Because of previously-scheduled commitments, there’s a cloud over my attendance in the Bb. Pilipinas 2015 pageant tonight. Thus, I’m left with no recourse but to catch the telecast as soon as I get home.
If last year was akin to Survivor: Fans VS. Favorites, the 2015 edition can be compared to Survivor: All-Stars. The roster of frontrunners consists of acclaimed three-peaters and highly-touted veterans from other local pageants. There’s also a tinge of showbiz royalty tossed in. Needless to say, expect this to be another tight race. (I know I say that almost every year, but this time, I mean it.) Here’s a quick rundown of my picks:
MISS UNIVERSE PHILIPPINES – Bb. #8 – Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. Of course, she’s back. She’s way too highly favored to not give it another shot, despite hinting last year that she’s done with pageants. Just crown her already.
BB. PILIPINAS-INTERNATIONAL – Bb. #34 – Teresita Ssen “Wynwyn” Marquez. Yes, she’s the daughter of Joey Marquez and Alma Moreno, but this showbiz personality secured her frontrunner status through her own merits. If she bags the International title, it will surely create an interesting scenario: we all know her aunt Melanie Marquez won the same pageant back in 1979. She may lack the “long-legged” of her legendary tita, but her stage chops are impeccable. I sense a “Wynwyn” situation.
BB. PILIPINAS-INTERCONTINENTAL -Bb. #28 – Hannah Ruth Sison. She was a non-placer in 2013 and a surprise 2nd Runner-Up in in 2014. With that impressive momentum, it’s no surprise that she’s entering this year as one of the frontrunners. Her improvement is amazing. If the judges don’t pull an Abby Cruz on her, I think she’s en route to finally earning a crown.
BB. PILIPINAS-SUPRANATIONAL – Bb. #11 – Janicel Lubina. She was runner-up to Megan Young in Miss World Philippines 2013 and proved to be a tough competitor: She managed to usurp the Best in Swimsuit award from her now-legendary rival. This year, she’s touted as the likeliest to thwart Pia Wurtzbach‘s Miss Universe dreams, with her fiery catwalk skills and excellent projection. I’m not entirely sold, but I won’t be shocked if that happens. Either way, she deserves to compete internationally.
BB. PILIPINAS-TOURISM – Bb. #19 – Christi Lynn McGarry. I’m not jumping on her bandwagon just yet, but she is a frontrunner, so she’ll likely be up there. She competed (and placed) in Miss Intercontinental back in 2010, so that already makes her ineligible for one crown. I think the Tourism title is her best bet at this point.
1ST RUNNER-UP – Bb. #12 – Kylie Verzosa. Aside from Wynwyn, I consider this sultry ingenue to be one of this year’s strongest newcomers. An upset win isn’t far from happening.
2ND RUNNER-UP – Bb. #29 – Nancy Lee Leonard. This Zamboanga native took over the Miss Earth Philippines-Air 2013 duties vacated by Kimverlyn Suiza last year. Now, it’s interesting to see both former titleholders competing against each other here. Both are likely to place, but I think Nancy now has the upper hand.
Bb. #21 – Alaiza Flor Malinao. This dusky stunner seems poised to be one of this year’s silent threats.
Bb. #24 – Ann Lorraine Colis. I find her mesitza features and dusky complexion an intriguing contrast. It’s almost as if we have a Mulatto in the roster. I think that’s why she stands out.
Bb. #25 – Rogelie Catacutan. Jokes about her surname sounding like the Filipino word for “fear” aside, this Cebuana seems poised to surpass her Miss World Philippines 2011 semi-final placement.
Bb. #3 – Ria Rabajante. We’ve seen this Tetchie Agbayani dead-ringer in action in Bb. Pilipinas 2013 and Miss World Philippines 2013, but with not much luck. Why she hasn’t caught a break is beyond me. I’m hoping for a reversal of fortune this time around.
Bb. #6 – Toni Alyessa Hipolito. She made the Top 10 way back in 2008. Two years later, she competed again while sporting braces, which may have contributed to her shutout. Fast forward to 2015, and this three-peater is thankfully now back in fighting form. Her chances at redemption are strong.
Bb. #8 – Kimverlyn Suiza. Well, I’m glad she rebounded quickly from her shocking non-placement last year. I think she is projecting much better this time around and I’m almost certain she’ll be vindicated.
Bb. #27 – Ina Dominica Guerrero. She made the semi-finals in Miss World Philippines last year, so it’s no surprise that she’s also making waves here. Her most stellar moment so far was making the Best in National Costume shortlist along with four other heavy favorites. If that’s any indication, she can easily go far in this pageant as well.
Bb. #30 – Patricia Lae Ejercitado. She was a clapper when she first competed in 2010. Two years later, she returned as a heavy favorite, only to settle for a semi-final finish. The same fate befell her in her Miss World Philippines 2013 stint. While it’s a pleasant surprise to see her taking one last shot (she’s already at the ceiling age), the presence of other strong competitors this year makes her prospects at a crown uneven.
Bb. #13 – Mae Liezel Ramos. She made the semi-finals last year. I even pegged her as a possible upset back then. This year, she isn’t generating the same amount of buzz. A repeat placement is not set in stone, but I’m not counting her out just yet.
Bb. #14 – Princess Joy Camu. She is a strong, underrated gem with a passing resemblance to another Bicolana – the late Melody Gersbach, Bb. Pilipinas-International 2009. Sources say that she has raw communication skills. That may or may not be her stumbling block if she places.
Bb. #17 – Brenna Cassandra Gamboa. She was one of my major favorites in Miss World Philippines 2012 but she hasn’t made a major splash here, so far. I’d like to believe that she’s reserving her best moves for the finals night.
Bb. #20 – Tanya Angelina Nicole Hyde. She possesses one of the most well-toned bodies in this year’s competition. That might be her key to pulling an upset.
Bb. #23 – Justine Felice Felizarta. She started gaining ground during the latter stages of the pre-pageant activities. I may have other preferences at this point, but I’m keeping an eye on her.