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. 

Who will join Their Ranks This Year?


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

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.

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

#FunaArt for the Philippine Independence Day Celebrations!

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…  

Why Beauty Queens are Like Wonder Woman

Now I know some of you may see this blogpost as a hangover post to the Wonder Woman movie that this blogger has watched during the weekend. But let’s for the meantime indulge this blogger a bit for some pop culture post and explain how every beauty pageant should be looking for a “Wonder Woman”.

One of the most obvious qualities of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman character is how she embodies women empowerment. Here we see a strong beautiful woman who is at par to her male superhero counterparts (yes, we are bold to make that comparison as she is very much equal to both Batman and Superman in physical prowess). She does not allow herself to be the passenger to her own life but rather takes charge of it. Something that women in the past several decades have been striving to accomplish. Something that is reflected to the new breed of beauty queens we see nowadays who are empowered, who have careers, who are serving in the army, their communities, working as teachers, pilots, dentists, researchers, police officers, law students, etc…

Deshauna Barber served in the US Military and Raquel Pelissier is part of a research team that could help cure blindness…

Ever wonder how she is able to maintain such a glowing look despite being in battle? Well that is essentially how beauty queens are! They go in competitions looking battle ready. They show up, they dress up, look the part and compete like athletes without as much are looking like they broke a sweat. Pageant girls face harshness of online bashin, the tough media questions, the scrutiny of the judges eyes while in 6″ heels and full make up on… making it look easy to stand in a bikini and deliver a speech in front of a crowd. Two things that most people could not even dare to do in front of their families.
She also is unapologetic to her femininity, that she can be vulnerable but steadfast, compassionate but with a strong moral compass, headstrong but flexible in her ways. Unafraid of her sexuality but strives to not to be solely defined by her sex appeal. A clear reflection of how well-rounded she is, a common trait we see on how pageant girls are redefining what it is to be a beauty queen in this age. Nowadays being a beauty queen means being encompassing in terms of physical, mental and emotional characteristics. Meaning having the maturity to understand that being feminine is not just about physical attributes but a complete synchronicity of heart, mind and body.

Mariel de Leon recently spoke up on political issues on RH contaceptives and government appointees. Keysi Sayago joined the march for political change in her native Venezuela

Wonder Woman is not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what is right. Which is very timely in current situations where beauty queens are expected to be articulate but mum on important social and political issues. Where being apolitical is passed off as being neutral, when being opinionated is being labeled as hypocrisy. This is where lines are set, where the rights and responsibilities are being set to the table. Moreover, the portrayal of Gal Gadot lends to the viewers a sense of moral compass to act when things are wrong, hence the line “if there is something wrong in the world you either do nothing or do something”. Choose the latter. Wonder Woman chose the latter.

Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa: mental health advocate, Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong: environmental awareness, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach: HIV-AIDS awareness…

But most of all Wonder Woman represents the woman who could make a difference. One person deciding to act like when Wonder Woman did when she defied her mother’s command to “do nothing” in a world that is turning into chaos does a whole lot of difference than one who would have kept silent. Albeit to a smaller scale beauty queens parallel such as they lend their voices on issues that affect us such as education, climate change, social justice, mental health awareness, HIV-AIDS, child welfare, and more. 
This is why beauty queens are in some ways Wonder Women… Why don’t you think that the ladies who wore the Wonder Woman tiara are beauty queens themselves?

Angelia Ong & Chalita Suansane: Look-a-Likes?

Someone mentioned over Facebook that Miss Earth 2015, Angelia Ong and Miss Universe Thailand, Chalita Suansane look a like and could pass off as sisters. So for this #PhotoCollage of the day post, I am featuring both ladies… you decide, can they pass off as twins? Or just have some similarities?