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. 

Is Having a Beauty Pageant Camp No Longer an Advantage?

Within the next two years we are seeing a possible trend declining, so we ask the question: is being in a beauty pageant camp no longer a competitive advantage for beauty pageant hopefuls?

With the second Golden Era of Philippine pageantry already at its peak, we now see the possible beginnings of the decrease on the dependence on beauty pageant camps. Why is that? Because nowadays, every pageant girl who is trained by beauty camps realizes that their once-thought competitive advantage is no longer an actual advantage… as everyone nowadays belong to one pageant camp or another. This is illustrated with the rise in the numbers of pageant girls switching pageant camps. And with camps swarming with 15 to 20 girls being trained, there is no longer the exclusivity of being trained one-on-one so the focus is now divided over the number of girls they train. This is where pageant hopefuls are in need of finding auxiliary help from outside who can dedicate their time exclusively to her.

Does this mean that the obsolescence of the pageant camps is at hand? No, but it signals the rise of the individual glam-squad.
What is a glam-squad? These are usually makeup artists, fashion stylists, designers, photographers and hairstylists that help out the pageant hopeful in competing for local and international pageants. These usually are friends and/or close acquaintances of the girl or of her family and friends. This mode works to augment the beauty camps that could be swamped with dozens of girls that need training and provide necessary back ups for the girls in their pageant participation. The rise of the glam-squad is also a rise in the number of fashion professionals who can get client referrals and regular paid work thru exposure via the pageant hopeful.


The phenomena of the personal glam-squad arose in the time of Pia Wurtzbach (prior to competing in Miss Universe) when she had a regular team of fashion entourage. She had Albert Andrada as her go-to-designer, Gery Penaso for her makeup, Renz Pangilinan for her hair plus friends like Luis Concepcion and Harley Tan for support on anything fashion and lifestyle related. Having them plus her mentors at Aces & Queens became a catalyst for her success in Miss Universe in Las Vegas. We also saw this with Maxine Medina whose go-to-designer is Rhett Eala, Jennifer Hammond with Nat Manilag and Kylie Verzosa with Francis Libiran plus countless fashion professionals too many to mention in this short blogpost.
While this trend might have brewed starting in the last quarter of 2015, I am expecting that its full maturity will be felt and seen sometime in the international pageant season of 2017. This might be the future direction that all pageant hopefuls have to think about…

Should Janela Joy Cuaton Join BBP2017?

When I was asked should Janela Joy Cuaton join Binibining Pilipinas, I said yes, she should join twice.

Yes, you heard me right. I said that she should join twice, first time for the experience and the second time to win the title. At 19 years old, Janela has all the time in the world to be joining pageants. This chameleon-like beauty is quite young still for any of the titles in Binibini but it would be great for her to experience the national competition to get a feel of the contest. Then comeback several years later after she finishes her degree and aim for a title.
This was the gameplan that Nicole Schmitz did years ago and Janela can definitely copy a page from that. Not to mention that Janela is also the 1st runner up to the reigning Miss Tourism Metropolitan International, and should the Thai winner not be able to fulfill her duties through the year, Janela would ascend to the title immediately. 

Those are my thoughts on it. Janela is going to be a heavy contender if she matures just a little more and I have no qualms in saying that I can see the making of a Binibining Pilipinas winner in her. So whenever Janela decides to join, everyone should be waiting for that…
And for those who are curious, Janela already passed her Mutya ng Pilipinas title last year so there is no conflict should she joing BBP this year. Hope to see you in Binibining Pilipinas Janela!

Jaya San Jose Now Competing in Malaysia

The Miss Tourism International is usually held at the eve of New Year every year in Malaysia. Missing the Christmas and New Year’s celebration in the Philippines is Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism International Justine Mae ‘Jaya’ San Jose.

But that sacrifice comes with other bonuses as she is currently experiencing the best that host country, Malaysia, has to offer. She is seen with the rest of the girls in sight-seeing and experiencing the tourist destinations of Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi. Jaya is considered one of the strong candidates in the competition alongside delegates from Australia, Brazil and Mexico. 60 girls from around the world are competing in the pageant.

Jaya will be last girl in 2016 to compete this year from the Mutya ng Pilipinas roster of winners. Earlier this year fellow Mutya ng Pilipinas winner Janela Joy Cuaton placed 2nd in Miss Tourism Metropolitan Internationa, Ganiel Krishnan was 3rd in Miss Asia Pacific International and Ashley Nicole Singh placed among the top 10 of the Miss Tourism Queen International held in China.

Mutya ng Pilipinas Jaya San Jose Bound for KL!

Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism International, Jaya San Jose is leaving for Kuala Lumpur today!

The finals will be set on New Year’s eve at December 31st, which means that our Filipina bet would be missing Christmas in the Philippines. But all of that sacrifice is for the Philippines as she will be gunning for the 4th Miss Tourism International crown for the country. We wish her luck in the competition!
Model: Justine Mae “Jaya” San Jose
HMUA: Alwin Flores Racinez
Photography: Onecho Gabinete

Jaya San Jose’s Color of Joy

The Philippines doesn’t seem to run out of beautiful Filipinas to send at international pageants… and the last Pinay to compete for an international title would be Justine Mae “Jaya” San Jose.

Basing on these lovely photos the Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism International is ready for the finals that will be held at the Marriott Putrajaya Hotel, in Malaysia. The Miss Tourism International was first held in 1994 and boasts itself with candidates coming from all corners of the world. The Philippines has the most number of wins so far with three titles and everyone is hoping that Jaya would cement the lead with a fourth title this year…


Photos courtesy of Mam Thess Alcaide San Jose…
Photography: Jerome Elizaga
Stylist and wardrobe: Grace Moran Billington
HMUA: Ruth Ashley

Mutya ng Pilipinas Winners set to Compete!

The Mutya ng Pilipinas girls are set to conquer the international scene! Fresh from the 1st runner up finish of Janela Joy Cuaton at Miss Tourism Metropolitan International, her fellow Mutya sisters are all set to compete this year for more international titles…

Below are details of the next Mutya winners to compete internationally this year:

1.) Mutya ng Pilipinas 2016 Asia Pacific Int’l, Ganiel Akrisha Krishnan
MISS ASIA PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL 2016
Pageant Date: November 23, 2016
Location: Puerto Princesa, Philippines
2.) Mutya ng Pilipinas 2016 2nd Runner-Up, Ashley Nicole Singh
MISS TOURISM QUEEN OF THE YEAR INTERNATIONAL 2016
Pageant Date: December 18, 2016
Location: Shanghai, China
3.) Mutya ng Pilipinas 2016 Tourism International, Justine Mae San Jose
MISS TOURISM INTERNATIONAL 2016
Pageant Date: December 31, 2016
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

We are wishing these ladies the best in their respective competition and may they bring home honors for the Philippines.