Pia, Denise & Zuleyka: Yes to Transfemales in Miss Universe

More and more past winners are now speaking through their actions their support and/or approval on the participation of transfemales in  Miss Universe.
Latest to show her support is Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach who in a news report from ABSCBN said that, “you don’t have to be natural born woman to be Miss Universe.” Pia who is a staunch supporter of the LGBTQ community is reported to be open to transgender females in the Miss Universe competition.

In a related report former Miss Universe from Puerto Rico and current Miss Universe Puerto Rico National Director Denise Quiñones confirmed that the local organization will follow the international rules of the MU pageant. In February 17 this year, the MUPR organization eliminated the “birth” clause requirement that included the naturally-born female aspect and instead replaced it with the clause “born in Puerto Rico” and resided in the country for 6 consecutive months. This would make Puerto Rico the latest country to open its pageant to transfemales. This makes 5 with Canada, USA, Israel, Spain and now Puerto Rico.

Former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera also expressed her support for Angela Ponce in the coming pageant. In the Spanish TV show Un Nuevo Dia on Telemundo, the former MU winner gave her support to Ponce and gave her advise for the MU competition. She said to relish every moment of the competition and drown out the noise coming from everywhere because ‘you can never get back the experience‘.

Seems like inclusion is the name of the game. The three former winners alongside Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo are just a few of the recent titleholders who are in favor of transfemales in the MU pageant.

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Long Gaps in Between Miss Universe Victories

Did you know that France had the longest wait in terms of winning its next Miss Universe title? They won their first title back in 1953 with Christianne Martel and had their second win only in 2016 with Iris Mittenaere.

Coming in second is Colombia whose Luz Marina Zuluaga won in 1958 and would only be replicated by Paulina Vega in 2014. It would also been the shortest wait for a Miss Universe victory had Paulina passed her title to Ariadna Gutierrez in what could have been a back-to-back win. Unfortunately, an error was made in the announcement winners and it was the Philippines’ Pia Wurtzbach who actually won (making the 4th longest gap between 2 wins in Miss Universe history).
Japan holds the record for the third  longest gap between two wins. So far, Japan has won the crown twice. The first time happened when Akiko Kojima became Miss Universe 1959 (8th Edition). The next and second time after 48 years, when Riyo Mori became Miss Universe 2007 (56th Edition).

LONGEST GAP IN WINNING MISS UNIVERSE
Australia, 32 year gap – Miss Universe 1972 & 2004
South Africa, 39 year gap – Miss Universe 1978 & 2017
Philippines, 42 year gap – Miss Universe 1973 & 2015
Japan, 48 year gap – Miss Universe 1959 & 2007
Colombia, 56 year gap – Miss Universe 1958 & 2014
France, 63 year gap – Miss Universe 1953 & 2016
As of now, Peru (61 years and counting), Germany (57 years and counting), Argentina (56 years and counting), Greece (54 years and counting) and Brazil (50 years and counting) are the 5 countries with the longest wait for their next Miss Universe crown…

The International Titleholders of Binibining Pilipinas

In celebration of the 55th year f the Binibining Pilipinas pageant, I thought that it would be interesting to bring together all of the Bb. Pilipinas titleholders who went on to win international titles. Wouldn’t it be a marvelous reunion of sorts for past and present international winners if they were to be gathered into one stage?

So far, under the management of BPCI, a total of 15 international titles have been collected. Here is a list of the crowns that the BPCI has accumulated throughout the years…
MINOR TITLES
Joanne Santos, Miss Tourism International 1997 (Macau version) – after placing 16th in Miss Universe 1995, Joanne was appointed to compete in the Miss Tourism International pageant based in Macau.
Michelle Reyes, Miss Tourism International 2001 (Turkish version) and Miss Tourism World 2002 – she was Bb. Pilipinas 1st runner up in 2001 and is the only BBP winner to win 2 consecutive international titles.
* Maricar Balagtas, Miss Globe International 2001 – ironically, the runners up of Bb. Pilipinas 2001 were the ones that brought home international crowns. Later in 2004 Maricar would then become Bb. Pilipinas Universe.

Kristine Reyes Alzar, Miss Tourism International 2002 – she was crowned Bb. Pilipinas International that same year but she got to compete in two international contests.
Noela Mae Evangelista, Queen of Tourism International 2003 – Noella was 2nd runner up in 2003 but was selected to compete in Mexico City. She was the last Binibini to wear the famous ‘Miriam Quiambao gown’.
* Mutya Johanna Datul, Miss Supranational 2013 – the first to be officially crown Bb. Pilipinas Supranational.
* Ann Lorraine Colis, Miss Globe 2015 – the first to be crowned Bb. Pilipinas Globe.

MAJOR TITLES
* Gloria Diaz, Miss Universe 1969
Aurora Pijuan, Miss International 1970
* Margarita Moran, Miss Universe 1973
* Melanie Marquez, Miss International 1979
* Precious Lara Quigaman, Miss International 2005
* Bea Rose Santiago, Miss International 2013
* Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015
* Kylie Verzosa, Miss International 2016

Without a doubt, this list is expected to grow more in the coming years. While this is nothing compared to the impressive list won by Miss Venezuela’s Osmel Sousa, it does give us a glimpse of how far BPCI has come through the years. With the Philippines currently at a pageant Renaissance, I am expecting at least a couple more titles would be added to the list before the turn of the decade…

The 7 Filipino Miss Universe Finals Judges

Back in 2016, I have written about the six select few Filipino judges who have served as judges in Miss Universe. It is noteworthy to mention those that sat as judges on the Miss Universe judging table were accomplished and very well respected artists, diplomats and sports icons. They were selected because of their illustrious careers and their contributions to arts, business, politics, sports, fashion and entertainment.

Today, I wanted to revisit that post and update it with the addition of the latest Filipina to sit as a finals judge, former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach.
* Miss Universe 1974 – Carlos P. Romulo in Manila, Philippines; President of the United Nations General Assembly and also a Pulitzer Prize winner for Correspondence
* Miss Universe 1989Josie Cruz Natori in Cancun, Mexico; Filipino world-class lingerie fashion designer
* Miss Universe 1991  – Kuh Ledesma in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; singer & entertainer, Filipino music icon
* Miss Universe 1994Emilio T. Yap in Manila, Philippines; Manila Bulletin Chairperson and a bonafide rags to riches entrepreneur
* Miss Universe 2011Lea Salonga in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Tony & Laurence Olivier award winner, singer- actress, and the singing voice of Disney princesses Mulan and Princess Jazmine
* Miss Universe 2014Manny Pacquiao in Doral, Florida, USA; world boxing champion and the only boxer to hold  eight division world championship in the history of boxing
* Miss Universe 2017Pia Wurtzbach in Las Vegas; former Miss Universe winner

It is also noticeable that no Filipina has won the Miss Universe title whenever a Filipino sat as a judge. Will this patter be broken sometime soon? With rumors floating that the Philippines will host the Miss Universe pageant this 2018, will we be seeing another Filipino judge to sit among the panel of the pageant’s finals?

Should Pia Wurtzbach be a Bb. Pilipinas 2018 Judge?

After her judging stint in Miss Universe last year in Las Vegas, do you think BPCI should invite Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach as a judge in Binibining Pilipinas 2018?

The Philippines’ Longest Streak in Miss Universe

2010-2017 has been longest streak of the Philippines in terms of placements in Miss Universe.

It started off with 4 successive runner up placements with Venus, Shamcey, Janine and Ariella. Then came the Miss Universe win of Pia and culminated with the top 10 placement of Rachel.  This is partly due to the support that the girls have received from the Binibining Pilipinas organization headed by Madame Stella Marquez-Araneta. 8 consecutive years of placements that is only seconded by the 4 successive placements of the Binibining Pilipinas Universe winners of 1972-75. SMA surely stands tall with how her ward has made the country proud.

2010 – Venus Raj, 4th runner up
2011 – Shamcey Supsup, 3rd runner up
2012 – Janine Tugonon, 1st runner up
2013 – Ariella Arida, 3rd runner up
2014 – Mary Jean Lastimosa, Top 10
2015 – Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe
2016 – Maxine Medina, Top 6
2017 – Rachel Peters, Top 10

PhotoCollage of the Day: The Miss Universe Signed Photographs

Since covering the Miss Universe pageant in Doral, Miami, I have been conscientiously amassing electronic autographs of the winners on my tablet. I decided that instead of having actual photographs signed, I prefer the electronic ones having learned a lesson back in 1994 when I lost an autographed photo of Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen. That was a painful rookie mistake in my youth that I do not plan to repeat.

So far, I haven’t missed acquiring any of the MU winners’ signatures for my collection since I started covering the MU pageant.
Here are some interesting tidbits on these autographs: Pia’s signature was acquired almost after her reign, Paulina was the easiest to get an autograph from as I was able to get it during the press junket (together with that of MJ Lastimosa’s) and Demi was the most difficult to take due to the insane security at the Miss Universe in Planet Hollywood.

Hopefully I would get the next Miss Universe winner’s autograph without much difficulty…

Once When the Philippines held 3 of the 4 Alpha Pageant Titles

Once in 2016, the Philippines held three of the four Alpha pageant titles even if it was just for a very brief moment.

Awaiting the coronation of the 2016 winners of Miss Universe and Miss World…

Today’s #ThrowbackThursdays, I wanted to take a look back at that moment in 2016.  From October 27th until the evening of October 29th, the Philippines held the Miss International 2016 title courtesy of Kylie Verzosa with the then reigning Miss Miss Earth Angelia Gabrena Ong(before Katherine Espin of Ecuador was crowned Miss Earth 2016) and Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach. Mireia Lalaguna hasn’t passed her title yet at that time.

Once when the Philippines held 3 of the 4 Alpha pageant titles…

Would we ever have this moment again in the future?

Patterns of the Miss Universe 2014- 2017 Winners

There is are two emerging trends in Miss Universe nowadays: 1st is that the past 4 winners are from four different continents, and 2nd is the long wait of each of the countries in their respective MU victories.

Miss Universe 2014 – Colombia, 56 year gap since its last win, from the Americas
Miss Universe 2015 – Philippines, 42 year gap since its last win, from Asia
Miss Universe 2016 – France, 63 year gap since its last win, from Europe
Miss Universe 2017 – South Africa, 39 year gap since its last win, from Africa
If this is the pattern, would it be safe to say that the next MU winner be coming from the Americas? Or would it skip the Americas and go to the Pacific or even the Caribbean? Could it finally be the time for  Jamaica?Perhaps the crown may find itself on a country with a first time winner? We would have to wait with bated breathe until the next MU pageant comes along…

The Winning Streak for the Philippines Continues!

After the dust has settled and all the major pageants has finished, we can now say that the Philippines continues its winning streak in the 4 most relevant pageants in the world. Since 2013, the Philippines has been winning one crown after another in Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International and Miss Earth (arranged according to date of establishment).

Every year since 2013, we have been winning one title after another.
2013 – Miss International Bea Rose Santiago & Miss World Megan Young
2014 – Miss Earth Jamie Herrell
2015 – Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach & Miss Earth Angelia Gabrena Ong
2016 – Miss International Kylie Verzosa
2017 – Miss Earth Karen Ibasco

The latest addition to the list is Miss Earth Karen Ibasco who allowed the Philippines its 7th Alpha pageant win in 5 consecutive years. The medical physicist wowed the judges with her gift of gab and earning the 4th Miss Earth title for the country. She brought in a sandwich victory after Angelia Ong’s back-to-back win with Jamie Herrell.
With 7 wins in 5 years, will we be seeing another Filipina winner come 2018?