#Nostalgia: Miss Universe 1999 1st Runner Up Miriam Quiambao Pt.2

Today’s post is a continuation of the last week’s Miss Universe #nostalgia post on Miriam Quiambao.

Miriam was one of the girls considered to be a favorite by the MUOrg during her year in Trinidad & Tobago. If you look at the stage blocking during the finals of the pageant, Miriam was always situated at the center of the stage. Back then, this was one of the signs that you were a favorite to win. Not to mention that she was also a press favorite during that time. Even the local crowd seemed to like her as well.

During the preliminaries of the pageant held on the 21st of May, Miriam tripped onstage during the evening gown competition. At that time she mentioned that upon her recovery from the fall she needed to “do something” so she stretched her hands as if to say “I’m OK”. That drew a standing ovation from the audience but was shaken upon getting backstage where she started to cry. Miss Universe choreographer Scott Grossman comforted her backstage and told her that he never saw a recovery that fast. That trip guaranteed her a spot at the semis.

The powder blue Halston gown was hurriedly hemmed an inch shorter as it was only 3 days before the finals was to be held. Miriam later revealed that she tripped in the gown due to a loose thread at the hem.
Miriam dominated the preliminaries with scores that placed her number 2 overall behind South Africa’s Sonia Raciti. Perhaps that was an overshadowing of her eventual 1st runner up placement during the finals. She was 2nd place in both evening gown and swimsuit during the finals and despite a 9th place in interviews, her scores managed to pull her to the top 5. She easily coasted through to the top 5 when she was able to milk the instance of her fall during the top 5 q&a.

It was her nervous answer to the final question that gave lead to Mpule Kwelagobe of Botswana, and thus winning the title. Nevertheless, Miriam’s performance was to become the standard of how to pose (one foot forward then switch to the other foot forward). The year after, a number of pageant girls would copy that move. Her MU performance also drew in several clones in Binibining Pilipinas, all to no success. It was even mentioned that she would be sent to Miss World as her original title as BB. Pilipinas World. This would be a conflict as should the MU winner could not complete her reign, Miriam would have to step in.

To this day, no other Filipina queen has ever matched her poise and grace onstage. That innate queenly stature and elegance onstage is so difficult to copy and is uniquely Miriam’s.


Age Requirements for the Alpha Pageants

Today’s blogpost is nothing more than just a reminder of the age limits in four of the biggest pageants around. This is nothing new to except for some updates on the maximum ceiling age in pageants.

Miss Earth – must be between the ages of 18 to 26 years old (until December 30th of the year they are competing).
Miss International – candidates must be of  17 years of age to 26 years of age on or before 1st November of the year they are competing.
Miss Universe – contestants must be between the ages of 18 and 28 as of January 1st in the year of they compete.
Miss World -contestants must be between 17 to 27 years old before the entry date of the Miss World contest (which is usually 2 months prior to the coronation).
The change of the MW age limits happened last December 2017 from what used to be a maximum age of 25 to now 27.  This was rumored to have been one of the matters discussed with the franchise holders during the national directors meeting. Miss Earth’s contest rules on age doesn’t specify the cut off dates on the ages in their website. So it is assumed that as long as you are 18 to 25 within the year you are competing, then you are eligible. Also there is still a notion that the cut off age for Miss International is still 24 where this was already increased in the year 2015.

#Nostalgia: Miss Universe 1999 1st Runner Up Miriam Quiambao Pt.1

She was supposed to be the Philippines’ representative to the Miss World pageant but destiny had other plans for her.

5’8″ tall Miriam Quiambao was originally crowned as Binibining Pilipinas World on February 20th 1999. But a technicality over Bb. Pilipinas Universe Janelle Bautista’s citizenship rendered her a dethronement (Janelle was an American citizen). This was the second consecutive year that the top winner of the Bb. Pilipinas pageant was dethroned (Tisha Silang of 1998 was also dethroned due to citizenship issues, it was found out that she was Canadian). Instead of naming the 1st runner up the new winner like the case of Jewel Mae Lobaton, BPCI named Miriam to assume the vacated title.

In a rush, that is how best to describe Miriam’s training for Miss Universe. Her local training was cut short in order to move up all her preparations for the MU pageant which was just less than 2 months away. While she trained locally for several weeks with Dale Carnegie, Abbygale Arenas and Anthony Pangilinan, it was Miriam’s stint in Venezuela that got people talking. She first arrived in LA before taking a connecting flight to Miami. It was there in Miami that she received the Halston gown that she will be wearing for the pageant from SMA’s brother Arturo Marquez. (The team of designer Alfredo Barraza were the ones responsible for doing the beadwork on the Halston gown.)

Here below is a snippet of how her training went  with Osmel’s team (taken from a Channels Magazine interview):
I left Miami for Caracas, Venezuela. I was billeted in a suite, kaya feeling-wow! The next day, May 1, I met up with Osmel Sousa, the president of La Quinta Miss Venezuela, as well as his other colleagues: there was Gerardo who trained me in speech, Maria who helped me with walking, Miguel for hair and make-up, and Gabriel, assistant of the president. Everything was personalized. I was training the whole day, two to three hours per teacher. It was just me and Miss Venezuela, so we became really close. We were together for a week before all the other contestants.

Miriam wasn’t an instant hit with the locals upon her arrival in Port au Prince, Trinidad & Tobago. As per her training, she was told to be seen photographed with early favorites Silvia Salgado of Mexico and Carolina Indriago of Venezuela. Feeling like a fish out of water, she got depressed in the early days of the competition. Add to that is not being able to communicate with her family. Miriam later revealed that she felt the pressure specially after her training in Venezuela.

Thankfully a conversation with one of her UST professors lifted her spirits and removed the weight off her shoulders. Her luck changed later when she was able to gather strength from her family and the Filipino community in the host country. During the Parade of Nations, one of the local MU events, she was seen dancing on a float (with the delegate from the host country nonetheless) and that got her recognized by the locals. That was the start of her getting more media mileage in the competition.

It was rumored that Osmel got nervous upon seeing Miriam train in Venezuela. She absorbed the training very quickly despite being there in Caracas for only one week.
Part 2 coming next week…

The 7 Filipino Miss Universe Finals Judges

Back in 2016, I have written about the six select few Filipino judges who have served as judges in Miss Universe. It is noteworthy to mention those that sat as judges on the Miss Universe judging table were accomplished and very well respected artists, diplomats and sports icons. They were selected because of their illustrious careers and their contributions to arts, business, politics, sports, fashion and entertainment.

Today, I wanted to revisit that post and update it with the addition of the latest Filipina to sit as a finals judge, former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach.
* Miss Universe 1974 – Carlos P. Romulo in Manila, Philippines; President of the United Nations General Assembly and also a Pulitzer Prize winner for Correspondence
* Miss Universe 1989Josie Cruz Natori in Cancun, Mexico; Filipino world-class lingerie fashion designer
* Miss Universe 1991  – Kuh Ledesma in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; singer & entertainer, Filipino music icon
* Miss Universe 1994Emilio T. Yap in Manila, Philippines; Manila Bulletin Chairperson and a bonafide rags to riches entrepreneur
* Miss Universe 2011Lea Salonga in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Tony & Laurence Olivier award winner, singer- actress, and the singing voice of Disney princesses Mulan and Princess Jazmine
* Miss Universe 2014Manny Pacquiao in Doral, Florida, USA; world boxing champion and the only boxer to hold  eight division world championship in the history of boxing
* Miss Universe 2017Pia Wurtzbach in Las Vegas; former Miss Universe winner

It is also noticeable that no Filipina has won the Miss Universe title whenever a Filipino sat as a judge. Will this patter be broken sometime soon? With rumors floating that the Philippines will host the Miss Universe pageant this 2018, will we be seeing another Filipino judge to sit among the panel of the pageant’s finals?

PhotoCollage of the Day: Miss Earth 2015, Angelia Ong

For some these photos of Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Gabrena Ong might still be new but not for some of us who follow designer Leo Almodal’s Instagram account. Plus I just wanted an excuse to put one of my favorite Miss Philippines Earth & Miss Earth winners on the blog again (insert appropriate emoticon here)…

This photo was actually released several months ago as part of a shoot with other Miss Earth winners Katherine Espin and Jamie Herrell…

The photo on the left was just a recent release… although the shoot is perhaps almost three years old.
In this pic, Angelia is actually wearing her winning Miss Earth gown (pictured in the collage prior). This cropped close up shot focused on the former ME winners lovely face.


Special Feature: #HealingVenezuela

The three most recent Miss Universe titleholders from Venezuela have come together for the first time in a united effort with AID for AIDS International to launch Healing Venezuela, a new fundraising effort to bring humanitarian aid to Venezuelan babies affected by malnutrition. The campaign launched today and features Maria Gabriela Isler, Miss Universe 2013; Stefanía Fernandez, Miss Universe 2009; and, Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008; along with three exclusive t-shirt designs from designer Ricardo Seco’s Spring 2018 collection, Healing. The t-shirts are on sale at www.healingvenezuela.com and all proceeds will support the mission of abating infantile malnutrition in Venezuela.

According to Caritas Internationalis, 54% of children in Venezuela have some level of nutritional deficiency and 5-6 children die of malnutrition every week.  AID for AIDS International has over 20 years of experience addressing the humanitarian crisis surrounding access to treatment for HIV and AIDS and has provided medicines to thousands of patients around the world who without their help would go without critical treatment. The organization intends to leverage that experience to bring relief to Venezuelan children suffering from malnutrition and has a goal of raising enough funds to provide infant formula to mothers who cannot breastfeed due to their health condition so that they can feed 5,000 babies throughout the first 24 months of their life.*
Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008
I’m joining the Healing Venezuela campaign due to the seriousness of child malnutrition in the country, causing the loss of a large number of innocent children. Malnutrition affects children not only Physically but psychologically, this is a humanitarian emergency that requires the immediate and active support of all and we are asking for your help! I am lucky to be one of the first to wear this special t-shirt and now you can have it too!. Every t-shirt could save a life. Visit http://www.healingvenezuela.com and buy yours for only $30.
Stefania Fernandez, Miss Universe 2009 (translated from Google)
Today I have joined for the first time with my two sisters to be an echo of a painful and real crisis that is experienced in our beloved Venezuela. The crisis of child malnutrition is a humanitarian emergency. 4 out of 10 children do not grow adequately due to malnutrition; Approximately 5 to 6 children die every week for this same reason. Alarming and painful! – – Let’s not let our children die; our future! – – Thanks to the initiative and effort of @aidforaids you can join this cause. Visit http://www.healingvenezuela.com – – With your purchase of this shirt, you will be donating the equivalent of one month of infant formula. Let us be the ones who heal Venezuela!
Gabriela Isler, Miss Universe 2013 (Translated from Google)
We were lucky to be the first to wear these special shirts, and now you can also wear one ✨. . We all know that the crisis of child malnutrition in #Venezuela is a humanitarian emergency and we have to take action, that is why we join the beautiful initiative of @aidforaids 🇻🇪 … Visit http://www.healingvenezuela.com and, starting at USD $ 30, purchase yours: each donation can provide the equivalent of one month of infant formula 👶🏽👶🏻🥛… T-shirt designs are exclusive to @secoricardo 🙌🏻. . We are honored to be able to share this campaign with all of you, and from now on we thank you for joining us💛💙❤ •

Several weeks ago, I have read a harrowing New York  Times article on the severity of the malnutrition problem in Venezuela. Hospitals running out of medicines to treat children, parents scurrying everywhere for infant formula, doctors exasperated with the lack of basic hospital tools for treatment, families stick thin and burying infants and children in tiny coffins… It was a heartbreaking read. And I hope everyone would take time to read the NY Times article to get a full picture of the situation…
So to shed light on this issue, I thought it would be a good way to share how anyone in the world could help one life. This post may have been several weeks late but I still hope that it could still stir up goodwill among everyone in the pageant industry.
* https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/01/18/1296626/0/en/AID-FOR-AIDS-INTERNATIONAL-LAUNCHES-HEALING-VENEZUELA-TO-HELP-THE-LIVES-OF-5-000-INFANTS.html
* Instagram accounts of @dayanamendoza, @gabrielaisler and @stefaniafernandezk

Filipina Miss International Winners

If there was another title that I would love to have this year, it would be the Miss International title. The reason for this is simply because I wanted the Philippines to equalize the lead with Venezuela with the most number of wins in the Japan-based pageant

So far we have 6 titles under our belt.