Karen Ibasco: Full Support on Carbon Tax

There was a buzz recently regarding Miss Philippines Earth Karen Ibasco when she was featured on the Department Of Finance press release for TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act). 

Natuarally I had to reach out to Karen and ask her to tell us more about it.  Here was she had to say: “I was invited by the DOF for the Senate hearing to say about the environmental aspect of carbon tax since the TRAIN  is on-going there is a section about the excise tax on petroleum products and this is a form of carbon tax. It is increasing the tax not just in gasoline but also in diesel, LPG and kerosene. Carbon tax will help people to transition using fossil fuel to renewable energy. I know it’s a lot to take in and it truly is a challenge to make people understand it because it will definitely cut more budget from their income but if people’s eyes will just be opened to what the Earth’s state is at this point in time they will also understand that this is a great investment for this generation and to the next one.

The medical physicist-slash-practitioner has been a supporter of alternative energy sources. It can be remembered that during the Miss Philippines Earth pageant she was already advocating for the Carbon Tax so that the country would start investing on more renewable sources of energy. Investing on renewable sources of energy would allow the country to lower its carbon emissions/ carbon footprint. This would mean that the Philippines wouldn’t be too dependent on oil and would be able to augment or even self-sustain itself on clean renewable energy.

Even as of writing, Karen’s schedule is packed with numerous speaking engagements and school tours advocating about the Miss Earth’s cause. Truly, she takes the pageant’s advocacy to heart.


Gabriela Ortega VS her Bb. Pilipinas Contract

The Binibining Pilipinas pageant is considered to be the premier pageant in the Philippines. So it is not a surprise that stringent measures are set up to protect its interests and image. That includes a 6-month non-competition clause that prevents its candidates from joining any other national pageants. That is one of the possible problems that Miss World Philippines candidate Gabriela Ortega would be facing.

Gabriela, if she manages to win a title in the MWP pageant, faces a fine that could amount to Php 500,000 or would face BPCI in court for breach of contract. The Spanish-speaking beauty, who was also a candidate earlier in Binibining Pilipinas, wouldn’t be able to finish the requisite 6 month ‘freezing period’ before joining another pageant.
It states in the Binibini contract that all candidates cannot join any national pageant within a six month time-frame starting from the date of the BBP finals. That means that all BBP candidates would have to wait until after October 30th to be able to join any national pageants.

This poses a jeopardy in the participation of Gabriela, unless she is able to find a loophole in the BPCI contract. Despite being a heavy favorite for the Reina Hispanoamericana title, she might be finding herself in a conundrum later on. Her ill-advised move to join Miss World Philippines might just cost her more… 

Cynthia Thomalla: Getting Stronger in the Competition

It seems like everything is going well for Cynthia Thomalla in Miss World Philippines. Currently the lovely Cebuana lass is one of the girls who is slaying the fast-tracks of the nationals.

The 5’7″ lass has managed to make it into a number of the  MWP fastttracks (which included Sports and Beach Beauty). Adding to that is a  well-spoken mind that would do her well in interviews. Not surprising as she is a Dean’s lister and a Tourism Events Management graduate from Maasin, Southern Leyte. Cynthia also has a whistlebait figure that goes well with her gorgeous face (possibly adding another Miss Photogenic award to her belt). The 22 year old German-Filipina has suicide prevention as part of her Beauty with a Purpose project. Her MWP profile reads: with the heart for service, she’s done public service in Cebu and has taught children about life and how they can give back to the community. With strong feelings against suicide, she pushes for awareness of its prevention.
She is currently being named as the face of the MWP pageant and is continuously gaining more steam as the competition progresses. It is no wonder that she is doing well in the fast-tracks and is expected to do the same come finals. Not a simple feat for this Kagandahang Flores Cebu trained beauty, her mentor Jonas Borces is gonna be proud of how his ward is currently performing.

As the MWP approaches, it is not surprising to see her name becoming stronger in the list of most probable winner. If everything falls into place, she might just find herself in the final two holding hands with another Kagandahang Flores bet, Janela Joy Cuaton, waiting to be named the Philippines’ bet for Miss World. 

A Miss Universe Winner from the Caribbean this Decade Coming Soon?

During my time as a pageant blogger and Miss Universe media correspondent, the Caribbean has always sent very gorgeous and articulate ladies to the MU pageant. So I wonder why we haven’t seen a MU winner from the Caribbean in this decade as of late?

Two of the most memorable Caribbean girls we have ever seen compete in Miss Universe are Yendi Phillips and Kaci Fennel. Yendi stuck on my minds during the 2010 opening with commander and her superb swimsuit performance. While we saw Kaci being hoisted up by fellow candidates as if she was the one who actually won in 2014. Both from Jamaica, both very articulate, both represent a diverse kind of beauty, and both very personable to pageant fans. Not to mention that they were quite strong during the question and answer portion of the pageant. And yet we only saw them place both as runners up, both to Latina winners.

Then we saw the 65th Miss Universe edition brimming with gorgeous girls from the Caribbean. Haiti, Aruba, Barbados, US Virgin Islands, Jamaica and Curacao all sent strong reps. Raquel Pelissier was involved in a research that could potentially cure blindness and we have Isabel Dalley who’s background as a diver/race-car driver adds more oomph to her resume. Carolyn Carter of the US Virgin Islands, Curacao’s Chanelle de Lau and Shannon Harris from Barbados even battled wits and charm during the dress rehearsals that people really felt like it was the finals. I had high expectations that this would be the year that a Caribbean girl will win MU and even placed Aruba’s Charlene Leslie  as my favorite to win. And yet among these girls only Raquel made it into the semis and eventually landed another 1st runner up finish.

With the already “in-process” redefining of the Miss Universe winner, we are hoping that we could see the likes of these girls not get wasted anymore. The Caribbean girls have much to offer just like their Latina counterparts…
This leads me to believe that a Caribbean Miss Universe winner is just nearing the horizon. I believe that it is a case of “when” not an “if”. The region keeps on sending really strong girls in the past several editions of the pageant, so we will be waiting for what they will have to offer this year. Something tells me that a Caribbean Miss Universe winner is #InTheMaking…

Was Demi Leigh Smart to Choose Miss Universe?

This photo is what first attracted me to write on this topic. The photo was almost like blindsighting everyone that she would choose to compete in China only to pick the opposite in the last minute. Was Miss South Africa Demi Leigh Nel-Peters smart to choose Miss Universe over participating in Miss World?

Here are my thoughts on this move…
First and foremost, I believe that this is a strategic move by her. Since 2001 (right after the Miss World back to back wins of India), no country has won the Miss World title within 5 years. That is with the exception of China who also hosted the pageant on the years that they won in 2007 & 2012. Fresh from South Africa’s Miss World victory in 2014, Demi’s decision to join MU instead is a smart move as she would have a higher chances of winning than in MW. 
Second, it has been decades since South Africa has won the MU title. She seems to know that the Miss Universe title seems to be a bigger deal nowadays since WME|IMG took over the pageant. It is evident by the current roster of winner from the MUOrg that is very diverse and accomplished. Her participation in MU would almost guarantee her a spot at the semis and even possibly a top 3 finish. She probably knows that the MU would be able to capitalize on her participation in the pageant.

The competition is not yet underway and we can’t wait to see her in action. Hopefully, she is able to bring the same energy around her to the Miss Universe pageant as she is having now. Once she steps out on the host country, that is when the real heat will come…

The Hunky Candidates of Mister Grand International

It seems that the inaugural Mister Grand International is attracting quite a number of hunky and handsome competitors. Just check out these photo-collages of the reported candidates that will arrive come September 28th in Manila.

Caique Campos, Brazil – Jordan Marin Gomez, Colombia
Abel Diaz, Ecuador – Mickael Aghadjanian, France
Ádám Soltész, Hungary – Debojit Bhattacharya, India
Valerio Patane, Italy – Riku Yuasa, Japan
Kian Ching, Malaysia – Ever Tellez, Mexico
Renzo Vitteri, Peru – Engel Garcia Colon, Puerto Rico
Victor Haro, Spain – Nguyen Tien Dat, Vietnam

Finals is slated on October 6th at the Crossroad Center in Quezon City.

GotPh2017 at Hannah’s Beach in Pagudpud

It’s male pageant season ahead and the hunks of the Gentlemen of the Philippines is gonna make a splash real soon!

The candidates of Gentlemen of the Philippines 2017 will be having a scheduled activity in Hannah’s Beach Resort and Convention Center. Set on 7 hectares of hillside gardens alongside Blue Lagoon Beach, this resort is the newest and most exciting vacation destination in Northern Luzon.  It is situated right in front of the famous Blue Lagoon (Maira-ira Beach) at Brgy. Balaoi, Malingay, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. It will play host for the Preliminary Competition of GotPh2017 from September 1-3.  This would be the first time that the resort would play host to a male competition which traditionally holds activities for Miss Earth, Miss World Philippines, Miss Philippines Earth, Miss Global, Mutya ng Pilipinas among others.

The finals will be held at the Grand Ballroom of Hotel Rembrandt on September 9. Titles up for grabs would be Mister Universal Ambassador, Mister Model International, Best Global Model of the Year and Mister Tourism World.

The Merry-Go-Around Venue for Miss Universe 2017

This year has been a merry-go-round ride when it comes to the venue and host country for the 2017 edition of the Miss Universe pageant. We have heard rumors of possible venues coming from different quarters and we all wait in bated breath for the official announcement from the MUOrg.

In recent years the Miss Universe competition has been having difficulties in finding a venue for the annual competition. It started in 2014 when for the first time in the pageant’s history, it was moved to January of the next year. In 2015, two MU pageants were held less than a year apart.
This year would be a repeat of that scenario as the 65th Miss Universe pageant was held earlier in January 2017. There was also a negotiation that took place to have it held this year in the Philippines come November. However, this didn’t push through as the Philippine government, through the Department of Tourism advised that due to peace and order situations in certain parts of the country.

Then it was being negotiated to have the pageant in Honolulu, Hawaii. The 50th US state was interested because it would have been the 20th anniversary of the Miss Universe victory of Brook Mahealani Lee.  This also failed to push through as the proposed venue could not support the required rigging and pageant equipment necessary for the finals.

But before these two possible venues were being discussed, it was already reported that Australia wanted to host the 2017 and 2018 editions. Perth was said to be the most likely venue as it already hosted the pageant way back in 1979 (where the notorious stage collapse took place). However, talks didn’t flourish and it is rumored that the budget constraints were an issue.
Then it is now discussed that the pageant will return to American soil as Phoenix, Arizona is said to be this year’s venue. The rumor was pervasive as a number of Latin pageant groups have already discussed November 26 as the airing date. It is said that the pageant is being scheduled to the Thanksgiving weekend to push for better television ratings as families would be spending their time at home.

Despite these numerous issues of finding a pageant venue, the Miss Universe pageant still generates much buzz online…whether the venue will be in Manila or pushed to the following year or if the reigning queen would have a full 12 month’s reign. The pageant still enjoys a lion’s share on the online buzz it creates and of the following of pageant fans around the world, er the universe rather…

PhotoCollage of the Day: The Miss Universe Evening Gown Top-Scorers

Back in 2015, on my old blog, I wrote an interesting article on the top scorers in the Miss Universe pageant’s evening gown competitions. While I could no longer extract the contents from that previous article, I thought it would be interesting to do a photo-collage on the evening gown top scorers. Note that these scores were taken when the telecast would flash the scores of the girls onscreen, something that was taken out during the 2000’s.

#5 – Taliana Vargas, Colombia – Beatriz Camacho, designer
#4 Wendy Fitzwilliams, Trinidad & Tobago – Badgley & Mischka, designers
#3 Minorka Mercado, Venezuela – Angel Sanchez, designer
#2 Alicia Machado, Venezuela – Angel Sanchez, designer
#1 Carolina Gomez, Colombia – Jaime Arango, designer

Other girls who made it into the top 10 all time best scorers are:
6. Angela Visser, Netherlands
7. Paula Andrea Betancourt, Colombia
8. Verna Vasquez, Curacao
9. Sushmita Sen, India
10 Lana Buchberger, Canada

A Pageant Break Filled with Beauty Queens

During the past several weeks,  I was feeling a bit burned out with the stress of coming up with a blogpost everyday. So I made the decision to take a short break and relax away from pageants. I was expecting a full week of non-pageant related meet ups with friends and family in Manila… but that was the farthest from what happened during my vacation.
I did not expect that my vacation in Manila would bring me to meet a number of beauty queens during my short stay. From Janela Joy Cuaton, to Angelique de Leon, to Elizabeth Clenci, Karen Ibasco and Rachel Peters, I was able to converse and meet them up all crammed into several days.

The first one I had encountered was Janela Joy Cuaton during her presentation of her MWP Intro vid and BWAP project. In person Janela was charming and full of energy. She actually had a very small face and looked prettier in person. After a year, I was also able to meet again Angelique de Leon and her mom Tita Vicky. It was a blast to see Angie once again who was looking even more beautiful these days. She really has bloomed with her makeup tutorial as she was sporting red eye makeup that looked great on her. She’s as kalog, funny and as witty ever.

Then I met Miss Universe Philippines Rachel Peters and Miss Philippines Earth Karen Ibasco. Rachel, who was wearing flats at that time, was every inch competition ready. She actually has a small face, tiny waist, and long legs in person. She was also sporting a nice tan and was looking gorgeous with very minimal make up. That evening I was able to talk lengthily to Rachel about what I have observed during the three Miss Universe pageants I was able to cover. Karen on the other hand was very well put together. The girl clearly knows her fashion and was styled impeccably. I joked with them that I might run out of English words as both girls were very articulate and have great command of English.

The last girl I was able to meet was Bb. Pilipinas Grand International, Elizabeth Clenci. I would have to say that she is hands down the girl that floored me. Undeniably, she is the best Filipina rep this year in terms of speaking skills and confidence. She could talk about anything under the sun and would even make the most boring of topics sound interesting. She is indeed that good!

While I may have met with a number of beauty queens, I wished that I was able to meet Catriona Gray or Angelia Ong or even Mariel de Leon in any of their public appearances. It would also be interesting to meet Cynthia Thomalla, but her meet and greet was moved on the last minute so I wasn’t able to attend. I would also cherish the chance to see Chanel Olive Thomas and ask how was her move from MPE to BBP. But those perhaps are reserved for another time, maybe in the near possible future. I may see myself back in Manila some time soon!