Alaiza Malinao’s shocking non-inclusion in the 2020 Miss Universe Philippines top 5 was one of the most unbelievable things that have happened in local pageantry in recent years.
When the leaked photos of the Miss Universe Philippines top 5 started to circulate on social media, we have been inundated with questions regarding where was Alaiza in the top 5? Fans got worried about her not placing top 5 to which a number of fans got disheartened
Let’s review what she has done in her MUPh journey…
ADVOCACY – FARMERS & FARMING
Her advocacy on farming and farmer welfare is perhaps one of the most defining aspects of her campaign. Alaiza grew up in a farm and has detailed how life isn’t easy for farming families like hers to put food into the table. She has presented harsh realities of how farmers are paid very little for their crops while middleman sellers earn bulk of the profit. Agricultural families around the country has voiced their plight that they are producing food for the country but don’t have food for their own. The Philippines is still largely considered an agricultural country and what would happen to food stability in the country if farmer no longer produce what we consume.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, she had coordinated with various farming communities in the provinces to create a network of farm-to-table food chain; which enables agricultural produce to easily be connected to buyers around Metro-Manila and various urban communities around the country. Her idea was to connect agricultural producers directly to consumers so that farmers earn a larger portion of the earnings and have food for their families.
PROMOTING LOCAL FASHION
The major components of a pageant wardrobe for most local pageants are the national costume, the interview outfit and the evening gown. Let’s start with her national outfit from the Bagobo Tagabawa tribe. The ensemble is made by Bae Arlyne Salazar, a local artisan from the Bagobo Tagabawa Community who specializes in traditional beadwork and artisanal crafts. To say that this is a costume is a misnomer. It is a traditional garb that is still being used to this day by the local community. Alaiza chose to wear an authentic outfit that reflected the culture. During her stint at the nationals, Alaiza showed what a clothes-horse she was with various outfits from local craftspeople and designers. Whether it was a fuchsia terno-dress from Mark Bumgarner or a series of rainbow colored dresses for the LGBTQ month, Alaiza always puts Filipino designers at the forefront of her fashion choices.
Her biggest fashion win, however, came in a very simple white terno by Jo Rubio for the evening gown competition. Now that is patriotism in fashion. No other pageant girl has dared to wear a simple, unadorned terno as a gown for the evening gown competition at a national level. With her hair pulled back in a simple chignon, Alaiza was elegance personified. An elegance we only saw once in the person of Minorka Mercado, Miss Venezuela 1993 and 2nd runner up in Miss Universe 1994.
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MINORKA MERCADO INCARNATE! Alaiza Malinao is giving me class and culture in this simple white terno, reminiscent of Minorka Mercado in Miss Universe 1994! Don’t you think she should have made top 5? • • • • • • Repost from @missosologycibao @alaizamalinao 🇵🇭👑 lamentablemente no logró pasar al top 5. #missphilippines2020 More pageant trivia, news, rumors and updates on the “Latest Post” button in the link in bio! Don’t forget to follow us @sashesandscriptsofficial and be a part of our community! . . . . . . . . . . #SashesandScripts #PageantBlogger #UltimatePageantBlog #PageantBlog #PageantBlogger #PhenomenalWoman #missuniversephilippines2020 #MissUniversePhilippines #alaizamalinao #minorkamercado
ENGAGING TO FANS
One of Alaiza’s best qualities is her ability to interact with the fans. She is the average pageant fan’s chosen champion because of her ability to win over people. Alaiza has always been unapologetic of her personal flaws and she does not put on a show to please everyone. Her transparency can be a major flaw a times but she always compensates that with the way she talks with her fans on social media. With fan-meets on hold due to the pandemic, fans would directly message and interact with her on her social media feed. The way she takes time to respond to her fans show how she values human connection and interaction. This is something that other pageant girls in her batch would have to learn from her.
Genuine human interaction has been the strongest suit of Alaiza. That is why a huge majority of fans feel her sincerity, genuineness and honesty in what she says and do.
SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY
If there was something that you would be impressed about Alaiza’s social media feed is how well thought out and planned is. The organized way she presented her MUPh campaign was something that would be the envy of any pageant hopeful, both locally and internationally. She has enough posts on glamorous headshots, her advocacy and community projects, her background growing up in the province, gorgeous swimsuit pics and fashion editorials, socially relevant issues, and other posts that projects authentically her core self. You get a sense of her personality and quirkiness in her social media feed. We can say that her social media template will be the one that future pageant girls will copy in the competition.
LANGUAGE AND REPRESENTATION
Calling herself Inday to her fans makes her highly relatable to every average Filipino. This term of endearment doesn’t always have a positive connotation among peoples in more urbanized areas, it is always been a name attributed to domestic helpers from the provinces. But Alaiza’s use of the term made it a badge of honor for the hundreds of hardworking people from the provinces.
Most notable act she has done was to speak in her native Bisaya for the opening speech of the pageant. She spoke fluently and flawlessly in her native tongue. Tita Lavinia of Titas of Pageantry translated her speech accurately as below…
"I joined this pageant to be able to show the real me. In pageants, we are expected to act prim and proper, while having to speak in English. But today, I will be speaking in "Bisaya" because I want show the way to all those in the provinces, that they need to speak up using whatever dialect known to them so they may be heard especially during these times. We need to help our women wherever they may be. Even in their own homes, they may need our help, we should listen to them."
Hearing her speak in the vernacular spoke volumes on representation at pageantry on a national stage. She has allowed young probinsyanas to see themselves reflected on the stage with Alaiza proudly speaking in Bisaya. What she had done a a great service to people all over the Philippines who think that only English speaking halfies could represent the Philippines on a national or international platform. How many kids and youngsters would be encouraged seeing a proudly Filipina beauty speaking a language they speak and be inspired by what she has done. Her encouragement to use their voice in any language that they are comfortable and for women to be heard with their messages is a strong message and one that is very powerful. That is what Alaiza did for representation at a national stage.
IMHO, the Filipino pageant fans were robbed of a good fight for the Miss Universe Philippines crown. Alaiza would have added spice into a very vanilla contest among the five finalists. What can easily be seen is how Alaiza has personality and depth that could have easily stood shoulder to shoulder with international competitors at the Miss Universe pageant. Her finals night performance was perfection. Pageant fans saw how a local competitor is competing with an international flavor and mindset.
It is baffling how she was bumped off the top 5. It as painful for pageant connoisseurs to see a strong competitor neglected despite having the best presentation skills among all the roster of candidates. Perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be. Alaiza may just be the Miss Universe Philippines that Filipino pageant fans deserve but didn’t have.
Let us know your thoughts on the comments below…