If I exclude everything but the evening gown and make it as the sole criterion for judging in the recently concluded Miss Universe Philippines 2021, I’d probably still be stumped picking a winner between Beatrice Luigi “Bea” Gomez and Katrina Dimaranan.
According to a source, Bea, who eventually won the title, edged out Katrina in the evening gown competition. The Cebu City lass, says the observer, seemed to know when to peak. She also appeared more confident and radiant on stage than the pageant veteran from Taguig during the crucial finals night.
Bea, the insider adds, also succeeded in slowly chipping away at whatever edge Katrina had over her in the earlier preliminary competitions. Her strategy, if ever she had one, eventually paid off, earning for her a place in history as the first openly lesbian beauty queen from the Philippines.
But in my book, Katrina, who wore a light, flowy white number was slightly ahead if the contest were to go down to who looked better and more at ease in the fashion department. I still don’t get the rationale behind the huge gold-colored eagle pinned on the left side of her chest, but it’s a visual flourish that didn’t add nor subtract from the gowns’ simplicity, elegance and the goddess feels it exuded.
This isn’t to say that Bea’s chosen attire, a beaded blue number with a Venus neckline, didn’t work. It flattered her figure, making her look more statuesque than her already tall 5’9” frame. It’s just that I’m partial to superbly cut and unembellished dresses that already looks great without any need for superfluous bling. Majority of the judges thought differently.
Together with the last two women standing, here’s my list of the Top 6 looks that wowed on finals night:
Taguig’s Katrina Dimaranan in Veejay Floreca
If you’re as tall, as shapely, and as dusky as Katrina, you could probably wear almost anything and get away with it. What worked in her favor is the dress’ simplicity and the fact that white flattered her olive skin. Except for that eagle brooch, the seeming lack of visual pasabog in her chosen dress also revealed her confidence as a pageant veteran and frontrunner. It’s as if she was saying to everyone that the eagle has landed. And how!
Cebu City’s Bea Gomez in Furne Amato
It’s a fail-safe and classic look that displayed the Cebuana’s assets to the fullest: thigh-high slit that showcased legs for miles; form-fitting silhouette that hugged at the right places; and vibrant color as well as just the right amount of bling that reached every inch and corner of the room. If royal blue worked for Queen Pia, why couldn’t it work for Queen Bea?
Pangansinan’s Maureen Wroblewitz in Ushi Sato
After wearing a stiff green column that seemed to have a life of its own in the preliminaries, Maureen shone and showed everyone on finals night why she’s one of the country’s leading models in Ushi’s white number that’s soft, light and playful to the eyes. If Katrina was the evening’s goddess, Maureen was its fairy, leaving behind a virtual trail of silvery dust as she traipsed by. Swoosh!
Laguna’s Leren Mae Bautista in Chico Estiva
Like I said many times before, every pageant has its resident standout golden girl. Sorry, but all the other girls who chose to wear gold (and even silver) on finals night looked like they were wrapped in bronze next to Leren. Classic cut, impeccable execution and lovely wearer equals top podium finish.
Aklan’s Christelle Abello in Chery Veric
Had MUP given an award for Miss Consistent, Christelle would have won the title hands-down. Since Day One of the pageant, no one was as constant as this Aklanon in channeling her chosen peg: sassy Bond girl that would have upstaged James himself. And finals night was no different, as she kicked ass in Cherry’s airy see-through halter with a thigh-high slit that nearly revealed everything, including her panties. Ka-pow!
Masbate’s Kirsten “Kisses” Delavin in Louis Pangilinan
If you tuned in looking for surprises, Kisses didn’t disappoint, as she pulled off one of the evening’s biggest transformations in an immaculate white corset with serpentine skirt and floor-sweeping “cape sleeves.” Sure, the look has been done and reinterpreted to death a gazillion times. But on Kisses, it somehow managed to look fresh. An oddity in the world of beauty pageants, Kisses came into the contest looking every inch a pop princess in the social media age. She came out of it nearly looking like a queen.
Photos courtesy of Miss Universe Philippines