The 2018 beauty queens have proven themselves well in their respective international competitions. Catriona Elisa Gray and Karen Juanita Gallman won as Miss Universe and Miss Intercontinental, respectively. Maria Ahtisa Manalo placed first runner-up in Miss International, while Jehza Mae Huelar was part of the top 10 finalists in Miss Supranational and Michelle Gumabao as top 15 finalist in Miss Globe and also won the special award as Miss Dream Girl.
This year’s batch of Binibining Pilipinas and Miss Universe-Philippines 2019 candidates are challenged to match or surpass the performances of the five reigning queens.
Based on the ‘free speak’ competition, three ladies stood out as they managed to compose themselves before the five-man panel of judges. Within a 30-second duration, the 26-year-old Cebuana Samantha Ashley Lo came in strong in her extemporaneous speech about social media. The 24-year-old beauty from Daraga, Albay, Julia Eugenie Augustias Saubier also showed how she can expound a topic like Ketogenic diet. And the 25-year-old Bataan lass and a newly BAR passer Bea Patricia de Guzman Magtanong was able to nail her topic about photoshop as well.
The rest of the candidates who may still be able to make it in the Top 15 cut are as follows (this is in random order):
Pangasinan‘s 25-year-old Denielle Joie Nuñez Magno
This is Rochelle Pangilinan look-alike dusky beauty has all the qualities of a pure Filipina. She has that exotic features that can easily be identifiable to the islands in the country. In the ‘free speak’ competition, her thoughts may not be as on-point as the three I have mentioned above, but she managed to pull it off somehow without feeling too jittery.
Talisay-Cebu‘s 23-year-old Gazini Christiana Jordi Ganados
Her foreign lineage has created something that is intriguing in the eyes of the public. She knows how to flirt with the cameras. One can’t stop from craving for more of her charm.
Pasig City‘s 27-year-old Maria Andrea Verdadero Abesamis
She may not be towering at 5’7″, she certainly has the aura of being statuesque. Her training as a fashion model is an advantage to her. She inherited the beauty of her mother, a former third runner-up in the Miss Universe 1984 Maria Desiree Verdadero and her cousin who placed in the top five in Miss World 2003 Maria Rafaela Verdadero Yunon.
Masbate‘s 23-year-old Hannah Consencino Arnold
At 5’10”, she is one of the tallest candidates. Her height is enough to match the towering ladies in the international beauty pageants. However, based on her ‘free speak’, she still has to improve on how she expounds a particular topic. Apart from being able to captivate the audience with her commanding presence onstage, she should be able to organize her thoughts to be more impactful.
Mandaue City‘s 23-year-old Ilene Astrid de Vera
Being a former beauty queen and had the opportunity to compete internationally is her advantage over the other candidates. What she needs to be mindful of is her manner of expressing herself. Topics like politics must not frighten her.
Maguindanao‘s 25-year-old Resham Ramirez Saeed
Though she’s not in my original list of bets, her performance in the ‘free speak’ competition has changed my perception about her. She showed determination and confidence in expressing her thoughts amid a time-bound extemporaneous speech.
Puerto Princesa‘s 24-year-old Jessarie Dumaguing
Her national costume with a peacock-like ensemble impressed me. She can surprise or upset the beauty hopefuls in this year’s pageant.
Sorsogon‘s 20-year-old Maria Isabela Galeria
A beauty to whom most of the beauty pageant fans may have failed to notice, she is able to carry herself well even in the most nerve-wracking competition like ‘free speak’. She was able to stress the love of country, discouraging fellow Filipinos to not leave their motherland.
Negros Occidental‘s 27-year-old Vickie Marie Milagrosa Sausa Rushton
Her features and her new styling gave her more potentials to win a crown this year. Her innocent look is fiercer and mature at this time. She was like a local mythological goddess when she came out in her national costume.
Pampanga‘s 24-year-old Emma Mary Tiglao
This woman from Pampanga is a Nadine Lustre look-alike. Though not a well-versed speaker, her passion may be her ticket to win a crown. Her national costume was immaculately regal.
Zamboanga Sibugay‘s 24-year-old Malka Padayhag Shaver
As she articulated about social media, she managed to stress the use of this platform for the good of humanity. Rather than using the said platform to divide people, she encourages everyone to make it as a tool to unite the people.
Rizal‘s 25-year-old Honey Grace Cartasano
She struggled in expressing her thoughts about whitening products. What is admirable about her is her determination to finish what she has started. She wrapped piece with a more convincing statement that it is not about the skin color but it’s a matter of carrying one’s self to be confidently beautiful. Her Paolo Ballesteros-designed national costume was eye-catching, but failed to impress the judges.
The Coronation Night is set on Sunday, June 9 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. To know more about the pageant, visit its official website.