The Binibining Pilipinas 2021 pageant is turning out to be more exciting than expected with what appears to be a battle of prototypes for the four coveted titles.
The national costume and swimsuit presentations of the 34 official candidates earlier this month showed a glimpse of what could be one of the most competitive batches of Binibinis even in the absence of the Miss Universe Philippines crown for the first time in 50 years.
Pageants sites, experts and aficionados all agree that this batch has a harvest of prototypes for the Miss International crown—that Barbie-doll face with sweet and demure demeanor, but a slayer in presentation.
Six candidates stood out during the preliminary events to fit the Miss International (MI) crown—Binibinis 8 (Patricia Denise Batista of Quezon), 12 (Cinderella Faye Obenita of Cagayan de Oro), 15 (Karen Laurrie Mendoza of Iloilo), 17 (Hannah Arnold of Masbate), 19 (Gabrielle Basiano of Borongan, Samar) and 23 (Jashmin Dimaculangan of Albay).
The Philippines so far has six winners from the Japan-based pageant: Gemma Cruz (1964), Aurora Pijuaj (1970), Melanie Marquez (1979), Precious Lara Quigaman (2005), Bea Rose Santiago (2013) and Kylie Versoza (2016).
The country likewise has had strong placements in the last two years with 2018 representative Athisa Manila placing first runner up and 2019 bet Patch Magtanong finishing in the Top 8.
The consistent performance of Filipinas in MI is not exactly puzzling since they train under the watch of Madame Stella Marquez de Araneta, the first winner of the pageant in 1960 from Colombia. On the other hand, the younger Miss Grand International (MGI) crown remains elusive to Filipinas.
But hope springs eternal for the next Philippine bet in the rather controversial pageant after the country’s representative in the last edition held last March, Samantha Bernardo, placed first runner-up.
In this batch of Binibinis, there are also six who can pass as MGI prototype, which is arguably comparable to that of Miss Universe which its founder, “Ankol” Nawat Itsaragrisil, hopes to compete with. They are Binibinis 1 (Samantha Panlilio of Cavite), 7 (Meiji Cruz of Valenzuela), 10 (Maureen Montagne of Batangas), 14 (Justine Felizarta of Davao del Sur), 16 (Kimberly Tiquestiques of Balagtas, Bulacan) and 25 (Honey Cartasano of Rizal).
Apart from fierceness and killer pasarela, the battle for the Miss Grand Philippines crown ultimately depends on the question-and-answer round of the Binibining Pilipinas pageant since the franchise requires the representative to be a good public speaker as there will be speech and question-and-answer rounds during the MGI pageant.
As for the Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental and Globe crowns, experts are also looking into the country’s previous title holders as standards—Miss Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman and Miss Globe 2015 Ann Colis.
Two morena beauties could fit these two crowns: Binibinis 20 (Lovely Mercado of Roxas, Isabela) and 27 (Graciella Lehmann of Oriental Mindoro).
Just like in previous batches, many in this year’s Binibinis are either returning or crossover candidates from other national pageants.
The coronation of the 57th edition of Binibining Pilipinas pageant will be held at the Araneta City in Cubao, Quezon City on July 11 to be hosted by Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and Miss Grand International 2016 first runner-up Nicole Cordoves.
Photos courtesy of Bb. Pilipinas