Miss Universe Philippines 2021: Eliminations (Round 3)

With the pageant approaching its final stretch, it was time to get to know the aspirants in depth. Unfortunately, the roster lost two candidates before the final round, including one early favorite:

CAGAYAN PROVINCE – Gianne Kryssee Asuncion (Withdrew). Her vaguely Korean features probably accounts for why this medical technologist is popular, with K-Pop and K-Drama being all the rage these days. Had she made the Top 30, she could have been a Top 15/Top 16 shoo-in. Alas, her momentum came to a screeching halt when she tested positive for COVID-19 and now has to spend pageant week to recover. Hopefully, she can finish what she started once the opportunity presents itself. She’s already built quite a following.  

BAGUIO CITY – Kristina Alexandra Rodriguez (Withdrew). Although not overtly stated, this high school graduate was playing the body diversity card. No official reason was given for her sudden withdrawal. But had she continued her pursuit, her bubbly personality would have made a solid mark. This now leaves last year’s host city out of the running.

The Interview Challenge was conducted by MUP Director of Communications Voltaire Tayag. Each candidate was asked three questions and given 45 seconds to respond. The challenge was uploaded in two batches in Empire‘s Youtube channel.

INTERVIEW CHALLENGE, PART 1: Agusan del Sur to La Union
INTERVIEW CHALLENGE, PART 2: Leyte to Valenzuela

The scores of this round determined the Final 30 who will compete in the telecast. Here’s a rundown of the 18 girls who missed the cut:

AGUSAN DEL SUR – Hershey Gail Dacera. No doubt, this proud Manobo has stageworthy enough looks to create a solid impression, but her shaky Top 50 Interview marred what could have been an auspicious debut for her CARAGA province.

BACOLOD CITY – Shane Pia. It’s nice to see the City of Smiles debut in this arena, even if she wasn’t the top favorite from her home island. She’s looked her best in the Interview Challenge, even if she failed to complete some responses. 

BATANGAS PROVINCE – Katrina Alyana Lopez Chavez. The Municipality of Agoncillo’s entrant was more textbook gorgeous, but this professional makes a distinct impression with her chic, shoulder-length cut. We could have used that look in the Top 30, but her choppy Interview Challenge may have sealed her fate. It’s a sad ending for her province, which fielded five candidates this year. 

CALAMBA, LAGUNA – Allaine Dolera. Some photos made her look like a contender, while some put her in the middle of the pack. Her biggest hurdle, however, was that there’s a more highly touted veteran making waves for her home province. Still, she managed to strike a positive impression and probably ranked among the Upper 30s.

CALOOCAN – Shyrla Santos Nuñez. This dentist bears a passing resemblance to former child singer Elha Nympha, who underwent quite a glow-up. Her high note was her Runway Challenge, which proved that one didn’t need a spectacular backdrop to deliver. She may not have been in heavy contention, but she registers well enough on camera to gain notice. 

CAPIZ – Cheri Angel Anne Flejoles. If the contest began and ended with the Headshot Challenge, this working student would be on the Top Five, bar none. It’s like meeting another Rabiya Mateo from another corner of Panay. But frankly, not all her subsequent photos generated the same level of impact and, decent as her Top 50 Interview was, she was ultimately outshone. Still, excluding her from the Top 30 might have been too harsh.

COTABATO PROVINCE – Angelin Summer Fernandez. There are angles in which she resembles  Miss Philippines Earth alumna turned news reporter Ginger Conejero. Overall, she gave a strong impression, but other favorites ultimately took precedence. 

DAVAO DEL NORTE – Pamela Framil. It’s interesting to note that her predecessor also sported short hair. While this gave her edge, three other Davaoeñas maintained collective upper hand. 

ILOCOS SUR – Kamille Alyssa Quiñola. Her popularity and strong challenge showings seemed to suggest vindication from her Miss Philippines Earth non-placement five years ago. Apparently, the judges had other thoughts. 

LA UNION – Meghan Sanglay. She has an interesting story to tell as she was raised in Ireland and was sent to an immersion in South Africa at age 15. She wasn’t a frontrunner, but she undeniably served looks and gave solid enough responses in her Interview Challenge. It’s hard to fathom how that performance could eliminate her. 

LEYTE – Mystymyles Jude Zaragoza. Her strongest suit is her vivacious personality, which was evident in how she could barely contain her energy in her profiles and in her Interview challenge. It was an impressive run, though it’s frustrating how this province has yet to make a complete run here (Her predecessor withdrew last year).

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL – Angela de Grano. The first candidate to withdraw last year hails from this province, and that was even before the pandemic. This year’s bet is a digital content creator based in Singapore, which explains why her Runway Challenge was shot near Marina Bay. She seemed to have enough popularity to make her a Top 30 shoo-in. But just like Ilocos Sur, she may not have been scored high enough by the judges.

NUEVA ECIJA – Maica Caibling Martinez. Eat Bulaga viewers know her from her Miss Millennial stint three years ago. Apart from that, another probable factor she made it this far is her music video-inspired Catwalk Challenge. The excessive edits may have distracted from her walk in parts, but it’s undeniably well-made. 

ORIENTAL MINDORO – Angelica Arwin Camu Evora. While not as formidable as her half-Japanese predecessor who deserved a better placement, this criminology student and catwalk dynamo is a worthy contender herself. It’s sad that they eliminated this province early two years in a row.  

QUEZON CITY – Patricia Samantha Go. Here’s an interesting contrast: Last year’s QC bet was a seasoned veteran who breezed through interview rounds with ease and finished 2nd Runner-Up. This year’s bet is a relative newcomer who stumbled through some of her interview responses. 

SAN RAFAEL, BULACAN – Janella Marie Ventura. While the half-Ghanian from Guiguinto was the more highly-buzzed, this self-published author is actually the most polished in her province. Yes, she was ultimately edged out, but there’s nothing to quibble about her performance at all.   

TACLOBAN CITY – Nepheline Dacuno. The powers-that-be may have ended up favoring more aspirants of the traditional mold, but this well-traveled young woman exudes a cosmopolitan vibe with the eloquence to boot. She also performed creditably in her Catwalk Challenge

VALENZUELA – Christiana Afia Yeboah. Just a comment out of jest: Her Top 50 Glam Shot looks like an album cover. What sets this engineer apart from the other half-Ghanian from Guiguinto is her distinctive afro. She would have added more international flavor onstage. Sadly at this juncture, it’s no longer a question of “weak vs. strong”, but rather who really impressed the most.

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