-UP – Sherlyn Gonzales (Binibini #30)
Sherlyn Gonzales is one of this year’s prettiest faces, if not the prettiest. In the Primer, she said that she was even mistaken to be a Brazilian model for her mestiza looks. Despite of being one of the shortest Binibinis this year, her proportioned figure doesn’t make her appeal short. She reminds me a lot of Bb. Pilipinas-International 2008 Patricia Fernandez for her petite frame yet beautiful face. In some angles, Sherlyn resembles Filipina actress Angel Locsin, one of the prettiest faces in Showbiz. Actually, I’m considering her for the International title but MJ Lastimosa is more prepared and appears “unimpeachable” from the top 3 in my reckoning. Making it as far as this spot is a laudable point for Sherlyn. But given her very beautiful face, I wouldn’t be surprised if the judges would be willing to overlook her petite frame and give her one of the titles.
6. Elaine Kay Moll (Binibini #15)
7. Rose Ann Aguilar (Binibini #5)
8. Katrina Jayne Dimaranan (Binibini #13)
9. Annalie Forbes (Binibini #29)
10. Jaine Hidalgo (Binibini #4)
11. Karen Gallman (Binibini #1)
12. Golda Soller (Binibini #27)
13. Roxane Joy Jesalva (Binibini #19)
14. Gina Joy Howell (Binibini #14)
15. Liezl Alcantara (Binibini #16)
*Photos courtesy of Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI)
Let it be clear that the girls above are my personal choices. This is not a prediction list. I just hope that the judges tomorrow will give merit to whom merit should be given. God bless to all the Binibinis!