Janela Joy Cuaton: A Woman for the World

Finding a follow-up to Catriona Gray is a tough challenge yet such is the case for Janela Joy Cuaton as she aspires to be the next rep to Miss World. IMHO, Janela would arguably be the best follow up to Catriona simply because she may just be the type of lass that the Miss World might be looking for: pretty, innocent-looking, humble, articulate, pure of heart and approachable. 

Words from her supportive mother below illustrates why she is perhaps the only candidate this year with a strong Beauty with a Purpose Project with her Passion for Fashion project…
Who is Janela Joy Cuaton? She is a 20-year old beautiful soul who hails from the province of Masbate City and Southern Leyte but grew up in Qatar. At a young age of 16, she started her advocacy to help the needy and empower young women. She founded “Fashion meets Passion” wherein she gathered young girls and teens for a workshop that will train them on how to pose and walk like a model, develop self confidence, be a responsible young adult and be the best version of themselves.

Her passion for helping others has led her to join beauty pageants, Miss World Philippines being the most recent. She is eager to join Miss World as this is a way to make her advocacy wider and affect more lives.
1. Fashion meets passion season 1 she was able to feed up to 1200 people and gave 700 school bags, supplies and foods in Saint Bernard Southern Leyte.
2. Fashion meets passion season 2, she went to Asilo de Molo in Iloilo to give love, care and share blessings to our Lolos and Lolas.
3. Fashion meets passion season 3, she went to the National Children’s Hospital in Manila.
4. Fashion meets passion season 4 having recently finished just last month, the beneficiaries will be announce soon.
5. She has also helped many OFWs in Qatar.

She might not be the lady on top of everyone’s list right not but she should be. Janela could possibly be just the right girl to be the country’s rep to Miss World in China this year…

Catriona Gray: Still Busy as a Bee

Miss World 3rd Princess Catriona Gray’s reign is perhaps the most packed among past Miss World Philippines winners.

Aside from her countless charity events and shows, she hasn’t run out of public appearances too boot. Earlier today we saw her with past Miss World Philippines winners Queneerich Rehman, Hillarie Parungao, Gwendoline Ruais and Megan Young during the Miss World Philippines press launch. The MWPh is now under new management with Arnold Vegafria as National Director. Despite this, Catriona whose contract is under the previous MWPh management is still lending her presence to the MWPh pageant. She truly is committed to finish her reign as she promised.

Despite nearing the end of her reign, Catriona is still busy going over the Philippines with multiple gigs as host or as a pageant judge. She has been to Davao, Agusan de Sur, and Ilocos for a number of local and national pageants. Not only that she has just recently shot a campaign with other beauty queens like Maxine Medina and Nicole Cordoves for GoingPlaces.ph. Could these Binibining Pilipinas beauties finally be able to convince her to jump ship for the biggest national pageant in the country? Well we are all waiting anxiously for her answer…

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. 

Catriona Gray: the Beauty Completes her Purpose

She set out to help Young Focus to reach out and provide education to the slums of Smokey Mountain, one of Metro Manila’s most impoverished communities, and through her passion, determination, hardwork, the task is near completion…

Miss World 3rd runner up Catriona Gray has almost come full circle since her winning Miss World Philippines. From the onset, she sought out to help Young Focus in their mission to reach out and provide free and accessible education in Smokey Mountain. Since then they were able to purchase a three story building that they have transformed and renovated into a Childcare and Preschool Center. Check out the work that has been done to change the building into a youth and study center…

The crown represented a journey. One that began in my room as I was praying. This was after my first trip to Tondo, Manila and I was asking God, “God why does there continue to be so much suffering in this world?” And God spoke to me in my own voice saying “That is why I created you (my children).”
This revelation struck me so deep in my core that I knew I had set foot a new path. The crown represented a journey that grew from being an independent endeavor to one that became more than me. A journey that rallied the support and love of my countrymen. A journey that forced me to look into myself and discover what I was made of. A journey that found its heart in the children in one of the poorest slums of my country. Yes, the crown represented a journey…until I realized that the journey could continue and exist without it. – Catriona Gray

This is what true Beauty with a Purpose looks like. Catriona has used her celebrity and beauty queen status to raise funds from corporate sponsorships, benefit concerts and auctions, private fundraisers, etc… Now with her Miss World Philippines reign almost nearing completion, we can proudly say that this beauty has completed her Purpose. 

Sashes&Scripts’ Favorite Filipina Queens in this Decade (so far)

If I am asked who are my favorite Filipina queens in this decade, I can immediately name four: Angelia, Bianca, Ariella and Valerie. They have brains, substance and inner beauty by the tons. These four women aside from their physical attributes has something that separates them from the rest: attitude and personality. 

Angelie Gabrena Ong – during her stint at Miss Philippines Earth, I knew that she was destined to emerge as winner. But seeing her defy all odds and become Miss Earth with a back-to-back win was way impressive. She won on a foreign land with a foreign set of judges following a tough act of following Miss Earth Jamie Herrell. Angelia always retains her sweet, humble, bubbly and positive outlook which is rare with international winners. It is no wonder that even after her reign, she is still sought by the ME organization for public appearances here and abroad. Her environmental advocacy is surely more than just skin-deep.
Bianca Guidotti – she became a personal favorite early on because of her charity work. She was a volunteer before she became a beauty queen and she did a marvelous job as Binibining Pilipinas International. A ball of energy and always lively, I admire how this beautiful lady has showcased a lovely personality that goes perfectly well with her beautiful face and statuesque body. This lady would have been a great Miss International had it not for the Mikimoto curse. Bianca continues to work on several of her advocacies like SaveSexy and HIV-AIDS awareness. Her ability to give back to the community is something that all beauty queens should aspire.
Ariella Arida – you don’t get the nickname of “Pambansang Mars” if you don’t possess a good heart. That is what Ara has that has made her endearing to pageant fans. On a personal note, when I met her, Ara was very grounded and down-to-earth despite her success at Miss Universe. Mutual friends have described this Laguna lass as one without put-ons. When faced with criticisms over her thick Filipino accent, she would always find ways to diffuse tensions with unexpected humor.
Valerie Clacio Weigmann – when you donate your pageant winnings to the personal advocacy you believe in, you easily earn my respect and admiration. That is why I have so much love for this woman. Thru her #Musikaramay Beauty with a Purpose Project she was able to raise funds and purchase a hectare of land for displaced Aetas. That is the power of her celebrity, despite criticisms that she isn’t Filipina enough being of German-Filipino descent. Valerie, in my opinion, was robbed of a deserving placement in Miss World and should have at least been in the top 5. Nevertheless, she finds success as a model walking the runways of New York Fashion Week and finding her Prince Charming (who proposed at the scenic Macchu Picchu) earlier this year.
To sum it all, these four have one thing in common: GRACE. I believe that it is what makes them more admirable to all. They may not be the ones that most people would expect (as most would prefer the more popular ladies) but these girls are more than just surface beauties. I am very pleased to have seen these ladies bring meaning to the titles that they were given. These four are the epitome of beauty, personality and grace.

How Cory Quirino Got Her Life Back

It has been a little over 5 months since Cory Quirino has relinquished her position as National Director for Miss World Philippines and she says that she “got her life back”.

She has held the ND position for 6 years in which she has produced: Megan Young- Miss World 2013, Gwendoline Ruais – Miss World 2012 1st Princess, Catriona Gray – Miss World 2016 3rd Princess, Hillarie Parungao, Queenrich Rehman and Valerie Wegmann – who were all semifinalists in their respective years. Cory however laments how the pageant took 40% of her time that ballooned to 100% during the preparations for the nationals. In a report by the Philippine Star, she mulled over whether she wants to be doing it for the next 10 years and this is what she had to say: “I asked myself, ‘How long do you see yourself doing this? Do you see yourself doing this 10 years from now?’ The answer is no.”But she also stresses that the pageant gave her unforgettable memories in her life.
The Philippine Star article also read: History shows that it takes 20 to 30 years to develop a Filipina Miss World. At 64 going on 65 in August, Cory doesn’t want to wait until she’s 80 to see another Filipina wearing the crown after Megan Young, who won in 2013.

Cory has now moved on and is focusing at her core competency, which is healthy living. She now doesn’t need to postpone tapings for her show “Graceful Living” and has more than enough time on her hands to do the things that make her happy. Being liberated from the things that gives her stress is her sure way of keeping healthy and looking young. Giving up the Miss World Philippines has surely given her life back.


Happy Independence Day, Philippines!

In celebration of the 119th Independence Day of the Philippines, we feature our latest Alpha queens in a Pinoy-themed banner art…

Miss Earth 2014, Jamie Herrell
Miss Earth 2015, Angelia Gabrena Ong
Miss International 2013, Bea Rose Santiago
Miss International 2016, Kylie Verzosa
Miss Universe 2015, Pia Wurtzbach
Miss World 2013, Megan Young