This year, the battle won’t be over till it’s really over. And I say this with a great deal of certainty. You see, there are running see-saw matches between two (2) pairs of candidates. But before I even go into that, allow me to share with you my Top 12 first. In this cut, the level of difficulty isn’t that high yet. In fact, I could’ve made it just a Top 10 and still managed to smile with my choices.
The dozen beauties in my first cut are:
#5 Christelle Abello
#6 Janelle Lazo Tee
#7 Jackielyn Dulay
#8 Kiara Giel Gregorio
#12 Emma Mary Tiglao
#13 Avonlea Paraiso
#14 Cassandra Naidas
#19 Hillarie Danielle Parungao
#21 Mia Hernandez Howell
#22 Vianca Louise Marcelo
#24 Jeddahliz Maltezo
#25 Casey Anne Austria
It’s in trimming down the 12 to just the Top 5 where the resistance starts to show. Four (4) spots are already secure from where I judge the whole thing. The quartet of shoo-ins for the magic circle are Hillarie Danielle Parungao, Emma Tiglao, Cassandra Naidas and Mia Hernandez Howell. If anyone among them will fail to crack the top tier, then I must be on drugs for missing something quite crystal-clear. Also, they make up the two pairs of contenders locked for a classic bullfight – Hillarie VS Emma and Cassandra VS Mia. This is an obvious throwback to the clash between two of the finest beauty camps in the country – Aces&Queens and Kagandahang Flores.
But the question that needs to be answered for now is which girl will fill in the 5th and final spot? I was teetering between Christelle Abello and Vianca Louise Marcelo (another battle of the camps). After giving it much thought, I went for #5 because she has always registered to me as a potential spoiler, let alone a good speaker. So Christelle Abello completes the group of finalists.
In the end – when you have four (4) strong candidates to choose from instead of just two (2) – the odds of making the wrong pick to be #1 become greater. Hillarie, Cassandra, Emma and Mia have their individual strengths to lay on the table.
Hillarie has the classic beauty of face and BWAP (Beauty With A Purpose) Project in place. Cassandra has the height, oriental charm and also a worthy cause that could do well in Sanya. Emma has the bombshell looks and the potential lopsided votes from the male judges to see her through. And Mia has the mestiza attraction, articulate ways and academic credentials as strong suits. Any of the four can easily wrest the crown from Valerie Weigmann with the right answer to the final Q&A or speech delivery.
I am leaning towards either Hillarie or Cassandra truthfully. My hunch is that one of them could be favored. And both can express themselves impressively. But I won’t find it hard to accept if Mia steals the limelight from them. Emma is fine for as long as she will come across as more spontaneous and less rehearsed.
In summary, my top choice for Miss World Philippines 2015 is Hillarie Danielle Parungao, followed closely by Emma Tiglao and Cassandra Naidas. 🙂