The first round required the Top 100 aspirants to submit their most striking Headshots, coupled with brief Introductory Video that’ll serve as their profiles. Two candidates couldn’t complete the first round.
Daisy Rafea Batch (Withdrew). She pulled out before she was even assigned a place to represent, though based on comments on social media, she either would have played for Team Iloilo or Team Aklan Hopefully, she’ll give it another shot under more favorable circumstances, because she does have the looks to make an impression.
ILOCOS NORTE – Lyza Katrina Samalio (Withdrew). She managed to submit a Headshot but was missing in the Introductory Video round. That, in effect, left her “Sur” counterpart to take one for the Ilocos team.
Now, here’s a rundown of the 23 other candidates who were eliminated after this round:
BIÑAN, LAGUNA – Gracelle Nicole Distura. A more seasoned candidate is earning the buzz for her province, but this athlete is no slouch in the looks department herself. It’s sad that she’s the first Laguna girl out, because there’s nothing much to nitpick in her presentations. That’s just how it plays this year.
BOCAUE, BULACAN – Samantha Sigrid Abordo. There’s a slight disconnect between her fierce facial expressions and her perky speaking demeanor. That caveat aside, this K-Pop fan does have the potential to impress in future attempts, and it looks like she could have aced the Runway Challenge. If only she made it that far.
CAMARINES SUR – Jessica Holz. Her sharp Eurasian features register better in video than in photos, but it’s understandable why she’s overtaken at this point. She’ll need more polish to reach the same competitive league as her kababayans Venus Raj and Rachel Peters.
CAUAYAN CITY, ISABELA – Julie Mae Villanueva. She’s definitely of the pageant mold, even if she still lacks the polish. Apart from describing herself as a “plantita with a twist” and assuring us that frogs taste like chicken; her presentation was raw overall.
DASMARIÑAS, CAVITE – Estephanie Delgado. Her past pageant photos reveal that she can look the part when it counts and she does have exotic, morena charm to boot, but she’s clearly upstaged at this point. Her makeshift Headshot entry also didn’t help matters.
GUIGUINTO, BULACAN – Miriam Damoah. She appeared to show the most potential among the Bulacan contingent and enjoyed more online buzz than her fellow half-Ghanaian from neighboring Valenzuela. No doubt, her early elimination was the most jaw-dropping. Hopefully, this won’t inhibit her from gaining more pageant experience.
ILIGAN CITY – Jaymee Hana Padilla. It’s nice to see her taking pride in her heritage. But apart from that cultural touch, her Video Introduction was a missed opportunity. She didn’t really share much, other than her making bracelets.
ILOILO PROVINCE – Monica Villanueva. It was clear that the city girl was bound to outrank the provincial girl again at some point. What’s shocking is that we reached that point early this year. Such is the cruelty of this current format.
LINGAYEN – Anor Sohad Zarifeh. How interesting that a half-Palestinian entered a pageant that’ll send its winner to Israel. Obviously, she’s new to all this, but her pretty face can make her a strong contender, should she continue this trek. Training, polish, and experience should do the trick.
LUCENA CITY – Charisse Lorraine Gutierrez. If the first round were based on Headshot Challenge alone, she would have comfortably advanced. It was a gorgeous capture. It’s her Introductory Video which underwhelmed.
MACABEBE, PAMPANGA – Alyssa Georgia Felix. She’s a Forensic Science graduate from the University of East London, which explains her vaguely British twang. It’s a noteworthy background, but her introductory video didn’t really showcase her potential for this arena. As such, she’s the first Pampagueña to get the axe in this round.
MARIKINA – Bernadine Ambry Nicolas. Looking off-camera may be a common practice in broadcast journalism, but it’s not advisable here. It’s a pageant challenge, not a documentary interview. They could have at least added more inserts of her posing or making eye contact in her introductory video. She just sat there.
MARIVELES, BATAAN – Lorlyn Joy Monroe. Sporting a denim jacket in her profile video either earned her points for approachable charm or suggested a hesitation to glam up, a risk when you’re up against 99 other aspirants, to be honest. Ultimately, it’s the latter impression that prevailed.
MUNTINLUPA – Francesca Palabrica. For the second year in a row, this city fielded a representative with the smarts and the gift of gab. Unfortunately, with this year’s format, this one doesn’t get a shot at Preliminary Interview.
NAVOTAS – Thea David. Had she made it to the stage rounds, her striking 5’10 stature silhouette would have turned heads, even if traditional pageant fans normally don’t root for her look.
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY – Maria Victoria Torres. She’s more conventionally attractive than her provincial counterpart but lacks the competitive spark to stand out from other aspirants.
QUEZON PROVINCE – Charlene Jay Bailey. She’s an English teacher, which accounts for her eloquence, but there was a general stiffness in her Introductory Video. Her striking Headshot may have helped her salvage points.
SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA – Roxanne Ibo Sarmiento. She wasn’t necessarily the strongest Pampangueña entrant this year, but her overall radiance could have helped her in succeeding rounds. Her Introductory Video was a well-produced, clever nod to her city as the country’s Christmas capital.
SILAY CITY, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL – Ramona Yamat. It’s quite a shock to see this businesswoman exit this early, considering she’d already competed internationally. Then again, this could also be a lesson of not resting on one’s laurels. Her Introductory Video didn’t exactly scream “Miss Eco International 2017 Quarter-Finalist”.
SORSOGON – Joyce Anne Garduque. Fans still reeling from Isabela Galeria’s pullout last year were likely surprised to see this dog-lover compete in her stead. To her credit, she’s a decent alternate with the striking looks to make a favorable enough impression. It would have been nice to see her showcase that for at least one more round.
SURIGAO DEL SUR – Ericha Ortiz Regalado. A good Headshot spells the difference between surviving or getting axed in this round and hers didn’t really do her justice. Though she did resemble singer Morissette Amon in her introductory video.
TAYABAS CITY – Zandra Mae Diokno. This working student seemed to be the most consistent among the Quezon contingent, but even that couldn’t keep her province in the running for at least one more round. Sad, but cuts had to be made.
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Maryfe Bello. This registered medical technologist was the Zamboanga Peninsula’s lone entry this year, but her presentations just didn’t stand out.