Pageant Franchises: A Little or Too Much?

There has been too many franchise switching over the last two years, but none dared to ask when does a national pageant have too little international pageant franchise, or too much of it?

An international pageant franchise adds prestige to a national competition. But these days where pageants are a dime a dozen, local pageants are advised to be mindful of what pageant franchises they acquire.

Today’s blogpost will talk about local pageants that would benefit from having additional franchises and ones that need to evaluate if they have too much.

Continue reading “Pageant Franchises: A Little or Too Much?”

Cory Quirino, Mutya ng Pilipinas President!

After taking a 2-year break from pageants, Madame Cory Quirino is back and now at the helm of the Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant!

Two years after saying that “she got her life back” after her stint as a National Director for a local pageant, Madam Cory is now going to spearhead the Mutya search.

This was confirmed after weeks of speculation in an interview by MJ Marfori. Former Mutya ng Pilipinas President, Hemilyn Escudero-Tamayo announced on January 4, that she has resigned her post as head of the beauty pageant, one of the most enduring and prestigious national beauty contests in the country. This followed speculations among insiders that Ms. Quirino was set to succeed her position. It was also rumored that at least two other ‘celebrities’ were offered to head the pageant.

The Mutya ng Pilipinas beauty pageant is the closest rival of Bb. Pilipinas contest in terms of longevity and prestige. Established in 1968 the pageant has held a number of international pageant franchises, including Miss World from 1977 until 1991 (Mutya ng Pilipinas – World). It’s top title has always been the Mutya ng Pilipinas – Asia/ Asia Pacific. Ironically, Cory Quirino has held the Philippine franchise for Miss World for 6 years.

The Mutya ng Pilipinas beauty pageant has produced:
*Five Miss Asia Pacific titles: Maria del Carmen Ines Zaragoza in 1982, Gloria Dimayacyac in 1983, Lorna Legaspi in 1989, Michelle Aldana in 1993, and Sharifa Akeel in 2018.
* Four Miss Tourism International titles: Maria Esperanza Corazon Manzano in 2000-2001, Rizzini Alexis Gomez in 2012-2013, Angeli Dione Gomez in 2013-2014, and Jannie Loudette Alipo-on in 2017-2018
* Three Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International titles: Sherylle Lynne Santarin in 1996, Racquel Uy in 1999, and Leren Mae Bautista in 2015.
* One Miss Tourism Cosmopolitan International: Barbara Salvador in 2010.
* One Miss Tourism Metropolitan International: Glennifer Perido in 2014.
* One Beauty of the World title: April Love Jordan in 2009.

What Are the National and International Pageant Seasons?

Do you know what is considered to be the pageant seasons? Which month comprises these seasons? What is the pageant off-peak?
All of those questions will be answered in  today’s blogpost!

The National Pageant Season
The nationals pageant season is usually marked with the beginning of applications for the Binibining Pilipinas and Miss Earth Philippines pageants. The BBP pageant usually announces the application period by the end of December or by January. The MEP on the other hand starts the application period around January to March and very occasionally April. The Miss World Philippines is the outlier among the three pageants that selects reps for the 4 Alpha with its pageant that is usually held closer to the international pageant season. MWP usually selects their winners between the months of September to November. Mutya ng Pilipinas has in recent years scheduled their finals between August to December. A far cry from the usual May finals it used to have back in the 90’s.
The International Pageant Season
For the four biggest international pageants, they are usually held in the months of October to December. This marks the most activity on social media when it comes to pageantry. The international pageant season is usually opened with the Miss Earth pageant followed by the Miss International competition in Tokyo. Traditionally either Miss World or Miss Universe will close the pageant season during the end of November or mid-December. Misses Globe, Asia-Pacific International, Supranational, and other host of lesser popular pageants would schedule their finals between the months of October to December.

However other  international pageants would have their schedules between October until February or March of the following year. The Miss Intercontinental pageant has been held in the month of January for this last 2 years, effectively skipping the 2017 edition. Other international pageant that holds finals during the 1st quarter of the year are Miss Eco International and Miss Multinational.
Pageant Season Off-Peak
Interest in pageants usually die down in the months of April to September. This is why most male pageants would scheduled their finals on these dates. No male pageant (national or international competitions) would have a fighting chance in terms of social media buzz if it overlaps with either the national or international pageant season for females.
This is perhaps one of the reasons why the initial scheduled Mister World competition in January was postponed to June of 2019. It will clash with the Miss Intercontinental pageant also held in January as well as the general fan interest Binibining Pilipinas come February to April. This is one of the lessons learned when the Mister World Philippines was postponed due to terrible weather conditions to October last year which buried interest in the contest as it conflicted with the then on-going Miss Earth activities.

2018 Year End Special Report – Philippines’ Performance

How did the Philippines fare in the international pageant arena this year? Did we do better or worse than last year?
Since Venus Raj’s drought-breaking 4th runner-up finish at Miss Universe 2010, the Philippines won 2 Miss Universe crowns, 2 Miss International crowns, 3 Miss Earth crowns and 1 Miss World. Despite having major losses in some international pageants this year, the Philippines continues its winning streak!

2018 International Titles
Miss Asia Pacific International, Sharifa Akeel
Miss Eco-International, Cynthia Thomalla
Miss Multinational, Sophia Señoron
Miss Tourism Worldwide, Zara Carbonell
Miss Intercontinental 2018, Karen Gallman
In terms of international pageants outside the Alpha pageants, the Philippines has had varying degrees of success. Jehza Huelar made it to the top 10 of Miss Supranational, Michele Gumabao was a semifinalist in Miss Globe and countless other placements and victories in lesser known international pageants. We did score wins in other international pageants, notable of which are Karen Gallman, Sharifa Akeel, Cynthia Thomalla and Sophia Senoron (all Kagandahang Flores trained ladies). Zara Carbonell’s win as Miss Tourism Worldwide further cemented the illustrious batch of the 2017 Miss World Philippines winners.

Karen Gallman’s victory as the first Filipina Miss Intercontinental has raised the Philippines further up into the pageant stratosphere. This is the first win for the country since the pageant’s establishment in the 70’s. Sharifa Akeel’s win as Miss Asia Pacific International is the 5th win since the pageant was established in 1968 (it was first known as Miss Asia before growing to Miss Asia Pacific and now to its current format). Prior to Sharifa’s win, four Filipinos were crowned in past iterations of the pageant. They were Maria del Carmen Ines Zaragoza (1982), Gloria Dimayacyac (1983), Lorna Legaspi (1989), and Michelle Aldana (1993). Cynthia Thomalla winning in Miss Eco International was the first international victory in the year 2018 before being immediately followed up by Sophia in Miss Multinational in India.

Major Losses of 2018
Katarina Rodriguez’ 1st runner up finish in Miss Intercontinental 2017 earlier in January 2018 was dealt with a devastating non-placement in Miss World last December. While there were missteps made on both sides, there was no offered satisfactory explanation on Katarina’s disqualification at the BWAP and talent segments. If Katarina’s rumored martial arts presentation wasn’t considered an acceptable talent then how come Catharina Choi Nunes of Brazil was allowed to do a taekwondo demonstration for the Miss World 2015 talent competition? Another major loss was that of Alyssa Muhlach in Reina HispanoAmericana. An understandable loss considering she only had less than two weeks time to prepare for the competition. Eva Patalinjug’s shocking non placement in the Miss Grand International pageant is deemed to be an unjust decision. The pageant’s judging panel comprised of a national director and a designer/pageant trainer/ friend of a candidate, which puts the judging process in question. More so the questionable ethics of the pageant owner and the pageant itself…

The 4 Alpha Pageants
Miss World Philippines, Katarina Rodriguez
Miss Philippines Earth, Silvia Cortesi
Bb. Pilipinas International, Ahtisa Manalo
Miss Universe Philippines, Catriona Gray
Three out of 4 possible placements isn’t a bad achievement specially with the year ending with a major win in Miss Universe courtesy of Catriona Gray. Silvia Cortesi made top8 in Miss Earth and Ahtisa Manalo almost won the Mikimoto crown in Japan last November.
Over all, the year started with a bang with a handful of crowns courtesy of Karen, Sharifa, Zara, Cynthia and Sophia, and ended with the Philippines earning the most coveted international title of all, the Miss Universe crown. While we celebrate every victory we had this past year, we can predict that 2019 will be overshadowed online by every move that Catriona Gray will be making as Miss Universe. So we are hoping that the next set of national winners will be able to face being scrutinized based on the achievements of their predecessors. And we pray that pageant fans would be less aggressive or vile on social media on these ladies this year. On a final note, we do wish fervently that the winning streak would continue this 2019.
NOTE: this blogpost was originally posted in January 15th and has been edited to include updates on Karen Gallman’s win.

Sashes&Scripts Year-End Special: The Philippines’ 2017 Performance

It is said that if we tally all the titles that the Philippines has won this year (from Alpha to Omega pageant) it tallied to a total wins of 50 crowns. Quite a remarkable feat for this pageant obsessed country.

Notable wins among the minor pageants this year is Teresita “Winwyn” Marquez as the first Asian to conquer the Reina Hispanoamericana title. She bested aroung 20+ ladies for the title. KF-trained Sarah Bona also scored a win via the Miss Nature Intercontinental title. Just recently, Jannie Alipoon won the title of Miss Tourism International. The Mutya ng Pilipinas winner scored the country’s 4th crown in the Malaysia-based pageant.

As for the Beta Pageants, the Philippines fared quite well too. It started with a 2nd runner up finish for Elizabeth Clenci in Miss Grand International and was followed up immediately with a 1st runner up finish of Nelda Ibe in Miss Globe. Aces & Queens trained Chanel Olive Thomas managed a top 10 finish in Miss Supranational as well as bagging the Miss Congeniality special award. Her compatriot Katarina Rodriguez’ pageant has been moved to January of 2018 and we can’t wait to see her perform.
The Alpha pageants is a different ballgame altogether. Our Miss International quest for a back to back win ended when Mariel de Leon failed to make it into the semis. Laura Lehmann managed a top 40 finish, the Philippines’ lowest since 2011 but at least was one of the 5 winners of the Beauty with a Purpose challenge. Despite looking spectacular and giving a strong performance at the Miss Universe finals, Rachel Peters didn’t go further than the top 10. Karen Ibasco’s Miss Earth win on the other hand continued  the winning streak of the Philippines in the Alpha pageants. Her win marks 5 consecutive years of winning one or two of the Alpha pageants since 2013.

With the 2017 pageant season about to close and the 2018 national pageant season about to start, we can’t help but get excited for what is next. Binibining Pilipinas 2018 and Miss Philippines Earth 2018 should be getting a head start soon!

Bb. Pilipinas 2018 Wishlist: Eva Psychee Patalinjug

One of the ladies that I have been waiting and wanting to join Binibining Pilipinas since 2015 is Eva Psychee Patalinjug.

The Mutya ng Pilipinas – Asia Pacific International 2014 winner is a nurse and a part-time model. The 5’7″ beauty also boasts of a meaty resume, aside from her nursing diploma she also serve as a Sangguniang Kabataan Chair. Eva, who was also a 1st runner up in Miss Cebu 2014, is around 24-25 years old and is at the right age to give BBP a shot. If she waits until she is 26 years old, she may have limited options as to which international competitions she might be eligible under BBP.
IMHO, she is ripe to bring home one of the top titles in Binibining Pilipinas. Her porcelain doll beauty is going to be a hit for Miss International and Miss Intercontinental, but her wit and magnetism would do well in Miss Universe and Miss Grand International. I am confident that she is a major contender for BBP2018 and could easily clinch any of the titles up for grabs.

What say you dear Sashistas? Does she get your nod for Binibining Pilipinas 2018?

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 36 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 36 girls 21 of them are full-blooded Filipinas while the other half are a mix of Filipino with other nationalities. Not to mention that 4 out of the eight international winners are full blooded Filipinas…meaning that the mix is equally split. Karen Ibasco, Angelia Ong, Bea Rose Santiago and Kylie Verzosa are on one side, while Pia Wurtzbach, Megan Young, Catriona Gray 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.

(Updated, December 31, 8:01pm)

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 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…
NOTE: This blogpost was updated with additional images for relevancy…

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
Pageant Date: November 23, 2016
Location: Puerto Princesa, Philippines
2.) Mutya ng Pilipinas 2016 2nd Runner-Up, Ashley Nicole Singh
Pageant Date: December 18, 2016
Location: Shanghai, China
3.) Mutya ng Pilipinas 2016 Tourism International, Justine Mae San Jose
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.

Beauty Queens as PBA Muses!

Five beauty queens are part of the upcoming muses of the next Philippine Basketball Association! National titleholders Maxine Medina and Jaya San Jose are joined by international titlist Kylie Verzosa as team muse for three different teams. Rounding the beauty quintet are national runners up Janelle Olafson of Miss Global Philippines and Angelica Alita from Bb. Pilipinas.

PBA Teams Muses for the Upcoming PBA Season
Ginebra – Kim Domingo
SMB – Yassi Pressman
STAR – Miss International 2016 Kylie Versoza
NLEX – Margo Midwinter
Meralco – Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina
TNT – Binibining Pilipinas 1st Runner Up Angelica Alita
ROS – Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism Justine Mae San Jose
Blackwater – Daiana Menezes and Janelle Olafson
Phoenix – Sofia Andres and Elise Joson
Globalport – Valeen Montenegro
*Alaska and Mahindra have yet to announce their muses…


Thailand & Philippines: Top Winners at Ms. Tourism Metropolitan Int’l

Thailand & The Philippines win Top Spots on Miss Tourism Metropolitan International 2016!

Amanda Charleen of Thailand wins Miss Tourism Metropolitan International 2016 with Mutya ng Pilipinas winner, Janela Joy Cuaton, is 1st runner up. The was pageant held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia last night with 4 of the top 5 coming from Asia.
2016 Court of winners below:
Winner – Thailand, Amanda Charleen
First Runner up – Philippine, Janela Joy Cuaton
Second Runner up – Cambodia, Hang Manita
Third Runner up  – Miss Costa Rica, Raquel Maria Guevara Avila
Fourth Runner up  – Miss China, Zijun Jia
Top 10: Malaysia, Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, and Vietnam