Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Candidate Review, Part 3


ZAMBALES – Joanna Marie Rabe (Withdrew). Before making waves as Jojowannabe, this streamer tried her luck in Mutya ng Pilipinas 2016 and Miss World Philippines 2017. Although unsuccessful in both tilts, she has since grown into a seasoned contender, judging from her online challenges. It’s unfortunate that she was struck by dengue fever before the pageant began as this was gearing up to be her best shot yet. 

DAVAO CITY- Ybonne Ortega (Withdrew). This physical therapy graduate bears a passing resemblance to last year’s heavily-buzzed representative, Alaiza Flor Malinao, with hints of Miss World Philippines 2012 Queenie Rehman. She seemed to be the most promising among this year’s Davao group, but, sadly, she tested positive for COVID-19 when the pageant commenced. Good thing she’s only 23. She has more time for the “stars to align”, to partially quote her Instagram post.  

CAVITE – Victoria Velasquez Vincent. This architecture graduate of Kiwi upbringing emerged as a top contender after winning the Top 50 Interview Challenge – a victory well-earned, as one can’t help but listen to her relaxed and articulate manner of speaking. Other favorites may have topped the swimsuit and evening gown categories at the moment, but if she enters the Top Five, she’ll be a formidable threat.  

MISAMIS ORIENTAL – Chella Grace Falconer. Of the four Mutya ng Pilipinas alumna still in the running, she’s the only one without a previous title. Well, it seems a shift of luck is due for this tourism ambassador, as she upstaged her MNP sisters in the preliminaries, one way or the other. She might even outrank some of them this time around. 

TAGUIG – Katrina Jayne Dimaranan. This seasoned veteran may have finished 1st Runner-Up in Miss Supranational 2018 representing the United States. Now, she’s back to settle unfinished business. As many would recall, she never got the chance to represent our country as Bb. Pilipinas-Tourism 2012 because that international pageant got cancelled. Well, she’s certainly proven her mettle in both local and international tilts and her experience is evident in all rounds. For sure, she’ll fight until the end. Given the presence of other tough contenders, though, fulfilling that un-actualized dream may not come easy. 

AKLAN – Christelle Anjali Abello. Well, this confirms that they allow multiple tries in this pageant, which also probably begs the question: “Where are the rest?”. Her previous placement likely paved the way for being 2021’s GSM Calendar Girl, yet here she is back with an edgier look. She’s still every ounce a contender. But with an increased level of competition in this go-round, surpassing last year’s feat feels less assured. 

ANGELES CITY – Mirjan Hipolito. The last Pampangueña standing writes about stock market for a living. And speaking of which, her stocks here are at a record high. She already has the popularity, given how she was in the Top 15 of the challenge votes, and she certainly solidified the hype with her preliminary performance. Granted she holds her own against the favored veterans, she can steal a Top Five slot.

MAKATI CITY – Isabelle de los Santos. Being a member of Third World Improv means she has oodles of charm and vibrance, and that certainly reflects in her interviews. It’s also impressive how aced both swimsuit and evening gown segments, considering that she hasn’t done this before. She may not be a clear cut favorite, but a surprise won’t be far-fetched. 

MARINDUQUE – Simone Nadine Bornilla. At 18, she’s the youngest of the lot. She also has a heartwarming human interest story, as she was raised by two fathers. Those tidbits definitely spell out “Top 30 Shoo-In”, and while the pageant inexperience is still evident, the support is strong.

CEBU PROVINCE – Steffi Rose Aberasturri. The moment she previewed her fiery catwalk on that unfinished bridge, we knew she was unstoppable. It’s hard to believe that this queendera’s new to nationals. But really, that strut was refined by years and years of joining provincial tilts and winning at almost every turn. Judging from her preliminaries, she’s ready for the global leagues. But it’ll be a neck-and-neck battle with seasoned veterans and heavy favorites to get there. 

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