Time and time again, ladies who failed to win a Binibining Pilipinas crown in their first attempt would join again in a year or two or three to try their luck and see if their fate would improve. Perfect examples would be Desiree Verdadero who was part of the 1982 group but came out victorious two years later and Maricar Balagtas who made a double attempt before finally bringing into fruition her objective in 2004.
In the same light, contestants and/or winners from other competitor beauty contests would enlist as candidates in the hopes of nailing a crown that is obviously more prestigious, not to mention high profile. Carlene Aguilar was the very first Miss Philippines-Earth in 2001. She took the big risk when she joined Binibining Pilipinas in 2005 and was not disappointed. She walked away with the title that earned her the ticket to Miss World.
This year’s batch has at least four contenders who belong to the aforementioned categories. One is a repeater and three are crossovers. Let’s look at them individually:
Candidate #8 Ana Marie Morelos (Photo credit: Gelbert Aplal)
Candidate #8 Ana Marie Morelos was crowned Mutya ng Pilipinas 2007 and eventually placed 4th Runner-Up in the Miss Tourism International Contest in Malaysia. This beauteous 5’7″ lass – a nurse by profession – knows how to play the game. She was still this innocent-looking girl when she joined her first beauty pageant, but had all the luck in her favor given her exotic looks and graceful charm. As an official candidate of Binibining Pilipinas 2010, she has considerably upped her ante. She looks fiercer and more confident. Will she win one of the crowns? Possibly. Some pundits would rate her a longshot, but I personally feel that she can easily enter the semis and perhaps, squeeze herself into the Top 5.
Candidate #15 Jam Charisa Libatog
Candidate #15 Jam Charisa Libatog is another crossover. She won the title of Mutya ng Pilipinas-Tourism Puerto Princesa 2008 and went on to compete at the Miss Tourism International 2008 in Malaysia, just like Ana Marie above. Honestly, I cannot give her an outright thumbs-up to win the Binibining Pilipinas this year because of the stiff competition. But who really knows? She just might surprise everyone, but gut-feel tells me that she won’t. A semi-final slot is the best I can see her reaching.
Candidate #10 Maria Venus Raj during her stint at Miss Philippines-Earth 2008.
Maria Venus Raj, Candidate #10, was crowned Miss Philippines-Eco Tourism 2008 when Karla Paula Henry won. This year, she is entering Binibining Pilipinas as one of the favorites to win come March 6. Her statuesque height (5’10″) and very exotic looks are likely to score high on the judges (especially among foreign members of the panel) and will make a breath-of-fresh-air representative to an international pageant instead of the usual mestizas and chinitas. This brown-skinned beauty is counting on that.
Candidate #16 Toni Alyessa Hipolito
The repeater in the batch is Candidate #16 Toni Alyessa Hipolito who first joined the Bb. Pilipinas fray back in 2008 when Jennifer Barrientos, Patricia Fernandez and Janina San Miguel (eventually replaced by Danielle Castano) were declared winners. If you ask me, nothing much has changed in Toni compared to how she looked two years ago. If any, her level of self-confidence must have significantly jumped and this somehow prompted a second try for one of the 2010 crowns. I wish her luck because this 5’5 1/2″ candidate has some mighty glamazons (Gwendoline Ruais, Maria Venus Raj, Mary Ann Misa) crossing her way.
Let’s wish these ladies the best of luck!