Opinion: Jessica Rose McEwen for Miss Earth New Zealand?

One of the shocking non-inclusions in the Miss Philippines Earth top 5 is Jessica Rose McEwen. After being virtually every pageant sites’ top pick, she only managed to finish among the top 10 of this year’s competition.

Why do you think she missed the cut? I have two theories. First is that her very Caucasian features wasn’t the preferred look of the finals night judges. My second theory (and most likely to have happened) is that being the first to be called out in the top 10 was the culprit. This might be a case wherein judges would underscore the first candidate in the semis while reserving their top marks for those that will come after. This is why it is more beneficial for girls to be called in the middle of the semis call-outs. While this may sound very superficial to most, this might explain what affected Jessica’s chances in the top 5.

Personally, I would want to see Jessica represent New Zealand in Miss Earth. I believe it is time for New Zealand to be represented by a strong candidate whose pageant training is done by one of the best in the business. Jessica has the goods to become Miss Earth, more so with her heart for the pageant.

Hopefully, Jessica would give Miss Earth New Zealand a try. My intuition tells me that she might find herself competing in Miss Earth if she does so…

Filipina Beauty Queens Who are also Academic Achievers with Latin Honors

The Philippines never fell short of academic achievers in its roster of beauty queens. From lawyers, engineers, teachers, artists, to medical students and practitioners, we haven’t run out of women who are not just beautiful and academically inclined but are also very articulate. While this list isn’t all-out-comprehensive, it does take us through a journey of how those who have worn the “Miss Philippines” sash are more than just their good looks…

Elizabeth de Padua (Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1976)
– Pre-Med, summa cum laude (University of the Philippines) and later topped the medical board exams
Theresa Licaros (Binibining Pilipinas Universe 2007)
– Broadcast Communication, summa cum laude (University of the Philippines)
– Law (University of the Philippines) with Salutatorian honors
Karen Ibasco (Miss Philippines Earth 2017)
– Applied Physics, major in Instrumentation, cum laude (University of Santo Tomas)
– Masters in Applied Physics, major in Medical Physics, cum laude (University of Santo Tomas)
Jeanne Therese Hilario (Binibining Pilipinas Maja 1989 & Miss Maja International 2nd runner up)
– Chemical Engineering, magna cum laude (Universtity of Santo Tomas) and also a board topnotcher

Zorayda Ruth Andam (Binibining Pilipinas Universe 2001)
– Economics, magna cum laude (University of the Philippines)
– Law (University of the Philippines) with Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence upon graduation
Shamcey Supsup (Miss Universe 2011 3rdrunner-up)
– Architecture, magna cum laude (University of the Philippines – Diliman) and board topnotcher for architecture
Venus Raj (Miss Universe 2010 4th runner-up)
– Communication Arts, cum laude (Bicol University)
– Master’s degree in Community Development (University of the Philippines – Diliman)
Janine Tugonon (Miss Universe 2012 first runner-up)
– Pharmacy, cum laude (University of Santo Tomas)
Lia Andrea Ramos (Binibining Pilipinas Universe 2006)
– Political Science, cum laude (University of the Philippines)

In the Philippines we give a premium to education, more so for those that have finished with honors. This is perhaps our fascination with beauty queens who can not just look beautiful and speak eloquently but are also academic achievers.
Surely there are more names that we could add to this list. And we jst couldn’t squeeze them in one blogpost. Can you care to share some of them names and honors?

Who will complete #TeamPhilippines2017?

With the recent crowning of Miss Philippines Earth Karen Ibasco, the Philippines is just one crowning short to complete #TeamPhilippines for 2017. First to be crowned this year was Binibining Pilipinas International Maria Angelica de Leon and Miss Philippines Universe Rachel Louise Peters during the coronation last April 30th. 

Rumor has it that the following girls are gunning for the Miss World Philippines title: Mutya ng Pilipinas alum Janela Joy Cuaton, Reyna ng Aliwan 2016 Cynthia Thomalla, former Binibining Pilipinas runner up Laura Lehman and Miss Globe 2015 Ann Colis. Some of these names are perhaps decoys for the real possible participants so unless we see them in the competition we gotta believe their joining with a grain of salt.

Karen Ibasco Adds to the List of Beauty Queens slash Academic Achievers

Karen Ibasco joins the growing list of smart, articulate academic achievers turned beauty queens this year. This physicist/DOST scholar/university instructor/ academic achiever is perhaps the first scientist to win the Miss Philippines Earth title, not so different with Kara McCullough who won Miss USA earlier this year.
In a post coronation interview she mentioned that she wants to utilize her background to make people aware so that they would care about the environment. The well-spoken lady also believes that the pageant is a great platform to reach out to a wider range of audience to make them understand the science behind climate change. 
Her environmental advocacy is also tied to her profession as a physicist. She understands the dynamics of physics and energy and says that this is why her cause is towards renewable sources of energy in the country. 

Karen has a simplistic beauty that is enhanced by her beautiful mind. A lot may not see that on her right now but this blogger saw it way before people saw her with a crown. Brain and beauty does go hand in hand when it comes to the newly crowned Filipina representative for Miss Earth.

Karen Ibasco and the Winners of Miss Philippines Earth 2017!

Opps! I did it again! Yes I have predicted once again the winner for this year’s Miss Philippines Earth pageant.

My favorites to win the title…

This year the top winners/ elemental court of queens are:
Miss Philippines Fire – Nellza Bautista
Miss Philippines Air – Kim de Guzman
Miss Philippines Eco-Tourism – Vanessa Mae Castillo
Miss Philippines Water – Jessica Marasigan
Miss Philippines Earth – Karen Ibasco 


It was evident that the evening belonged to her and eventual Miss Philippines Air Kim de Guzman. But it was clear that Karen was bound to be the winner after the final Q&A segment. When asked about what environmental change would they like the government to implement, it was only Karen who was able to give a direct and specific answer to the question. As a matter of fact she consistently nailed the Q&A segments of the competition from the one-on-one closed-door interview, the top 10 “hashtag” interviews during the finals and of course the final Q&A.

Karen is a multi-hyphen achiever being a medical practitioner, a physicist, a teacher and self-confessed fashion and health enthusiast. The 5’7″ Chinita beauty has some facial similarities with Binibining Pilipinas Maja 1993, Marina Benipayo. She will later compete in Miss Earth on November 4th at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

This year one of the biggest changes in the pageant is the removal of the ranking of the elemental court and as such were named randomly during the finals. This means that if in case that Karen wouldn’t be able to compete her reign, any of the four elemental queens could readily take her place. Clearly a move towards the right direction to give equal importance to the elemental queens…
Congratulations to all the winners! 

My Miss Philippines Earth 2017 Favorites

Tonight is the Coronation Night of Miss Philippines Earth 2017, 7PM at the Mall of Asia Arena. And Sashes&Scripts’ favorites for the title ended with a major shake up on the ladies on the list. 
Among the 40 candidates this year, I set my sights initially on the most striking girl with huge stage presence. However, my list ended up with a triple-threat for the top spot. How to break the tie? I had to re-watch the close door interview of the Miss Philippines Earth candidates to rank them up. Not an easy task considering that an overwhelming majority of the girls in my list are very articulate.
Here is my list:
1. Miss Philippines Earth – Manila, Karen Ibasco
2. Miss Philippines Air –  Fil. Comm. of New Zealand, Jessica Rose McEwen
3. Miss Philippines Water – Olongapo City, Kim De Guzman
4. Miss Philippines Fire – Lobo, Batangas, Vanessa Mae Castillo
5. Miss Philippines Eco-Tourism – Pulilan, Bulacan, Samantha Acosta
In all honesty, the top three in my list are still the ones I am rooting to win the top plum. Karen’s interview impressed me so much that I placed her on top. Although in terms of over-all aspect, Kim is perhaps the most capable of representing the Philippines in the international scene. Jessica is my pick for the biggest spoiler for the title and could sneak in a surprise but well deserved win.

Continuing names on my list are:
6. Makati City, Rheena Rae Ferrer
7. Angeles City, Korin Frances Dizon
8. Puerto Princesa City, Sadrine Stoelzaed
9. Caloocan City, Jessica Marasigan
10. Cagayan de Oro City, Sherlyn Doloriel
The show will be televised on ABS-CBN on July 16, Sunday, 9:45am, right before ASAP. Live stream will be on the Facebook page of Miss Philippines-Earth and on RAPPLER.

Filipina Beauty Queens: Pageant Success due to Pure Filipinas or Halfies?

There had been a number of criticisms that the only reason why the Philippines is doing well in pageants is because it only sends half-Filipina beauties to compete… Today’s post is about addressing that criticism as merely an oversimplification of a complex situation.

Since 2010 (which marked the start of the new Golden Era of Philippine pageantry), we have sent 28 lovely ladies to 4 of the biggest international pageant competitions. Of course we had to limit the number to only the Alpha pageants since including all pageants would turn out to be too mind-numbing a number. What most people don’t realize is that out of that 28 girls 19 of them are full-blooded Filipinas while the other half are a mix of Filipino with other nationalities. Not to mention that 3 out of the six international winners are full blooded Filipinas…meaning that the mix is equally split. Angelia Ong, Bea Rose Santiago and Kylie Verzosa are on one side, while Pia Wurtzbach, Megan Young and Jamie Herrell are halfies… That is a split even mix of both groups.

Then we have the common knowledge that the Filipinos are very open-minded and welcoming to inter-racial marriages. This means that a number of the pageant girls may have come from families with foreign blood in them. This actually stems from two scenarios: 1) is the Filipino diaspora to the four corners of the world and 2) the colonization of the Philippines by no less than three countries. It is estimated that 2.4 million Filipinos are working overseas, and the possibility of marrying into other races is a likely scenario. In its history, the Philippines has been colonized by a country from Europe (Spain), the Americas (the United States) and Northeast Asia (Japan). Not to mention that pre-colonial Philippine history also mentioned migration of peoples from the Austronesian regions (Indo-Ph-Malaysia) and even from Taiwan. This gives enough enlightenment on how diverse the population is in terms of race. This would perhaps give rise to the notion that the country is a melting pot of sorts.

One of the most beautiful pure blooded Filipinas (certainly in my opinion) we have sent to any international pageant is Ariella Arida. And yet she represents a diverse image of what a beautiful full-blooded Filipina is. Her looks are different from that of Janine Tugonon’s or Maxine Medina or Hillarie Parungao or Janicel Lubina. In fact, some of these girls could easily pass off as mixed beauties… Maxine can pass of as a Japanese-Filipina, Ariella could look like she has Middle-Eastern blood, Shamcey Supsup looks like she has Latina blood. So there is no real one singular look to what a pure Pinay should have to look like. It is as diverse as the 7,107 islands of the country or the 80+ ethno-linguistic groups that populate the archipelago.
Another point that is often neglected in this debate is that the Philippines rarely send unprepared candidates. Thanks largely to national directors, pageant trainors, coaches, managers, etc… Pinay reps are usually fully equipped when they face international competition. Pageant training is rigorous in the country. Pageant girls here are mentally prepared when they compete, not just physical preparedness. They train like they are competing for an Olympic sport.

This is why the argument that Filipinas do well in pageants when we send halfies, and it fact it is moot point. 28 different women represented the country in Miss Universe, Miss International, Miss Earth and Miss World since 2010. And each of them represent a different look, a different kind of steel nerves and determination. Yet all these girls have done well in representing the country in international pageants… whether they won or not.