Philippines’ Best in National Costume Wins

Not known to many pageant fans, the Philippines has won the Best in National Costume award in the Miss International, Miss Earth and Miss Universe pageants. This is the list of the Filipinas who won the coveted special award.

For a Clothing Technology graduate like yours truly, the national costume is one of our favorite aspects of pageantry. And our fascination is specially peaked by the Philippine national costumes worn in the different international pageants. The reason perhaps is of course due to a semester studying all about the development of the Philippine costumes.

Before we proceed, let it be known that among the four biggest international pageants in existence, only the Miss World pageant does not award the Best in National Costume consistently. In fact it has only awarded that only twice or thrice in its 60+ year history. It is interesting to note, however, that in 1972 Filipina Onelia Jose won the award for “Most Original Gown” in the Miss World pageant. Several pageant fans have wrongly attributed it as a Best in National Costume win. The Philippines have won the costume award in the Miss International, Miss Earth and Miss Universe pageants at least once.

Filipina Best in National Costume winners (L-R): Dolores Ascalon, Melanie Marquez and Yolanda Dominguez
  • Yolanda Dominguez, MI 1972 – aside from winning 2nd runner up in the 1972 Miss International pageant, Yogi also was the first ever recipient of the “Miss Costume” award in the Tokyo-based pageant. Unfortunately, there are not much available resources on the material and make of Yogi’s award winning terno. The 5’5” raven-haired lass received a plaque for winning Best in National Costume.
  • Maria Dolores Ascalon, MI 1976 – just like Yogi’s costume, there are not enough resources for Dolores’ national costume except for the fact that it was another Philippine terno that won the award. This was the second of three instances that the Philippines won this award in the MI pageant.
  • Mimilanie Marquez, MI 1979 – Miss International 1979 surely knows how to grab attention with her 5’11” frame. Melanie wore a Renee Salud terno made from red tulle and sequins. Her red terno was decked fully with sequins with a tulle skirt and stole. So far we do not have any colored images of Melanie in her costume but you can see glimpse of her national costume on the 2:24 mark on the YouTube video below.
  • Charlene Gonzales, MU 1994 – the T’boli and Manobo inspired costume in gold and bronze was a creation of the late Pitoy Moreno. The ensemble features a Manobo blouson top and headress. The skirt and blouse was embellished with T’nalak panels and adorned with T’boli brass bells. The headdress is also fitted with brass bells. A beaded T’boli/ B’laan belt with tiny brass bells completes the ensemble. This costume would have made noise as it is paraded and would certainly be an attention grabber.

  • Karen Ibasco, ME 2017 – this Maria Clara costume is the recipient for the gold medal for the national costume for Asia Pacific. It is the only costume in this list that wasn’t named as the only best costume during its year. Designed by Louie Pangilinan, this intricately printed and embroidered piece is inspired by the various stained glass windows seen in Catholic Cathedrals in the country. What made it more striking is the way the black bodice seems to make the stained glass print looks like it is illuminated from the back.
  • Gazini Ganados, MU 2019 – the Philippine Eagle inspired national costume is a masterpiece by Cebuano master couturier, Cary Santiago. The headpiece frames Gazini’s face while she mimicked how the eagle moves its head. Laser cut feathers adorn the gown with a back ‘peacock extension’. The extension fans out like an eagle’s tail feathers when the wearer raises her hand. On the shoulder of the ensemble sits two majestic Philippine Eagles. Surprisingly, not a single feather was used to create this costume, all are made from fabric.

Looking at our record, it seems that the Philippine terno is the ‘winning-est’ national costume we have. All three Best in National Costume wins in Miss International features the Philippine terno. Interesting to note that aside from Karen Ibasco’s Maria Clara costume, the other notable Maria Clara costume used in pageants was that of Zorayda Ruth Andam’s at the 2001  Miss Universe in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Aside from these on the list, which other national costumes do you think should have won best national costume in their respective international competitions?

How Much is the Annual Franchise Fee for Miss Universe?

Is the MU franchise fee is too expensive to pay for any pageant powerhouse country? How much does pageant franchise holders have to pay every year to the Miss Universe organization?

It is said that the Miss Universe pageant franchise varies from country to country. Smaller countries who have little competition in their hometown for a rival pageant could pay around US$ 10,000 for the annual fee. And if a country wins the MU title, they are exempt from paying the franchise fee the subsequent year.

In the Philippines, BPCI through its Chairperson Stella Marquez Araneta has a stable cash cow with the annual Binibining Pilipinas pageant thus is able to pay off the annual franchise payments. The BPCI stalwart has been able to manage 50 years of holding the franchise with her ability to manage the funds of the pageant. Pageant insiders has it that by the late 2000’s, the Philippines pays around US$ 40,000 annually. Rumored updated figures have it now between US$ 50,000- 60,000.

Alpha Pageant Franchise Fees
The (unconfirmed) Franchise Fee estimates of the Alpha Four Pageants…

During Mariangel Ruiz’ time the Venezuelan franchise was only around US$ 70,000.00 to 80,000. And she too had the misfortune of almost not being able to be sent to MU, until other countries stepped in to pay the lacking amount. But that was in 2003, recent reports say that the Venezuelan franchise fee may currently be around US$ 100,000. However, some pageant insiders estimates that it could be more and we may be looking at a figure between US$ 110,000- 120,000.

Those amounts seem to be too exorbitant compared to the annual US$ 10,000 franchise fees for Miss World. But that comes with a catch, each national organization has to select a national winner in a separate beauty pageant. And we know how extremely difficult it is to set up two national pageants for MW and MU. Just ask Osmel Sousa when he headed the Miss Venezuela oraganization. It is clear how the Miss World Venezuela pageant is less spectacular than the main Miss Venezuela pageant itself. Even the candidates of the MW-Venezuela are somewhat ‘recycled’ from previous MW editions. That is altogether a different expense that could impound to a struggling national pageant. Nowadays with three different national directors heading the pageant, the MW-Venezuela is selected from the pool of the MV pageant and is scheduled ahead.

Although the exact figures are unconfirmed, we are looking at huge amounts of money being spent annually. After all, the franchise fees are one of the sources of revenue for the Miss Universe organization. Rumor has it that the MUOrg’s parent company IMG Endeavour has since asked the pageant to be self-sustainable/ self-sufficient financially. Hence, we will be seeing increases in fees in the coming years and possibly even more national franchise turnovers…

NOTE: this post was originally published in July 2017 and is updated for relevancy and accuracy.

IMG|WME in Financial Trouble, Miss Universe Pageant Survival in Question

The Miss Universe parent company Endeavor, suffered another setback as its credit ratings has been downgraded to a “substantial risk”.

Endeavor, formerly IMG|WME, has its S&P credit rating lowered. It has been downgraded from B to CCC, which means that the company is currently vulnerable and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial commitments. The credit rating agency also changed the company’s outlook to negative.

S&P Global Ratings (previously Standard & Poors) is an American credit rating agency that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks, bonds, and commodities. S&P developed the standard rating scale used to rate both short- and long-term debt.


Endeavor currently has an astonishing $4.6 billion in long-term debts and overall liabilities totaling $7.2 billion. With a large chunk of its business is on live events like the Miss Universe pageant, the current coronavirus pandemic puts it in a more precarious state that it has raised questions about Endeavor’s ability to survive. Continue reading “IMG|WME in Financial Trouble, Miss Universe Pageant Survival in Question”

The Evolution of the Miss Universe Crown

With the introduction of the new Mouawad crown last year, let’s take a stroll back in time and revisit all the crowns used in the Miss Universe pageant…

This post is all about the crowns used in the Miss Universe pageant and how it has evolved through time. While I already have posted individually on each of the 9 crowns previously used of Miss Universe, I realized that I never had one post on all of them. Hence, we are featuring all of them in one easy post with links to the individual features on the crowns (to know more about the make, cost and years in use).

* The First Miss Universe Crown – The Romanov Nuptial Crown
Arguably the most expensive crown that has ever graced an international pageant. This crown may have been insured for US$500,000 at that time but it is actually priceless due to its association with the Romanov Imperial family. More on the Romanov crown here.

* The Second Miss Universe Crown – The Bronze Crown of 1953
Not much is know about this crown and remains to be one of the most enigmatic crowns of the pageant. This was only used once in crowning a winner. More of the Bronze crown here.
* The Third Miss Universe Crown – The Star of the Universe Crown
This is perhaps one of the most expensive crowns made specifically for the Miss Universe pageant as it is made out of pearls set in gold. The crown was so expensive that it can only be worn by the winner 3 times throughout her reign. More on the crown here.
* The Fourth Miss Universe Crown – The 10th Anniversary Crown
This is the first rhinestone crown used in crowning the winner of the pageant. This is only used twice. Read more on this link.

* The Fifth Miss Universe Crown – The Lady Crown AKA The Sarah Coventry Crown
Arguably the most iconic of all Miss Universe crowns. Used for 33 years, this crown has been passed on from one winner to another with a copy being given to each winner. Arguably also the most well-used crown, this rhinestone crown was one of the most visibly photographed crowns of the all. It was used in majority of a Miss Universe’s public appearances.
Didn’t you know that this crown was made adjustable only in the 80’s? Furthermore, all former winners get to keep their version of the crown. More here on this link.

* The Sixth Miss Universe Crown – The Phoenix Mikimoto Crown
Inspired by the feathers of the famed mythical bird, this crown made by the Mikimoto company of Japan is one of the best loved crown designs by the fans of the pageant. It is so well loved that it was returned in use after an absence of almost a decade. More of the crown here.
* The Seventh Miss Universe Crown – The Vietnamese CAO Crown
It was a ‘courtesy’ crown and was only used once in the crowning of a Miss Universe winner. This was used in the 2008 pageant held in Vietnam as a celebration of the Vietnamese people’s hospitality. Know more about this crown on this link.

* The Eighth Miss Universe Crown – The Diamond Nexus Crown
This is the one of the most traveled crowns among the recent crowns of the Miss Universe pageant. With its eco-friendly, laboratory-grown diamonds, the Diamond Nexus crown was commissioned during the end of the Mikimoto tenure. Miss Universe pageant co-owner (prior to its 2015 sale to IMG) NBC’s green initiative prompted the creation of this ‘green friendly’ crown. Read more here.
* The Ninth Miss Universe Crown – The DIC Crown
Nicknamed the ‘French Fries crown’ by pageant fans, this is perhaps one of the least loved crowns of the pageant. It was used only in crowning three Miss Universe winners. After a lawsuit was filed with the crownmakers in 2017 due to non payment of contractual obligations, the crown was discontinued in use. More of this crown on this link.

* The Tenth Miss Universe Crown – The Mouawad Crown
Arguably one of the smallest crowns used in the pageant, this tiara is valued at $5 million and is called the “Power of Unity” crown. It is first used in 2019 and was created by the Lebanese/ Thai jewelry brand Mouawad.

The pageant has created some seriously gorgeous crowns over the years. But my personal favorite is still the Sarah Coventry crown/ the Lady crown simply because is was the one that I grew up with. Most millennials would identify with the Mikimoto more and I understand why. What I loved about the Lady crown is that the outgoing winner gets to wear her own crown as she crowns the next Miss Universe with a new one. Each of the winners could gladly boast that they own a piece of the Miss Universe history with their own crowns, sashes and trophies, and for some lucky few in the late 60’s and early 70’s they get to keep their Miss Universe scepters.

NOTE: This post was originally published in July 2018. It has since then updated for accuracy and relevancy.

Why Does the Same Countries Win in International Pageants?

Venezuela, the Philippines, Colombia, South Africa and the US are some of the coutries consistently performing well in pageants this past 10 years. What do they do right in pageants that they seem to win or unfailingly place year in and year out? Why do we see the same countries place and win in international pageants?

The answer to this simple question is quite complex. It is not just one major factor that makes these countries stand out and be among the best but a mixture of several equally essential factors…

  1. TRAINING & PREPARATION – we believe that fortune favors not the bold but the prepared… this is especially true in pageants. Countries that have prepared their girls months in advance are typically the ones that do well in pageants. It doesn’t matter if they are front-runners or not, from sash factor countries or other-wise, but those that have gotten ready for every aspect of the competition are usually the ones who do well. Take into consideration Venezuela and the Philippines, they have a very rigid and strict training program unique to each country that works for them. Physical training as well as competition preparation in terms of wardrobe, styling, presentation, interviews and even social media marketing is all taken into account to prepare their representatives. This is why among the 4 biggest pageants in the world these two sit atop everyone in terms of number of crowns.
  2. CANDIDATE’S MENTAL FORTITUDE – perhaps the biggest contributor to someone’s success is the determination and drive of the candidates themselves. This is where the proverbial anecdote “you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink” comes into play. A candidate has to be willing to put in the necessary effort to actually win, and that effort has to be consistently delivered each and every single day until the very end of the competition. It is like a faucet that you have to keep turned on at all times. So a candidate’s well of mental strength should not dry up.
  3. SUPPORT SYSTEM – of course a girl’s family and friends count to give moral support, but in this case a pageant support system means to be people behind the scenes who provide assistance in all aspects of the pageant. This includes people comprising the glam team, pageant mentors, the social media team and fan support, the local/national pageant organizers, etc… each of these teams of people provide a type of support that only their collective expertise can give. That is why La Quinta Venezuela (during Osmel’s time) includes an orthodontist, a dietician, and cosmetic surgery experts atop their usual pageant coaches.
  4. ECONOMICS AND POLITICS – this is the side of pageantry that is usually glossed over because it is such a ‘touchy’ topic that nobody wants discussed in the open. A pageant is much like any other business venture. It is about the bottom-line for the international pageant organization as it is about crowning a deserving beautiful winner. Local pageant orgs that can bring in revenue to the international orgs are given better attention. Pageant girls who command a strong presence and media mileage on social media are rarely looked past in the semis. Former Miss Universe Lara Dutta puts it well saying that social media is so influencing that a candidate is already adjudged as winnable or not.

Put all of these factors together in the right proportions unique to each candidate and you will probably end up with a winning formula. And you probably need to tweak and re-work this every year as what may have worked in the past may not necessarily be effective today. That is because a different kind of winner is usually searched for by international pageant organizations.

Let us know on the comments below what other factors do you think is essential in winning pageants…

The Philippines’ Longest Streak in Miss International

Did you know that the longest streak the Philippines had in Miss International was a series of placements for six consecutive years?

And that it happened twice? In both cases, each streak got us a Miss International winner in the process. Meet the wonderful ladies who made the successive placements possible…

First we had it between 1968 to 1973 with Nenita “Nini” Ramos (who we all know as the aunt of Binibining Pilipinas siblings Katherine, Bianca and Nichole Manalo). It can be deemed as the Philippines’ most successful run in the pageant as it gave us a crown and three consecutive runner up placements.
1968 Nenita Ramos, Top 15
1969 Margaret Rose Montinola, Top 15
1970 Aurora Pijuan, Miss International
1971 Evelyn Camus, 2nd Runner-up
1972 Yolanda Dominguez, 2nd Runner-up
1973 Maria Elena Ojeda, 4th Runner-up

Then this was replicated again in 2008 to 2013…
2008 Patricia Isabel Fernandez, Top 12
2009 Melody Adelheid Gersbach, Top 15
2010 Krista Eileen Kleiner, Top 15
2011 Dianne Elaine Necio, Top 15
2012 Nicole Cassandra Schmitz, Top 15
2013 Bea Rose Santiago, Miss International 2013

The Philippines has won the title 6 times… a feat only bested by Venezuela in the Tokyo-based pageant. As the country is gunning for its 7th title, every pageant fan has pinned hopes that with the Binibining Pilipinas International as the top title in the BBP tilt this year, the country will close the gap on Vanezuela’s 8 crowns.

Below is the tally of the Philippine reps that performed well in the Miss International pageant:
2019       Bea Patricia Magtanong, Top 8
2018       Ahtisa Manalo, 1st Runner Up

2016      Kylie Verzosa, Miss International 2016
2015      Janicel Lubina, Top 10

2013       Bea Rose Santiago, Miss International 2013
2012       Nicole Cassandra Schmitz, Top 15
2011       Dianne Elaine Necio, Top 15
2010       Krista Eileen Kleiner, Top 15
2009       Melody Adelheid Gersbach, Top 15
2008       Patricia Isabel Fernandez, Top 12

2005      Precious Lara Quigaman, Miss International
2004       Margaret-Ann Bayot, Top 15

1998       Colette Centeno Glazer, Top 15
1997       Susan Jane Ritter, Top 15
1996       Yedda Marie Kittilstved, Top 15
1995       Gladys Andre Dueñas, Top 15
1994       Alma Concepcion, Top 15 & Miss Friendship

1991       Maria Patricia Betita, Top 15

1986       Jessie Alice Dixson, Top 15

1981       Alice Veronica Sacasas, Top 15
1980       Diana Jeanne Christine Chiong, Top 12
1979      Mimilanie Marquez, Miss International

1976       Maria Dolores Ascalon, Top 15
1975       Jaye Murphy, Top 15

1973       Maria Elena Ojeda, 4th Runner-up
1972       Yolanda Dominguez, 2nd Runner-up
1971       Evelyn Camus, 2nd Runner-up
1970      Aurora Pijuan, Miss International
1969       Margaret Rose Montinola, Top 15
1968       Nenita Ramos, Top 15

1964      Gemma Teresa Cruz, Miss International
1963       Monina Yllana, Top 15

1960       Edita Vital, Top 15

NOTE: this post was first published in December of 2016. It has been republished and updated for relevancy and accuracy. 

Rumor Mill: Miss Universe 2020 on December 6th!

THIS JUST IN! Miss Universe 2020 will likely be on December 6th!
Despite the current CoVid-19 pandemic crippling the globe, the Miss Universe 2020 is still full steam ahead! According to some insiders the National Directors of the Miss Universe pageant have been informed by the Miss Universe organization that the TENTATIVE date for the 2020 pageant is on December 6th, Sunday. Our mole also said that the date might move a week earlier or later depending on securing a viable venue aside from a host city/ country.
It was said that information has been sent to the NDs that a candidate should be named by first of November this year. This was earlier confirmed in a Facebook live by Mexican ND & former Miss Universe, Lupita Jones. This would make October as the last month for national organizations to hold their pageants to select a representative.
The November 1st deadline was set for the national orgs as the national representatives should be filling up their Miss Universe candidate forms online before the said date. Everyone must note that aside from the online forms that the ladies have to fill up, they are also to submit some photo and video requirements to be used on the website and/ or live telecast.
Aside from the communications that each national pageant should have a representative by November 1st , every National Director have these three options in selecting a MU rep:
1. Elevate the 2019 1st runner up as the new queen – this option was already availed by the Señorita Panama organization by appointing last year’s 1st runner up, Carmen Jaramillo as the Panamanian representative to Miss Universe 2020.
2. Hold the national pageant upon lifting of each of the country’s respective Covid-19 quarantine/ lockdown – this option is the preferred option of the Mexicana Universal pageant as confirmed by Lupita Jones. Other countries are on a “wait and see” status on how their respective quarantines and lockdowns would play out.
3. Hold a casting with a panel of judges – since it is indicated int he MUOrg’s rules and regulations that a MU representative must be a ‘crowned winner’ of the national pageant, a smaller competition has been allowed for MU national franchise holders.
Currently no confirmed schedule is confirmed but it is speculated that the pageant might follow last year’s schedule of a week-long pageant (7-10 days). Organizers would not want to prolong the pageant in case that the pandemic is still creating havoc around the globe. Our moles also said that the rumored venue will be held in another US city that isn’t hugely stricken by the corona virus pandemic.
As of the moment, the org is planning contingency measures should the quarantine or lockdown take longer than usual. If the dreaded 2nd wave of the CoVid-19 virus strike and take a longer time to subside, there is a high possibility of moving dates and venues.

Earth Day 2020: the 50th Anniversary

April 22, 2020 will mark 50 years of Earth Day.
The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.
Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.
Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis — oil spills, smog, rivers so polluted they literally caught fire.
On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet.
The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event.
On Earth Day 2020, we seize all the tools and actions that we have, big and small, to change our lives and change our world, not for one day, but forever.
While the coronavirus may force us to keep our distance, it will not force us to keep our voices down. The only thing that will change the world is a bold and unified demand for a new way forward.
We may be apart, but through the power of digital media, we’re also more connected than ever.
On April 22, join us for 24 hours of action in a global digital mobilization that drives actions big and small, gives diverse voices a platform and demands bold action for people and the planet.
Over the 24 hours of Earth Day, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day will fill the digital landscape with global conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins and more.
While Earth Day may be going digital, our goal remains the same: to mobilize the world to take the most meaningful actions to make a difference.
No matter where you are, you can make a difference. And you’re not alone, because together, we can save the Earth.
Visit the official Earth Day site – – to learn about the world’s largest environmental movement and what you can do to make every day Earth Day!

The Miss Universe Evening Gown Top-Scorers

Today’s post in about the 10 Miss Universe candidates who nabbed the highest televised scores in the pageant final’s evening gown competition.


Back in 2015, on my old Sash Factor blog, I wrote a number of  interesting articles on the  Miss Universe pageant. One of the most fascinating researches we ever made was to track down the highest swimsuit and evening gown scorers in the Miss Universe competition. We posted this several years back and now we are revisiting this topic today.

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.

10. Lana Buchberger, Canada

9. Verna Vasquez, Curacao

8. Sushmita Sen, India

7. Paula Andrea Betancourt, Colombia

6. Angela Visser, Netherlands

5. Taliana Vargas, Colombia

4. Wendy Fitzwilliams, Trinidad & Tobago

3. Minorka Mercado, Venezuela

2. Alicia Machado, Venezuela

1. Carolina Gomez, Colombia

Did your favorite girl/s made the list? Was there a candidate that you were surprised to earn top scores in the Miss Universe pageant? Let us know on the comment section below.

We’re working on the top-scorers for the swimsuit competition next. So watch our for that.

The Most Victorious Year/s in Philippine Pageantry

There are 8 years, so far, that the Philippines can claim as its most victorious years in international pageantry. Read below for more…

Over the course of the years as a blogger, we have received numerous variations of the same question: which year is the Philippines most successful in pageantry? That of course is tantamount to various answers depending on what parameters and criteria we set in place to be considered as successful.

In this post, we will include the following sets of parameters:

  • We will only include the Alpha pageants Miss Universe, Miss International, Miss World (the Philippines only started to send representatives in 1966) and Miss Earth (which started only in 2001)
  • We will only consider the years that all Filipina reps placed in all Alpha pageants; if one rep doesn’t make the first cut, it doesn’t make it into our list

Continue reading “The Most Victorious Year/s in Philippine Pageantry”

Is it Time to Put Miss International in a Higher Regard?

The Miss International pageant is considered a heritage pageant filled with history. However the new generation of pageant fans doesn’t seem to give high regards to the pageant.

Should Filipino pageant fans start putting the Miss International pageant in higher regards?

Miss International’s Interesting History

Conceived in 1960, the Miss International pageant was an answer to the decision of the Miss Universe organization to move to Miami Beach, Florida. The Miss International winner was then called as the Miss International Beauty and was held in Long Beach, California, its home until 1967 before moving to Japan. Since 1972, the pageant has mostly been held in Japan, around the autumn season in either the month of October or November. Continue reading “Is it Time to Put Miss International in a Higher Regard?”

How Much is the Miss Universe Pageant Worth?

If someone has to ask how much is the Miss Universe pageant is worth, it would be safe to say that it would be millions of dollars involved.

But no one could really pinpoint the actual number of zeros involved in the estimation of the pageant’s cost just yet. Except in 2015 when then owner Donald Trump submitted financial disclosure forms with the Federal Election Commission. It was written in the forms that the Miss Universe pageant’s estimated value between $5 million to $25 million dollars. It is estimated that in 2014 alone, the MUOrg revenues are at around $3.4million.
Below is the detailed Finanacial Disclosure Forms that President Trump submitted during his candidacy…

The US$5-25 million amount is only an estimated value not the actual purchase figures when WME|IMG acquired the pageant. CNN analysts estimated the deal may fall between $10-20 million. The actual purchase may possibly increased with the annual income generated, global reach and prestige of the pageant as leverage. Then owner Donald Trump even tweeted that he sold it for hundred million (which is clearly an overstatement).

However the news last year that the Miss Universe parent company Endeavor (WME|IMG has rebranded to Endeavor) is on shaky financial terms could put a dent on the actual worth of the pageant. In a report by the LA Times, it said that “Endeavor would be the first talent agency to go public and, as such, has been the subject of much speculation, in large part because of the heavy debt load the company is carrying and the volatile nature of many of its businesses. Its long-term debt totaled $4.6 billion with liabilities of $7.2 billion and cash on hand of $830.9 million, the company reported last month.”

CNBC further reported in September of 2019 that “Endeavor pulled the $400 million IPO hours before it was scheduled to price and one day before it was due to list on the New York Stock Exchange. It had lowered its indicated price range earlier in the day.”
Such negative news may have impacted the actual worth of the Miss Universe pageant today.


Miss International Mikimoto Crown

Tokyo-based Miss International beauty pageant is organized by  the International Culture Association (ICA) and the Miss Paris Group Ltd. with a longstanding history with Mikimoto Japan.

Since 1968, the pageant has been mostly hosted in the Land of the Rising Sun with the exception of the years 1971, 2004, 2006, 2008-11. And with it comes with a tradition of Japanese excellence and beauty through the Miss International Mikimoto crown.

The pearl encrusted Mikimoto crown of the Miss International pageant is one of the most iconic crowns among the Alpha pageants. It is even older in use than the Miss World crown which was only first used in 1972. The very first version of the MI Mikimoto pearl crown was used in 1967 when Mirta Massa of Argentina was crowned.

In the year 1970 the second version of the Mikimoto crown was made to add the bigger arch at the front and the first to wear that crown was Aurora Pijuan of the Philippines. Since then, that crown has remained unchanged for decades and was passed on from one winner to the next. That crown was used until 1998 with Lia Victoria Borrero of Panama.

The Mikimoto crown is studded with Japanese cultured pearls and gold  with an overall total value of US$ 550,000*. The red velvet cap of the crown is attached to the fur-lined base (unconfirmed stories say that it is lined with mink  or ermine fur) to which a silk ribbon is used to fasten the crown to the head.

Kokichi Mikimoto devoted his life to pearls and was called the Pearl King. In 1893, he etched his name in history when he successfully creating the world's first cultured pearls. Ever since, his lifelong dream of “adorning the necks of all women around the world with pearls” has lived on through Mikimoto, a company that has dedicated itself to the pursuit of beauty for over a century.

“My dream is to adorn the necks of all women around the world with pearls.” 
- Mikimoto founder, Kokichi Mikimoto

Japan's first pearl specialty boutique, the Mikimoto Pearl Store was opened in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district in 1899. 
Subsequently, Mikimoto opened seven international stores in prime locations before the Second World War, including London's New Bond Street and New York's 5th Avenue. 
In 1986, Mikimoto's Paris store was relocated to Place Vendôme.To this day, Mikimoto is the only Asian high jewellery brand in this prestigious location

In 1999, Paulina Galvez of Colombia was the first to wear a new pearl encrusted version of the Miss International crown made by As-me Estelle Jewellery Japan. This was a short break from the Mikimoto crown and the Asme Estelle crown was used from the years 1999 to 2014, (15 years) with Valerie Hernandez being the last one to wear it. In 2015 the return of the original Mikimoto crown was seen when Venezuela’s Edymar Martinez was crowned winner.

All Miss International winners get to go home with a smaller pearl and gold tiaras. The tiaras were part of the prizes given to the winners and came in a pink box lined with satin cushion. This tradition would only end in 2015, when Venezuela’s Edymar Martinez would be the last recipient of the pearl and gold tiara.

Note: this post was first published in June 2018. It has been updated and revised for relevancy…

2020 Binibining Pilipinas Globe Contenders

There are 40 candidates vying for the Binibining Pilipinas titles at stake this year. But one of the titles that is overlooked is the Miss Globe title which is a shame considering how well the Philippines has done in recent years.

One of the possible reasons why the Albania-based pageant isn’t as popular is perhaps due to the difficulty to guess what they truly want in a winner.

Hannah Arnold – she is said to be a favorite of the pageant owners and we can all see why.  If she is one of the girls that got the nod of the international organizers of the pageant, then we should all keep her in mind for the title. Hannah is tall, pretty and with intensive training on the Q&A session, she is more than adequate to bring home another Miss Globe title for the Philippines.

Carina Cariño – she might not be one of the strongest girls facially, but she is smart and charming, qualities that will definitely be an advantage in any international pageant. This Ilocana pageant hopeful could possibly be one of the darkhorses for the title.

Gabrielle Basiano – she is arguably one of the best fit ladies for the title simply because she reminds us of one of the past MG winners whose name escapes us for the moment. Gabby has that Eurasian good looks that is Pinay enough and Caucasian enough to be noticed in any international pageant.

Karen Laurrie Mendoza – she of course is one of those ladies that can be styled and molded to fit any international competition that she is to be sent in. Karen has that cosmopolitan look to her. Her type of beauty can elevate the Miss Globe pageant with her very modern beauty.

Any of these four ladies are strong enough to represent the Philippines in the Miss Globe pageant. All we need to do is pick the one that has the highest chances of winning us the title.