Sunday, June 09, 2019

It's that time of the year again (albeit a bit late).  It's time to crown the new queens in our national pageant. I haven't paid much attention this year compared to the last couple of years because of some life-changing moments I had in the past months.

Predicting this year's winners is very hard because of what Catriona brought to the table. She raised the bar so high that it's quite impossible to choose the girl who can be her worthy successor. I managed to predict correctly the last Miss Universe Philippines since 2015 (check these links: Pia, Maxine, Rachel, Catriona) but I am NOT very sure this year. I can be off with my choices. Pageant experience, the all-important Q&A, and DESTINY will definitely play a big role in today's crowning.

It all boils down to the Top 8. Whoever will be on the Top 8 will be deliberated on by the judges and the BBP Execom and lawyers for the crown and runners-up assignments. Age eligibility, criteria fit, and rules of the international pageants will all be considered and matched with the Top 8 girls. 

Here are my Top 8 bets: ARNOLD, LO, RUSHTON, TIGLAO, BERNARDO, ABESAMIS, GANADOS, MAGTANONG. It's just a matter of who will be placed where and how consistent they will be at the Finals (think Sandra Lemonon of BBP 2018 and Sirene Sutton of BBP 2017 who bombed the all-important Q&A). 

I based the above choices from their performances at the National Costume Show (Fact: 6 out of the 8 are in the Top 10 of NatCos), the Free Speak, the Press Presentation, and the JAG Jeans show and their Top 10. All the rounds are included in the preliminary competition except the latter.  Check out my "attempt" in predicting this year's placers (it was really hard and I will not be surprised if I'll be off.

Vickie Rushton - Negros Occidental
Vickie Rushton of Negros Occidental

Our goal for Miss Universe 2019 is to send a candidate that would continue the 9-year streak of the Philippines in the Miss Universe. I honestly believe that it's impossible for a back-to-back Team Philippines crown but I am hoping for a Top 6 finish at least. There are three (3) ladies whom I think will get the crown. I kept on going back and forth and finally decided just this afternoon to go with a Vickie Rushton-Gazini Ganados-Hannah Arnold win for the top crown.

Vickie Rushton is MEANT to get the Miss International crown but I also realized that she can push the envelope further and aim higher for Miss Universe Philippines. We need someone who is very ready and prepared to go to Universe. Vickie diligently paid her dues for a year as a runner-up to the current queens and she improved a lot from Vickie 1.0. I am quite certain that she will be victorious tonight. She is surely a lock for the Miss International title but I will not be surprised if she will win it ALL.

Alternates: Gazini Ganados and Samantha Bernardo are my true favorites to win the crown. Both have the face and body for Miss Universe but they have a lot of areas to improve on. Either can win if BBP believes that they are still trainable in time for the pageant. Sam had this on the bag but she messed up in the Free Speak segment which was shown in the pre-pageant. We've gotten used to sending eloquent queens manlalamon ng mic like Catriona and Rachel so this might be an stretch for Sam if she will not pass the Q&A. 


Hannah Arnold - Masbate
Hannah Arnold of Masbate

Hannah Arnold is our safest bet this year. She is not the most gorgeous in the batch but she is still a dead-ringer doll-face (required in Japan), eloquent, can carry conversations, and has a good stage presence. I dismissed her for a while but what sealed the deal for me was her superb National Costume presentation last week. My doubts about her inexperience (compared to the other girls) were set aside after watching the Binibining Pilipinas primer last Sunday.

Alternates: This crown is meant for Vickie Rushton (since last year). Vickie will still get this IF Gazini or Hannah gets the Miss Universe title.

Emma Tiglao - Pampanga
Emma Mary Tiglao of Pampanga

Emma's past pageant experiences and her strong showing in the National Costume Competition and JAG Jeans show placed her as one of the frontrunners and easy choice for one of the minor crowns. She can alternately win the Binibining Pilipinas Grand International title as well. 

Alternate: Samantha Bernardo


Sam Bernardo - Palawan
Samantha Bernardo of Palawan

Sam B is one of my favorites this year. She was the 2nd Runner-up last year and is one of the most consistent girls this year. Sam also has a universal beauty and appeal and she probably has the best body in the competition. She will be a top contender for the Best Swimsuit Special Award in the finals (Heck, she should've won it last year. Sorry, Cat!). I would've wanted Sam to win the Miss Universe Philippines crown but she bombed the all-important Free Speak segment in the pre-pageant last Sunday. Most of the pageant watchers dismissed her and took her out of their list after that. There's still hope IF she will eloquently and gracefully answer the all-important Q&A in the Finals. If not-- then Sam might have to settle for the Grand International title.

Alternates: Emma Tiglao. Both her and Sam B can alternate for Supranational and Grand International


Samantha Lo - Cebu
Samantha Lo of Cebu

Samantha Lo is the 'not-in-the-radar' queen of the competition. She is not as popular like the rest of the girls in my Top 8 but she's undoubtedly been acing all the pre-pageant competitions. She was part of the Top 10 in both the National Costume and JAG Jeans rounds (which we all know were judged by the BBP Execom). And most importantly-- she is the best candidate in the Free Speak segment. She will be stellar and unstoppable in the Q&A in the Finals. My nerd self also believes that she is one girl who has a mathematical probability of being in the Top 8. It will just be a matter of fit and placement. 

I am also inclined on giving Sam L a runner-up position this year for a bigger crown next year. But, Sam is now 26 years old and next year will limit her with fewer choices to compete on because of the age limitation. But, let's see. 

Alternates: Gazini Ganados and Patch Magtanong


Gazini Ganados - Talisay Cebu
Gazini Ganados of Talisay, Cebu

Gazini, for a time, was the frontrunner who was predicted to win it ALL. She still might be. I actually put her as a very strong alternate for Miss Universe Philippines. Gazini has the looks, the body, and the stage presence but the other girls like Emma, Sam L, and Sam B drowned her when they peaked in the last few days. Gazini must really go all-out tonight for a guaranteed big win. I still believe that she can make it. OR we can put her in the runners-up for another try at Miss Universe Philippines next year if in case she will not win.

Alternates: Aya Abesamis and Patch Magtanong


Aya Abesamis - Pasig
Maria Andrea Abesamis of Pasig

Patch Magtanong - Bataan
Bea Patricia Magtanong of Bataan

I placed Aya as consolation and Patch for further training. Aya improved so much this year. I really really loved how she looked. She had nice photographs and she did well in the segments. But, Aya's waterloo is still the Q&A. I am still giving her a chance but it will all depend on her 30-sec answer. Also, Aya's age might become an issue since she is just competing for two crowns: Universe and Globe. The former is quite a stretch.

Patch, oh Patch. This is an unpopular opinion for one of the most popular candidates. Atty. Magtanong is bringing to the pageantry her brains and wits as her most valuable assets. Point taken especially on this day and age of IMG. But, I think that Patch is very raw and needs more pageant training. She also has to improve her styling (enough long hair and big huge ribbons, please). Setting her as one of the runners-up will further train her and bring out the best in her. It would be a total waste to award her one of the minor crowns.

Here are the possible Wild Cards and Top 15:

Wildcards/Can Legitimately Win: Leren Bautista, Resham Saeed (they are really good but let's see)

Rest of Top 15: Jessarie Dumaguing, Julia Saubier, Jessica Marasigan, Martina Diaz, Shane Tormes

Rest of  Top 25: Isabela Galeria, Denise Omorog, Kim Pechon, April Short, Joanna Saad, Malka Shaver, Nicole Guerrero, Cassandra Chan, Denj Magno, Sigrid Flores

I rushed this post and I now have to end it to GO to Araneta to watch the Super Bowl of Pageantry! Some friends got me a ticket. Was not really intending to watch it live but let's go!

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