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.
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.
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.
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
As the country celebrates its 119th Independence Day, have made a couple of funart banners of which features several ladies who have worn the crown with pride. This is a teaser post for the Philippine Independence Day celebrations for tomorrow featuring my favorite Filipina reps for the 4 Alpha pageants from recent years.
Miss Philippines Earth 2015 – Angelia Gabrena Ong
Miss Universe Philippines 2013 – Ariella Arida
Binibining Pilipinas International 2014 – Bianca Guidotti
Miss World Philippines 2014 – Valerie Weigmann
Yes these four ladies are the ones that are my personal faves and will be having a separate blogpost in the coming week…
The new Miss World Philippines organization has already started its siren call for applicants to the national competition. To drum up the buzz for the pageant we list down several past Miss World representatives that could have been Miss World winners…
Evangeline Pascual – it is said that she should have won the Miss World title in 1973 which went to Marjorie Wallace. 17-year old Evangeline was relegated to 1st runner up at the pageant held at the Royal Albert Hall. So when Marjorie was dethroned, the Miss World organization offered the responsibilities of a winner to Evangeline, who was already under a movie contract by then. Only the responsibilities of a winner is offered and not the title as Miss World. Evangeline declined the offer due to contract conflicts; she would have been the first Filipina Miss World.
Sharmaine Ruffa Gutierrez – beauty, poise, wit and charm, those were the qualities that distinguished 19-year old Ruffa among her competitors in Sun City, South Africa. Despite being the favorite to win, she only managed a 2nd Princess finish that has left a number of pageant observers baffled.
Carlene Aguilar – hers was a landmark year where it was announced that the Miss World semifinalists will be selected through a worldwide voting. Previous year had a bit of a controversy when there was a sudden inclusion of judges at the 2004 finals when it was previously announced that internet and SMS voting would determine the winner. Carlene placed among the top 15 in Sanya, China that year despite being among the top 3 bets to win the title. She was also popular among the locals and pageant connoisseurs/ experts to win the title.
Valerie Weigmann – she came in at the heels of the first Filipina Miss World, Megan Young yet she prepared stronger in her participation with strong Beauty with a Purpose Project, Multimedia and Topmodel fasttracks. The 25 year old German-Filipina was also shut out from the Beach Fashion as well despite having modelesque body proportions. Her non-inclusion among the top scorers in the latter 2 were baffling. Some believed that had she been able to make top 5 that year, she could have provided ample competition to reps from South Africa and India.
Catriona Gray – undoubtedly the strongest Filipina rep to ever set foot to the Miss World stage. Tall, articulate, talented, and well prepared, she was poised to become the second Filipina MW winner. During the finals, she was named one of the top 5 finalists and was awarded the 3rd runner up honors during the post coronation ceremonies. Her placement left a number of Filipino fans angered at the lack of transparency on the judging criteria and process of the pageant (having also removed earlier the leaderboard which showed the rankings of the candidates during the fasttracks).
With the Miss World Philippines under new directorship and management, who do you think will follow these ladies footsteps in representing the country in Miss World?
Miss World 3rd runner up and current Miss World Philippines Catriona Gray stunning in Leo Almodal!
Photographer: Ahleks Fusilero
Make Up Artist: Sharms De Castro
Hair: Dave Grona
And special thanks to Jojo Bragais
Stylist: Patrick Henry Mergano
Fashion Coordinator: Richard Sumait
Video courtesy of Leo Almodal