In a few hours, I’ll be making my way to Araneta to watch the coronation night of Bb. Pilipinas 2014, so I might as well cram my pre-thoughts. Looking at the front-runners of this year’s line-up, it almost feels like the pageant pundit’s equivalent to Survivor: Fans VS. Favorites. On one corner, we have two exquisitely stunning newcomers who lived up to their favoritism as the competition progressed. And on the other corner, we have heavy favorites from past editions yearning at a shot at redemption. I’m almost certain that at least four of the alluded beauties will walk away with a crown. But which title goes to whom is everybody’s guess at this point. So without further ado, here is my wishlist:
From L to R: #35, #8, #13, #25, #4
#35 – Yvethe Marie Santiago
Though a Bb. Pilipinas first-timer, Yvethe is actually no stranger to the international stage. She represented our country in World Miss University 2009, where she won Best in Costume. Now, she is looking more competitive than ever – with her impeccable catwalk and striking facial features, among other worthy qualities. If they’re looking for somebody who has a shot at ending our 41-year Miss Universe drought, this Bicolana stunner can put up a good fight.
#8 – Pia Wurtzbach
Her official portrait may be underwhelming, but her subsequent appearances proved that she’s still a force to be reckoned with. This former Star Magic talent will deliver when it matters and she will claim the crowning moment that once eluded her.
#13 – Kris Tiffany Janson
In my reckoning, this former Miss Cebu possesses the most beautiful face in this year’s batch. She looked enchanting in her National Costume – no wonder she bagged that award – and I wouldn’t be surprised if she wins Miss Photogenic as well. Her exquisite Asian beauty should make her a surefire frontrunner in either Miss International or Miss Supranational.
#25 – Mary Jean Lastimosa
Clearly, she still has the competitive edge and clearly, she wants this. I just have this gnawing feeling that sending her to Miss Universe at this point will only subject us to Maricar Balagtas* flashbacks. I think her prospects are now much brighter at the Intercontinental (or even Supranational) stage. Either way, it’s high time they gave this three-peater her due.
* NOTE: The highly-regarded candidate who won Bb. Pilipinas-Universe after her third try, only to end up clapping in Miss Universe 2004.
#4 – Parul Shah
While the Number Four is believed to be a bad omen for Bb. Pilipinas contestants, I think this returning stunner can break that curse. I’m still clueless about her prospects if she gets sent to Miss Tourism Queen International. Heck, we’re not even sure if that pageant will still push through. I just find her dusky, exotic beauty worthy of competing an at international level.
From L to R: #22, #17, #15, #14, #19
#22 – Mary Anne Bianca Guidotti – Her ability to speak Portuguese could be an advantage, granted she gets sent to Miss Universe, which will reportedly be held in Brazil this year. The chances of this trilingual first-timer usurping one of the crowns is high. If not, they’ll probably push her to join again in subsequent years.
#17 – Diana Arevalo – Just like MJ Lastimosa, this is also Diana’s third try in this pageant, having previously placed both in 2009 and 2011. She has a good chance of sustaining that streak, and even securing her highest placement.
#15 – Kimverlyn Suiza – The prospects of last year’s Miss Earth-Air may not be as stellar in this pageant, but she is still worthy of securing a semi-final placement, at the very least.
#14 – Emma Mary Tiglao – Ditto for this doe-eyed Mutya ng Pilipinas 2012 1st Runner-Up.
#19 – Mae Liezel Ramos – She was a clapper in Miss World Philippines 2011, but she has blossomed into a stunning contender since then. I think a semi-final finish is within reach, and ,depending on how the Q & A would transpire, might even secure a runner-up finish.
From L to R: #1, #27, #9, #11, #30
#1- Julian Aurine Flores – Her exquisite Asian features make her another semi-final shoo-in on my watch.
#27 – Hannah Ruth Sison – This college instructor made a positive impression in last year’s Golden batch, but was sadly shut out of the Top 15. It looks like she can place this time around.
#9 – Joy Antonette Diaz – Her resemblance to her aunt Gloria Diaz is almost uncanny. So uncanny, that it’s almost as if the teen Gloria Diaz time-traveled to our era to compete again. Apart from that impressive pedigree, this incoming law student also possesses excellent communication skills that can help her go further.
#11 – Laura Victoria Lehmann – Here is another articulate stunner to keep an eye on.
#30- Joy Marie Gangan – She comes from the same province as the reigning Miss Supranational Mutya Datul. Her excellent posture and polished presence are also hard to miss.
From L to R: #23, #7, #38, #24, #18
#23 – Nichole Marie Manalo – Well, now it looks like the Manalos really are on track to becoming this pageant’s equivalent to Macau‘s Pedruco Sisters*. I’m placing Nichole outside my Top 15 only because I have other favorites, but I’m not discounting the possibility of a semi-final finish (or even a crowning shocker). * NOTE: The Pedrucos are 4 sisters from Macau who represented the former Portuguese colony in Miss World in 1989, 1993, 1995, and 1996, respectively. That record has yet to be broken.
#7 – Aiza Faeldonia – Pageant boards bombarded this Sultan Kudarat belle with hype during the pre-screening stages, but she was inexplicably shut out of the initial roster. Luckily, she is back in the game and making the right impression. A semi-final finish is still conceivable.
#38 – Janine Asanion – She comes across as a duskier version of that more iconic Janine who finished 1st runner-up in Miss Universe 2012.
#24 – Ednornance Agustin – She probably possesses the most seductive pair of eyes among this year’s candidates. This subtle dead-ringer to Ara Arida should not be counted out.
#18 – Ellore Noelle Punzalan – Her pleasing personality was probably accountable for her surprising semi-final finish last year. Whether or not she will sustain that streak remains to be seen.
#2 – Mary Ainjely Manalo – photogenic, underrated
#5 – Hanna Mariz de la Guerra – Lovi Poe dead-ringer
#10 – Shauna Indira Salina Curran – Radio DJ, excellent communication skills
#28 – Carla Janina Lizardo – former Mutya ng Pilipinas titleholder, former Miss World Philippines semi-finalist, excellent communication skills
#31 – Angelique Celine De Leon – Shamcey Supsup Version 3.0 (Version 2.0, Angel Villafuerte of Bicol, competed last year)