MI And MGI: A Question of Age

During the heat of the Miss International age controversy several weeks ago, Sashes&Scripts has been at the crux of our controversial stand to freeze age requirements during the pandemic. In those times we specifically refused to drop names that would be affected by it, but now after things have cooled down considerably, we’ll explain the wisdom in our stance.

Because of the after effects of the global halt in live events caused by the pandemic, most pageant fans seem to believe that the world-wide vaccination roll out would be easy-peasy. That is quite far from the stark reality that the scenario of a global vaccination is most likely achieved around the end of the year 2022 or in 2023. That will cause pageants to be continuously in a state of postponements and delays. Hence it would have been more humane and compassionate to have had international competitions freeze their age requirements until the next set of winners are crowned.

That would have been a great gift to Vickie Marie Rushton who is currently 28 years old and would be eligible only to one pageant franchise under the Binibining Pilipinas pageant. This would also have benefitted Miss International Romania Bianca Paduraru, who had to be replaced due to the Miss International organization rescinding their previous announcement of allowing those within the eligible age in 2020 to compete in 2021.

Of course we also know now the heart-breaking situation of Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2019, Aya Abesamis who would also been perfect for the Miss Grand International pageant only if the organization allowed her to compete despite being 29 years old. Aya, who was elevated to the MGI crown after Samantha Lo resigned, was the 1st runner up in the 2019 pageant. Since Aya was no longer eligible to compete, 2019 Bb. Pilipinas 2nd runner up Samantha Bernardo is then tapped to assume the title of Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2020.

While we respect the “their pageant, their rules” philosophy, it does not hurt to act humanely like the Miss Universe pageant did in 2014, when the pageant was postponed to January of 2015. This delay would have meant that Mary Jean Lastimosa wouldn’t be allowed to compete due to age restrictions back then. However, the Miss Universe organization froze their age rules as the pageant postponement wasn’t within the control of the candidates. That same analogy should have been also applicable to these two Binibinis. Most specially when a global pandemic is the cause.

BLOGGER’S NOTE: the Miss Universe pageant issued an update recently to their age requirements. It now stated that “MISS UNIVERSE delegates must be at least 18 years of age and under 28 years of age on the date the National competition commenced.” Hence, candidates who turn 29 this year are eligible as long as they were crowned/ appointed at age 28 during their respective national pageants/ appointments.

It is also quite ironic that the pageant fans who reacted violently when we strongly worded a critique on MIO (using the shock of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor) arguing that pageant orgs have their own rules, are also the same fans who were clamouring for Aya be allowed to compete by the MGIOrg. Suddenly their reasoning that pageant organizations are independent entities able to make their own decisions are tossed out of the window simply because that narrative no longer serve their purpose.

This is where we had the foresight that if an Alpha pageant like the Miss International organization would be unbending when it announced the change in age eligibility, other pageant organizations are like to follow their lead. We weren’t pushing only for MI to be compassionate, we wanted that had they been flexible, it would have been easier for other organizations to be convinced to do the same. That would mean that Vickie would have a shot at the Binibining Pilipinas International crown and Aya would be sent to the 2020 edition of the MGI pageant. And everything would have been all right in the pageant world…

Miss International Reneges on Their Word

Where is the honor in giving and then taking back your own words?

After making public last year that the Miss International 2021 pageant would still accept candidates as long as they are 28 years old in 2020, the MI organization/ board has now renege on their word. In a live chat on Missosology, Stephen Diaz made public that the Miss International have made a decision to stick to the 18-28 age requirement this year.

Their January 2020 pronouncement was that 2020 national winners and candidates would be eligible for the 2021 edition of MI, regardless if they go beyond the maximum age of 28 years old. This is now no longer the case. If you are 29 years old 29 before the first week of November, then you cannot join the pageant anymore.

A sudden change of heart from last June 2020…
Continue reading “Miss International Reneges on Their Word”

Miss International Country Ranking

The Japan-based Miss International pageant has crowned 58 women from all over the world since its establishment in 1960. And Sashes&Scripts is listing the names and years of the Miss International winners based on their country ranking!

There has only been 2 times that the pageant was postponed/ cancelled in the years 1966 and 2020. And despite that, 31 countries have won the Miss International title at least once.

1. Venezuela – 8 wins, 7 runner up finishes
* 2018, Mariem Velazco
* 2015, Edymar Martínez
* 2010, Elizabeth Mosquera
* 2006, Daniela Di Giacomo
* 2003, Goizeder Azúa
* 2000, Vivian Urdaneta
* 1997, Consuelo Adler
* 1985, Nina Sicilia Hernandez

Continue reading “Miss International Country Ranking”

1. Venezuela – 8 wins, 7 runner up finishes
* 2018, Mariem Velazco
* 2015, Edymar Martínez
* 2010, Elizabeth Mosquera
* 2006, Daniela Di Giacomo
* 2003, Goizeder Azúa
* 2000, Vivian Urdaneta
* 1997, Consuelo Adler
* 1985, Nina Sicilia Hernandez

Continue reading “Miss International Country Ranking”

Reasons Why the Philippines Should Host the Miss International Pageant

The Miss International pageant have rarely left Japan as its host country since it was headed by the ICA. But it has been hosted in China under several occasions so the idea of hosting the pageant outside Tokyo isn’t an alien concept. With the Philippines being a pageant country and one of the most successful countries in the Tokyo-based pageant, we think that it would be a good idea if the Philippines play host to the Miss International pageant in the near future…

Here are Sashes&Scripts’ top reasons why the Philippines should consider hosting the pageant in its shores:
1. Madame Stella Marquez, the first ever Miss International winner heads the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. which selects the annual rep to the Tokyo-based pageant. Now that the MI title is the highest title awarded in the Binibining Pilipinas pageant, it would be a great idea to have it held for the first time in the country. It would also be a great kick to have her as a special guest of the pageant and to commemorate the 6 decades of the pageant with her win back in 1960.
2. The Philippines has close ties with Japan. The two countries share commerce and history together. One of the country’s closest trade partners is Japan, a number of Japanese prefer to have manufacturing factories in the Philippines due to stringent quality standards. During the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, Japan was one of the first countries who came to our aid and in return during the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disasters, the Philippines sent medical volunteers to help efforts in affected areas. Not to mention that Japan was also one of the colonizers of the country alongside Spain and the United States.

3. Philippine culture is steeped with rich cultural traditions, which jives in with the Miss International pageant. The Miss International pageant promotes cultural understanding and having the pageant held in the Philippines would not only promote tourism but also its rich cultural heritage. Having the mantra of the pageant as ‘cultural understanding and acceptance’ the pageant can put the limelight to customs and traditions for protection and appreciation.
4. The Philippines is home to 7 MI titleholders: 6 Filipina plus 1 Colombian. That is to say that the Philippines has the most number of wins in the pageant among Asia. The reigning Miss International, can grace the pageant with the rest of the Filipina Miss International titleholders; if they manage that feat it would be the most number of past and present winners gracing the pageant. The organizing committee could even invite other Asian titleholders to grace the event.

5. Japanese owned Okada could hold the pageant in its premises like it has for the 65th Miss Universe in 2017 and Miss Intercontinental 2018 pageants. With the Okada footing a billion dollar development along Pasay City, there won’t be a dull moment in the pageant. Manila Bay is a scenic seascape where Okada Manila is situated. It is close to the MOA Arena and the SMX convention Center where usual events, concerts, travel fairs, etc… are held. This time the Department of Tourism could definitely work with the private sector and brand the Philippines as the pageant destination of the world.
6. The Philippines is home to the biggest pageant fandom in the world. Do we need to say more?

Wouldn’t it be perfect if the Miss International is held in the Philippines for the first time? Let us know in the comment section below…

MU, MW and MI: The Heritage Brands of Pageantry

When we speak of luxury heritage brands in fashion, we speak of the history, craftsmanship and tradition of long withstanding brands like Louis Vuitton, Hermés, Chanel, Dior or TAG Heuer. Some of these brands have been in existence since the 1850’s to the 1950’s and carries with them a sense of timelessness and longevity.
For international pageants, only three has come close to be called such: Miss World, Miss Universe and Miss International. Among the most popular international pageants, these three has withstood the test of time being in existence for at least 50 years.  Continue reading “MU, MW and MI: The Heritage Brands of Pageantry”

Our Favorite Binibining Pilipinas International Winners

The Binibining Pilipinas International is now the highest title in the most prestigious and longest running national pageant in the Philippines.

Since Nenita ‘Nini’ Ramos was first fielded by the BBP pageant to the Japanese-owned pageant, the Philippines managed to win 5 MI titles under the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Incorporated (BPCI). As a pageant fan since the 1990’s we’ve some to love a number of our Filipina reps in this Tokyo-based competition.

Below are Sashes&Scripts’ favorite Binibining Pilipinas International titleholders:

  1. Yedda Marie Mendoza Kittilstvedt, Bb. Pilipinas International 1996 – highest on our list is this 5’9″ stunner from Cebu. A niece of former Binibining Pilipinas Universe Pilar Pilapil, Yedda could have been best sent to Miss Universe that year. Although her top 15 placement in Miss International that year is well-merited. Now a public servant, Yedda remains to be one of the prettiest ladies the Philippines ever sent to the MI pageant.
  2. Gladys Andre Dueñas, Bb. Pilipinas International 1995 – during her year, Gladys would have been better sent in Miss Universe, Reham Snow Tago in MI and Joanne Santos in MW. She was smart, gorgeous and articulate, not to mention a seasoned model under Pitoy Moreno. Her unique Pinay features and well proportioned 5’7″ frame would have been a hit in Namibia. It was no surprise that only Gladys placed among her BBP batchmates as she made it among the semifinalists in Tokyo.
  3. Precious Lara Quigaman, Miss International 2005 – at 5’6″ tall, she was the shortest among all Filipina MI winners. Her well proportioned body made her look exceptionally tall and her sincere delivery of her speech made her stand out in Japan. She was the most successful winner in her BBP batch and was the sole Alpha pageant winner during the 2000’s from the Philippines.
  4. Jessie Alice Dixson, Bb. Pilipinas International 1986 – those who grew up with her in ‘Okay Ka Fairy Ko’ and ‘Dyesebel’, would have fallen in love with Alice. Her showbiz career eclipsed her pageant beginnings. Alice was a mere teenager when she won in Binibining Pilipinas and managed a respectable semifinalist finish in Miss International 1986.
  5. Kylie Verzosa, Miss International 2016 –  hers was a speech that is considered the modern-day gold standard in MI speeches. The 5’8″ preschool teacher from Baguio is the frontrunner in the 2016 BBP pageant. In fact Kylie was our personal favorite to win the Miss Universe Philippines title that year. She would have easily made top 3 in MU although her winning MI was perhaps the greater reward.

Who are your favorite Binibining Pilipinas International winners? Let us know on the comment section below…

Aurora Pijuan, Miss International 1970

May 16th 1970 will always be remembered as the day that the Philippines won its second Miss International with Aurora McKenney Pijuan. The 5’8” Filipina-American lass from Bacolod bested 46 other candidate for the title.

Au-au was born November 11, 1949, and was only 20 years old when she won the crown on May 16th. Measuring 35-25-36 ½ the tall brunette was a frontrunner in the Binibining Pilipinas pageant. Back then it was deemed that no country could ever win a back-to-back victory in the Miss Universe pageant, especially with the reigning queen Gloria Diaz from the Philippines. So it was then paved to make way for Aurora in Miss International that year while Simonette delos Reyes was sent to the Miss Universe pageant. Au-au competed in Osaka and her win made the Philippines become the first country to win the MI title twice. During the Miss International competition, Aurora wore a pink mini-dress with flared pants underneath, a bold fashion statement where gown are the de rigeour outfits.

Aurora in her Terno with other candidates in their national attire…

Competing in the swimsuit round…

A bold fashion statement: a minidress paired with trousers…

At her homecoming parade, Au-au wore a red terno to match the red velvet cap of the Mikimoto crown. In that time, the Miss International Organization allowed the Mikimoto crown to travel with its winner. Back then, the pearl encrusted crown was valued at $70,000. Among the six MI winners of the Philippines only Aurora Pijuan, Precious Lara Quigaman and and Bea Rose Santiago were able to wear the original MI crown for their parade. Gemma cruz wore a hat for her parade. Melanie Marquez wore her gold and pearl encrusted MI Mikimoto tiara while being accompanied by her full MI court in her homecoming parade, the only Filipina to ever do so. Kylie Verzosa wore a replica of the Miss International crown during her homecoming parades (one on Cubao and the other in Baguio).

After Aurora’s reign, she became a sought after model and product endorser. She also had a few films to her credit.
Hope you enjoyed the photo-collages of Aurora… Drop us a comment below and let us know what you think of today’s article…

Filipina Representatives in Miss International

Six crowns, 4 runner up positions and 23 finalists and semifinal placements: that is how the Philippines has performed in the Miss International pageant.

Among the four biggest international pageants currently in existence, the Tokyo-based Miss International pageant is the pageant that the Philippines has been most successful. Currently, the country ranks second with the most number of wins with 6 titleholders, trailing behind Venezuela’s 8 crowns.

SIDE-NOTE: we have been meaning to do this blogpost for the longest time but never got along to finishing it. 
What took us so long? 
Well we find it close to impossible to find a decent photo of Miss International 1964 Gemma Cruz in a swimsuit. Gemma hoped during the competition in Long Beach that her swimsuit photos wouldn't reach the Philippines away from her conservative family. In a way it did came true as it is so difficult to look online for a high-def pic of hers in her blue Catalina swimsuit.


Here are the 60 ladies that wore the Philippine sash in the 60 years of the Miss International pageant…

1960       Edita Vital, Top 15
1961       Pilar Arciaga
1962       Cynthia Ugalde
1963       Monina Yllana, Top 15
1964      Gemma Teresa Cruz, Miss International
1965       Isabelle Santos
1967       Margarita Romualdez
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 & Best in National Costume
1973       Maria Elena Ojeda, 4th Runner-up
1974       Erlynne Bernardez
1975       Jaye Murphy, Top 15
1976       Maria Dolores Ascalon, Top 15 & Best in National Costume
1977       Maria Cristina Alberto
1978       Luz Policarpio
1979      Mimilanie Marquez, Miss International & Best in National Costume

1980       Diana Jeanne Christine Chiong, Top 12
1981       Alice Veronica Sacasas, Top 15
1982       Maria Adela Lisa Manibog
1983       Flor Eden Pastrana
1984       Maria Bella Villa Nachor
1985       Sabrina Simonette Marie Artadi
1986       Jessie Alice Dixson, Top 15
1987       Maria Lourdes Enriquez
1988       Maria Anthea Robles
1989       Lilia Eloisa Andanar, Miss Friendship

1990       Jennifer Perez Pingree
1991       Maria Patricia Betita, Top 15
1992       Jo-Anne Timothea Alivio
1993       Sheela Mae Santarin
1994       Alma Concepcion, Top 15 & Miss Friendship
1995       Gladys Andre Dueñas, Top 15
1996       Yedda Marie Kittilstved, Top 15
1997       Susan Jane Ritter, Top 15
1998       Colette Centeno Glazer, Top 15
1999       Georgina Anne Sandico

2000       Joanna Maria Peñaloza
2001       Maricarl Tolosa
2002       Kristine Alzar
2003       Jhezarie Javier
2004       Margaret-Ann Bayot, Top 15
2005       Precious Lara Quigaman, Miss International
2006       Denille Lou Valmonte
2007       Nadia Lee Cien Shami
2008       Patricia Isabel Fernandez, Top 12
2009       Melody Adelheid Gersbach, Top 15

2010       Krista Eileen Kleiner, Top 15 & Miss Expressive
2011       Dianne Elaine Necio, Top 15 & Miss Internet 
2012       Nicole Cassandra Schmitz, Top 15
2013       Bea Rose Santiago, Miss International 2013
2014       Mary Anne Bianca Guidotti
2015      Janicel Lubina, Top 10 & Best Dresser awardee
2016      Kylie Verzosa, Miss International 2016
2017       Maria Angelica de Leon
2018       Ahtisa Manalo, 1st Runner Up
2019       Bea Patricia Magtanong, Top 8

Below is an infographic of the Filipinas who were successful in the Miss International pageant. Go ahead and share this to everyone…

These are the Philippine representatives who placed in the Miss International pageant…

Learn more about the Filipina Miss International winners here.

Did you loved today’s blogpost/ article? Let us know on the comments below..

The Miss International Beauty Pageant

Since its inception in 1960 the Miss International has been a pageant that has built a quiet but long standing history and solid reputation.

Miss International History
The pageant has long held its stronghold as the third oldest international pageant among the 4 biggest international pageants in existence. The pageant itself was first borne after the move of the Miss Universe pageant from Long Beach, California to Miami Beach, Florida. It had 52 delegates in its initial year.
Oscar Meinhardt, who concocted the Miss Universe idea and directed the pageant from 1952 to 1959, established the International Beauty Congress in February 1960 and declared that the maiden pageant be staged August 7 to 12, and the winner be known as the Miss International Beauty.

The history of the Miss International Beauty Pageant spans around half a century of the passion and energy of delegates from around the world who have sought to “contribute to global society.”

Miss International began in 1960 in Long Beach, California, where it was staged until 1967, before moving to Japan from 1968-1970 to commemorate the Osaka World Expo (the 1968 Pageant was held at the Nippon Budokan, with the “Ginza Parade” from Hibiya Park to Nihonbashi received to great acclaim). This led to it being staged in Japan every year from 1972 onward. What is more, Miss International contestants have appeared at every international expo held in Japan so far, lending glamour to the venue.

Contestants are expected to serve as "Ambassadors of Peace and Beauty", demonstrating tenderness, benevolence, friendship, beauty, intelligence, ability to take action, and, most importantly, a great international sensibility. The ultimate goal of the Miss International beauty pageant is to promote world peace, goodwill, and understanding.

The pageant is currently owned by the ICA (International Cultural Association) and Miss Paris Group Ltd.
Since it’s inception the pageant has gathered around 60-80 candidates to its annual competition. Last 2019 saw the most number of candidates with 83 participants from all over the world. It is expected that the pageant will grow in terms of contestants this new decade with additional national directors and countries participating.
Contestants of the pageant are expected to be a picture of decorum and finesse. And should act like ambassadors and diplomats of their countries.

Aims of the International Cultural Association*
The Association was approved and founded in April 1969 (Showa 44) as an incorporated organization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Cultural Exchange Division), for the purpose of “friendship and goodwill between all nations of the world” through international exchange. Since then, it has advanced cultural exchange on a broad scale by carrying out international activities under the slogans of “achieving world peace through mutual understanding” and “proper understanding of Japan in international society.” The International Culture Association will continue to be proactive in widening the circle of international exchange by promoting activities appropriate for the global society of the 20th century, so that it can better contribute to mutual understanding between the countries of the world and promote Japan’s image.

The Reputation of the Miss International Pageant
No major scandal has ever touched the Miss International pageant. Relative to other pageants of its scale and prestige, the MI has maintained a clean and respected image in the pageant community.
Its reputation remains one of the most solid and respected as the pageant remains the only Big 4 pageant with no winner who resigned or was dethroned. The closest controversy it has suffered was that of Miss International 2012, Ikumi Yoshimatsu of Japan who was not able to crown her successor due to conflict with a talent agency that threatened her safety and the pageant night itself.
One of the lesser known facts of the pageant is that each of the franchise holders/ national directors can choose how much they can pay for the franchise fees. According to our sources, the pageant has a ‘franchise fee’ that starts from US$1,000 up to US$ 10,000. Initially, prior to 2014-15, there were no franchise fees charged to participating countries. This is due to the reason that the pageant is subsidized by the ministry of tourism of the Japanese government.

Miss International Winners
Among the 4 Alpha pageants, only Miss International has crowned a non-European/ Scandinavian winner on its inaugural stint: Finland won the Miss Universe 1952, Sweden won the Miss World 1951, Colombia won the Miss International 1960, and Denmark grabbed the Miss Earth title 2001.
Venezuela has been the biggest achiever at this global pageant as it has won the title eight times in its almost 60 years. Four of those came in cycles of every three years starting in 1997 (1997, 2000, 2003, and 2006). Venezuela also won in 2010, 2015 and 2018. The country’s first victory was in 1985 with Nina Sicilia, who is now one of the National Directors of the Miss Venezuela pageant.
Philippine reps have won the coveted Mikimoto crown six times. It is the only Asian country to have more than one winner and ranks second to Venezuela in terms of number of wins.
Below are the list of winners of the pageant since 1960
1960 –  Colombia, Stella Márquez
1961 – Netherlands, Stanny van Baer
1962 – Australia, Tania Verstak
1963 – Iceland, Guðrún Bjarnadóttir
1964 – Philippines, Gemma Cruz
1965 – Germany, Ingrid Finger
1966 – no pageant was held
1967 – Argentina, Mirta Massa
1968 – Brazil, Maria da Glória Carvalho
1969 – United Kingdom, Valerie Holmes
1970 – Philippines, Aurora Pijuan
1971 – New Zealand, Jane Hansen
1972 – United Kingdom, Linda Hooks
1973 – Finland, Anneli Björkling
1974 – United States, Brucene Smith
1975 – Yugoslavia, Lidija Manić
1976 – France, Sophie Perin
1977 – Spain, Pilar Medina
1978 – United States, Katherine Ruth
1979 – Philippines, Melanie Marquez
1980 – Costa Rica, Lorna Chávez
1981 – Australia, Jenny Derek
1982 – United States, Christie Claridge
1983 – Costa Rica, Gidget Sandoval
1984 – Guatemala, Ilma Urrutia
1985 – Venezuela, Nina Sicilia
1986 –  England, Helen Fairbrother
1987 – Puerto Rico, Laurie Simpson
1988 – Norway, Catherine Gude
1989 – Germany, Iris Klein
1990 – Spain, Silvia de Esteban
1991 – Poland, Agnieszka Kotlarska †
1992 – Australia, Kirsten Davidson
1993 – Poland, Agnieszka Pachałko
1994 – Greece, Christina Lekka
1995 – Norway, Anne Lena Hansen
1996 – Portugal, Fernanda Alves
1997 – Venezuela, Consuelo Adler
1998 – Panama, Lía Victoria Borrero
1999 –  Colombia, Paulina Gálvez
2000 – Venezuela, Vivian Urdaneta
2001 – Poland, Małgorzata Rożniecka
2002 – Lebanon, Christina Sawaya
2003 – Venezuela, Goizeder Azúa
2004 – Colombia, Jeymmy Vargas
2005 – Philippines, Lara Quigaman
2006 – Venezuela, Daniela Di Giacomo
2007 – Mexico, Priscila Perales
2008 – Spain, Alejandra Andreu
2009 – Mexico, Anagabriela Espinoza
2010 – Venezuela, Elizabeth Mosquera
2011 – Ecuador, Fernanda Cornejo
2012 – Japan, Ikumi Yoshimatsu[b]
2013 – Philippines, Bea Santiago
2014 – Puerto Rico, Valerie Hernandez
2015 – Venezuela, Edymar Martínez
2016 – Philippines, Kylie Verzosa
2017 – Indonesia, Kevin Lilliana
2018 – Venezuela, Mariem Velazco
2019 – Thailand, Sireethorn Leearamwat

The Miss International Mikimoto Crown
One of the most iconic aspects of the pageant is its Mikimoto crown. This crown is the oldest crown among the 4 biggest international pageants still in use. The Mikimoto crown is studded with Japanese cultured pearls and gold trimmed with either ermine or mink fur with an overall total estimated value of US$ 550,000. The first Mikimoto crown was used in 1967.

The pageant has made use of several crowns in its history. The first crown used in 1960 had an appraised value of $1 million.  It was made of solid gold and platinum, it contained 1,000 cultured and black pearls collected from the waters of Australia, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), India, Mexico and the South Pacific.  It had a large star with 12 precious stones including diamonds, garnets and rubies.

* as lifted from the Miss International official Facebook page.

Alice Dixson, Binibining Pilipinas International 1986

One of the most forgotten aspects of Alice Dixson’s career was the fact that she was crowned Binibining Pilipinas International 1986.

Most people would remember Alice as 1) the face of a soap commercial with the famous tagline, “I can feel it!” and 2) as the fairy princess married to a mortal man in the sitcom “Okay Ka, Fairy Ko”. Others would remember her as one of the most memorable actresses to have played the comics character, Dyesebel in a movie (to which another beauty queen, Charlene Gonzales, also played in the 90’s).

The 5’7″ tall Filipina-American beauty was Binibini #28 in the Binibining Pilipinas 1986 pageant. That year, Alice bagged the three special awards, that of Miss Photogenic, Miss Creamsilk Dream Girl, and Miss Talent. She later won the honor to represent the Philippines in the Miss International competition and was the only winner in her batch to have made it into the semis that year (BBP-Universe Violeta Nalus and BBP-Maja Maria Cristina Ramos Recto both didn’t make it in their respective contests). The Miss International was held on August 31st in Huis Ten Bosch (Holland Village) in Nagasaki. Alice was among the 15 semi-finalists chosen from 46 entrants that year. It was England’s Helen Fairbrother who won the title that year.

Most pageant pundits believed that she should’ve made it as Bb. Pilipinas Universe instead of Violeta Nalus, but at that time Alice was ineligible for Miss Universe due to her age. Alice was born July 28, 1969, which makes her only 15 years years old by the time of the Binibining Pilipinas competition. This would have been an issue as she would been disqualified in the Miss Universe pageant had she been sent there. Even back then, the minimum age required to join MU was 18 years old. In an interview just several years back Alice did confirm that she was only 15 years old when she won Binibining Pilipinas International in 1986. Had she been sent to MU, she probably have landed the same fate as that of Pilar Pilapil who was only 16 years old when she competed in MU 1967. (TRIVIA: It was rumored that the MU org suspected that Pilar wasn’t 18 years old as declared in her papers which could have been a reason for her not making semis. Had she competed 2 years later, who knows she might have been the first Filipina Miss Universe instead of Gloria Diaz.)

Alice after her stint in pageants would be remembered as one of the prettiest faces in Philippine showbiz. At age 50 this year, she remains to look as young and as fresh as she first became famous with her Palmolive commercial…

How about you, what is your fondest memory of Alice Dixson?

What Ever Happened to Lara Quigaman’s Crown & Sash?

The Miss International pageant is one of the few remaining international competitions that awards their winners with a cash prize, sash, trophy, glass plaque, and a gold and pearl Miss International tiara.

So let’s find out what ever happened to Miss International 2005 Precious Lara Quigaman’s crown and sash?


Among the Binibining Pilipinas batches in the 2000’s, the 2005 batch is considered the most successful. This is owing to the fact that Lara Quigaman was able to bring home the MI title after 33 years since Melanie Marquez won in 1979.

Unfortunately for Lara, she wasn’t able to keep her Binibining Pilipinas crown as it is passed on to the next winner of the title. According to a Binibining Pilipinas Charities Incorporated (BPCI) official, the old crowns are kept in a vault-storage. The red Cumbia gown that Lara wore during the Binibining Pilipinas finals was also kept by the BPCI. A framed picture of hers is displayed in the BPCI offices together with other notable former BBP titleholders.

Lara was able to keep her Binibining Pilipinas – International sash which she keeps in a tightly sealed zip-locked bag with her other Miss international prizes.


Lara was able to keep most of her Miss International prizes. In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, she said that she was able to hold on to her MI sash, glass plaque, trophy and framed picture. The MI plaque and trophy are in her home displayed in her room. Her original MI sash was however kept in an air-tight bag as it got stained and damaged. When her sash got stained and had it washed, the gold trim bled damaging the sash. Lara said that the sash got worn almost daily as she had used it during the entire duration of her reign. She had a replica of the Miss International sash made when the original could no longer be used.

The original Miss International Estelle Esme crown was kept by the Miss International organization. She nevertheless was awarded a smaller Miss International tiara. She also further detailed that the tiara came in a pink box lined with satin cushion.

Homecoming parade of Lara Quigaman and Bea Rose Santiago
Homecoming parade of Lara Quigaman and Bea Rose Santiago


Speaking of crowns and tiaras, Lara is one of the very few Miss International winners who was allowed to wear the original Miss International crown outside of Japan. The original Estelle Asme pearl and gold crown was flown in from Tokyo for Lara’s victory parade. It is rumored that this distinction is only given to the MI winners whom the pageant organizers truly likes. The BPCI is said to have adjusted Lara’s homecoming parade as to wait for the original crown to arrive in Manila. Rumor also has it that Lara possesses a replica of the original Miss International crown, which in turn was used during much of Bea Rose Santiago’s public  appearances in 2013.

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. 

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?”

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.
* https://www.brilio.net/creator/harga-fantastis-mahkota-miss-international-vs-miss-grand-international-112071.html

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

Miss International Winners and Placers from the Philippines

Of the Alpha pageants (the four major international beauty pageants) – Miss Universe, Miss International, Miss World, Miss Earth – the Philippines produced the most number of winners in the Japan-based Miss International. The country has six titleholders, the most for any Asian, European or African country (only Venezuela, with eight Miss International winners, is ahead of the Philippines).

To honor the highest title in the Binibining Pilipinas 2020 pageant, we are featuring the six Filipina winners and the 27 Filipina placers of the Miss International pageant.

NOTE: This is going to be a long read, so we urge our beloved readers to be patient. 

The Filipinas Who Won Miss International

  • 1964 – Gemma Teresa Guerrero Cruz
    Gemma Cruz was 21 years old when she won as Miss International Beauty on Aug. 14, 1964 in Long Beach, California. She was the daughter of journalist Carmen Guerrero Nakpil and a descendant of National Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal. The 5’10” beauty donated her $10,000 cash prize as Miss International to Boys Town and Girls Home in Marikina City. She would later serve as the director of the National Museum under the Marcos administration and as Secretary of Tourism under the Estrada administration. After her reign she authored several book on Philippine history.
  • 1970 –  Aurora McKenney Pijuan
    Aurora is from Bacolod, one of the 12 children of Marcelo Pijuan and Lucielle Mckenney. The then 20-year old Aurora nabbed the title among a field of 47 delegates. With her statuesque height of 5’8″ she later became a sought after ramp and commercial model endorsing PAL, Eskinol, Pepsi, Star Margarine and a bevy of other products. Aurora had a short stint in showbiz, her most memorable films being “Si Popeye Atbp,” where she played Olive Oyl to Ariel Ureta’s Popeye; and “Sunugin and Samar.” She is currently an active member of Gawad Kalinga, a movement that helps poor families in rural areas.
  • 1979 – Mimilanie Marquez
    Nicknamed Melanie, she is the youngest winner of Miss International  in history at the age of 15 when she competed in 1979. During the finals held in Tokyo she won the Best in National Costume award. The 5’11” Melanie was not a popular choice to win the national title but celebrity judges Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz and actor Ramon Revilla Sr. believed in her and fought for her. True enough, just as they predicted, she won our country’s third Mikimoto crown…

  • 2005 – Precious Lara Quigaman
    The 5’6″ beauty from Biñan is the eldest of four children and a freelance web writer. Lara is a graduate of NVQ Media Production and Communications at Filton College in the United Kingdom. She also took up Bachelor of Arts in Childhood and Youth Studies at Bristol UK. Her victory came as a surprise as there was a prevalent rumor that no Filipina rep will ever win as long as socialite Dewi Sukarno sits as a judge. Lara is also one of the shortest Miss International winners.
  • 2013 – Bea Rose Monterde Santiago
    A commanding beauty standing at 5’9″ tall, this Mutya ng Pilipinas alum became the 5th Filipina to win the MI crown. The Masbate-born international model bested 66 other contestants in the competition’s 53rd edition, held at Shinagawa Prince Hotel Hall in Tokyo. She studied Communications at York University in Canada and became a model under Elite Model Management.
  • 2016 – Kylie Fausto Verzosa
    In the 27th of October Kylie Fausto Versoza nailed the country’s sixth Miss International crown in Tokyo, Japan. Her victory fortified the Philippines’ position as the top Asian country in the international tilt that was inaugurated in Long Beach, California in 1960. The 5’8″ doe-eyed lass from Baguio was the top fan favorite during the Binibining Pilipinas 2016 title.


The Miss International Runners Up
– the country boasts of 4 runner up placements in the pageant with a string of wins from 1970 to 1973. This is a bit surprising considering that the Philippines has been a powerhouse in the MI titl. Aurora Pijuan started an avalanche of top 5 placements that culminated with a 4th runner up finish in 1973.

  • 1971 – Evelyn Camus, 2nd runner up
  • 1972 – Yolanda ‘Yogie’ Dominguez, 2nd runner up
  • 1973 – Elena Ojeda, 4th runner up
  • 2018 – Ahtisa Manalo, 1st runner up

The Miss International Semifinalists – the Philippines boasts of the most stellar record among Asian countries in terms of achievement in the MI pageant. It has 33 placements (including wins) and counting. Currently the Philippines holds 23 semi-finalist & finalist placements.

  • 1960 – Edita Vital
  • 1963 – Monina Yllana
  • 1968 – Nenita “Nini” Ramos
  • 1969 – Margaret Rose “Binky” Montinola
  • 1975 – Jaye Murphy
  • 1976 – Dolores Ascalon
  • 1980 – Diana Chiong
  • 1981 – Alice Sacasas
  • 1986 – Jessie Alice Dixson
  • 1991 – Patricia Betita
  • 1994 – Alma Concepcion
  • 1995 – Gladys Andre Dueñas
  • 1996 – Yedda Marie Mendoza Kittilstvedt
  • 1997 – Susan Jane Ritter
  • 1998 – Colette Centeno Glazer
  • 2004 – Margaret Ann Bayot
  • 2008 – Patricia Fernandez
  • 2009 – Melody Gersbach
  • 2010 – Krista Kleiner
  • 2011 – Dianne Necio
  • 2012 – Nicole Schmitz
  • 2015 – Janicel Lubina
  • 2019 – Bea Patricia Magtanong