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…

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!

Dayanara Torres’ Philippine Comeback Gets Delayed

Miss Universe Dayanara Torres’ showbiz comeback to the Philippines has been pushed back and here is what she says about it…

Arriving in the Philippines was honestly like coming back home. The love, the smiles, the hugs… it was as if I had never left. My heart was filled with so much love and emotions…brought tears to my eyes…such an emotional journey!… It was only at the beginning of this year that I was able to go back to a country that is very dear to my heart, a country that gave me the opportunity to live, work, and make so many wishes come true.
I was ecstatic when I heard that this year’s Miss Universe pageant was coming back to the Philippines. I knew in my heart I needed to be there! So many memories, so many friendships…
Arriving in the Philippines was honestly like coming back home. The love, the smiles, the hugs…it was as if I had never left. My heart was filled with so much love and emotions… brought tears to my eyes…such an emotional journey! My days were full – in-between my duties as one of the Miss Universe judges – but always making time aside to meet with my old friends and co-workers.

Lots of ideas and opportunities kept coming…the shows of ABS-CBN, and then I became a member of the Belo Family and Luxxe Renew. I’ve been pretty much dedicated and involved with my sons’ lives… and now they are much older and I have been able to get back to my career, little by little. The timing was perfect!
My summer was set, I was ready to go back to the Philippines for the whole summer! I even planned to bring the boys for part of the summer too.
Unfortunately, the two projects that were supposed to keep me busy in Manila were pushed back a year!
Although I’ve been sad about this, I’m still hopeful that things will turn out when they are supposed to…my Love and admiration for the Philippines and its loving people remains in my heart…
Will always keep in touch through my social media @dayanarapr (especially on Instagram) ­any news, events happening…you’ll be the first to know!
Until I come back…hopefully very soon! Hanggang sa muli. Mahal ko kayong lahat! Love…” — Dayanara Torres

* http://www.philstar.com/psn-showbiz/2017/08/21/1731087/babalikang-trabaho-ni-dayanara-naudlot
* https://www.abante.com.ph/ansabeeeh-pagbabalik-ni-dayanara-sa-pinas-lumabo.htm

#FashionFridays: Miss Universe Wardrobe Wishlist for Rachel Peters

I have talked a couple of weeks ago about preparing your pageant wardrobe. And today’s #FashionFridays post will be about my take on a pageant wardrobe for Miss Universe Philippines Rachel Peters.
Rachel has a fun loving free spirited vibe to her. But there is a kind of feminine sensuality in her that isn’t overtly seen. Rachel shines best when she wears clothes without too much frills…no fussy details, no laces, no florals, just clean lines. So I imagined that she would be perfect in a wardrobe that is a shout-out to designers like Balmain, Lanvin and Versace.

The Silhouettes: linear silhouettes to emphasize Rachel’s height and proportions, boned corseted bodices that act like armour, pinched waists
The Colors: Gold, Mango and Canary (only for the key pieces of the collection)
The Fabrics: silk gazaar, silk back crepe, mid-weight coated twill,
The Design Elements: huge flirty flounces, zipper back details on pencil skirts, suede finish crocodile tone-on-tone prints, Swarovski crystals in different shapes & sizes mirroring shattered glass, printed paillettes with matte gold back…

A collection of daywear separates

The first set of clothes is a group of separates that comprises of a corset and cigarette pants that has printed sequins with matte gold back (which changes colors depending on how one pats down the sequins), a pencil skirt with suede croc print and a zip back detail, a loose square blazer with tone-on-tone gold-thread embroidery, a double breasted sleeveless blazer with corseted bodice and slim leg pants both with suede croc print. This set conveys strong empowered young woman.

A collection of more formal clothes for events…

The second group of clothes are dressier outfits that can cross from day to nighttime events. Huge flounces, printed sequins, suede finish crocodile prints and back zip details adds coherence in this group. This has a more decidedly sexy vibe to it but adds some flirty fun into it.

Evening gowns and Interview outfits… The pleated ball gown has a deep V on the back as the front but with gold-thread embroidery.
Evening gowns and Interview outfits…

The last set has a haute couture feel to it that is gonna have people look twice on the wearer. A play on symmetry and pattern manipulation is made on these outfits to have more of an Alber Elbaz’ Lanvin feel to them. Nude tulle detail with embroidery or polymorphic crystal detail ties the gowns together. Bling is dialed down to a minimum but the exaggerated flounces and swags adds enough drama to the entire collection.
This collection is a simple wishlist and an exercise in creativity. Hopefully Rachel would be given a great wardrobe for Miss Universe this year. 

An Encounter with Miss Philippines Earth 2017, Karen Ibasco

I was perhaps one of a couple of people who have predicted correctly the victory of Miss Philippines Earth 2017, Karen Ibasco… and to meet her in person was such a good treat.

It was a rainy evening in Greenbelt 3 where I met her for the first time courtesy of Sir Rodgil Flores of the Kagandahang Flores camp. The 5’7″ stunner is blessed with milky white skin and reminded me of former Bb. Pilipinas Maja, Marina Benipayo. Karen was one of the smartest beauty queens I have ever encountered with her intelligence and strong communications skills. Wearing a black cropped top with a full pant and a white sleeveless slouchy trench, she looked every inch a beauty queen. I hope that she take some cues on this ensemble as it shows a stronger, empowered and very statuesque side of hers.

One of the points we were able to talk about is how the Miss Earth this year is going to be a test of stamina. She narrated that the ME schedule would almost be a month long pageant. All the girls will be divided in at least 3 groups, though we would have to wait for confirmation as an expected 100 candidates are said to join this year. They will be touring around the Philippines from the North (Ilocos) down to the South (Davao). Karen’s schedule is still quite busy with different public appearances and school tours that she is a bit concerned that it is eating time from her training and preparations for ME.

I wish I had a little more time with Karen, but I assured her that I will be able to see her compete on November 4 at MOA Arena. Confidently, I can say that she is going to bring back the Philippines in the semis this year and at least an elemental title is not far behind…

Demi Leigh: Bye Miss World, Hello Miss Universe!

It can finally be said Miss South Africa Demi Leigh Nel-Peters is competing in Miss Universe!

She posted this message on her social media confirming her participation: “I’m so excited to finally share with everyone…. We’re going to UNIVERSE! ✨👑 I’m saying “we” because I know that just like Miss South Africa we’ll go on this journey together and I can’t wait to share it with each and every one of you! 💞🎉 To think, a year ago I first entered Miss South Africa as a small town girl with very big dreams and soon I’ll be saying with the utmost pride…. “Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, 22, SOUTH AFRICAAAA
In a press statement she mentioned the following: “I am extremely excited and proud to represent our Rainbow Nation and cannot wait to wear the name ‘South Africa’ proudly across my chest. It has been 39 years since a South African wore the Miss Universe crown and I promise to dedicate and commit myself to ensure the crown will once again be on South African soil.

This news comes as a fresh breather considering that a number of past Miss South Africa winners often opt to compete in Miss World if the competition dates for both MW and MU overlap. She follows France’s Alicia Aylies (the pageant’s top winner) who opted to compete in Miss Universe instead of Miss World…


Miss Universe 2017: Phoenix Symphony Hall or Comerica Theatre?

The Miss Universe 2017 pageant venue hasn’t been announced officially yet I am already speculating where in Phoenix, Arizona is it possibly going to be held. So far only two possible venues come to mind: the Phoenix Symphony Hall and the Comerica Theatre (known formerly as Dodge Theatre).

The recent Miss Teen USA was held at the Phoenix Symphony Hall and it can be assumed that this will also be this year’s venue. Situated at Downtown Phoenix, it is located beside the Phoenix Convention Center. According to phoenixconventioncenter.com the Symphony hall is “home to The Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona and a variety appearances by popular entertainers. This multi-purpose facility seats 2,312 guests and is available for special events, general sessions and business seminars.” However, it might not be a viable option as it is said to be booked for Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue which runs from November 24 to 26. This conflicts with the rumored November 26th finals of the pageant.

So the other possible venue would be the Comerica Theatre which is just several blocks away from the Phoenix Convention Center. According to comericathreatre.com, it is “a 5,000 seat entertainment venue located in the heart of downtown Phoenix. The unique design of Comerica Theatre has changed the way people think about live entertainment, as it marries the classic theatre style with the pulsating excitement of modern arena technologies. The theatre’s state-of-the art music & sound systems are perfect for concerts, comedy performances as well as theatre and family friendly shows.” This could perhaps be the better option as its seating capacity is bigger and could sell up twice as much tickets as Symphony Hall.
All of these are just speculations on my part. But it does get the mind rolling if this would eventually happen to be this year’s Miss Universe venue…

Laura, Cynthia and Janela: Who will Emerge as the Best?

This year’s crop of Miss World Philippines candidates leaves us wanting… for more…a lot more. Thankfully there are three outstanding girls who could be the next rep to Miss World.

Laura Lehmann – 5’9″, 23 years old. Articulate, very foreign looking but a strong contender for the title. It would be her weakness to be too mestiza looking for the title but she might be able to pull it off like how Valerie Weigmann did in 2014.
Cynthia Thomalla – 5’7″, 22 years old. German-Filipina mestiza and everybody’s darling with her fresh-faced beauty. This lass IMHO is arguably the face of this year’s pageant with her gorgeous face and magnetic appeal. 
Janela Joy Cuaton -5’7″, 20 years old. Strong BWAP with a chameleon-like ability to change faces from girl-next-door to superstar-diva in a snap. Charming and saccharine, she is still the best girl overall to compete internationally among this year’s front-runners.

It pains to see that there is only one title that is high profile in the pageant. It would be such a waste to see Laura sent to Miss Eco-International or Cynthia to Miss Multinational. Nevertheless, the battle is set for these three girls to duke it out on the finals. I feel one of them would have to face the burden of succeeding Catriona Gray as Miss World Philippines.