Back in 1994, a relative pageant newbie named Abbygale Arenas from Pampanga joined Bb. Pilipinas with hopes of giving Charlene Gonzalez and Caroline Subijano a tough fight for the top crowns. She was rewarded with a 1st Runner-Up finish that must have been a sign from BPCI to ready herself more strongly for a later edition where she can deliver a more solid finish for the Bb. Pilipinas Universe title. Her patience paid off. Three years later, she signed up for the nationals and took a commanding lead in the pre-pageant all the way to the finals. At the time, my impression was that fellow candidate and roommate Kristine Florendo became sort of her “protege” who benefitted a lot from the Kapampangan beauty’s tried-and-tested learnings as a pageant pro.
In the end, Abbygale “carried” Kristine all the way to a podium finish when the latter was proclaimed Bb. Pilipinas World with a lovely – albeit shorter – Susan Jane Ritter completing the troika of big finishers that year.
This is the Bb. Pilipinas edition which served as some sort of prelude to the 1994 Miss Universe which the Philippines was hosting in Manila. It was a national finals which saw the Bb. Pilipinas Universe title going to almost everyone’s choice – Charlene Bonnin Gonzalez – who was just the most beautiful among all the candidates in that batch. She went on to finish Top 6 in the bigger pageant where India won its first via Sushmita Sen. The Bb. Pilipinas World winner was uber tall Caroline Subijano who competed in Miss World 1994 and finished in the Top 10 of a strong group that had Aishwarya Rai as winner. And of course, former actress Alma Concepcion was the Bb. Pilipinas International winner. Interestingly, Abbygale Arenas finished 1st Runner-Up here. She returned more triumphantly three years later when she was finally crowned Bb. Pilipinas Universe 1997.
Some pageant veterans might remember her as a tall candidate during Ford Models Supermodel of the World Philippines 1992 (won by Abbygale Arenas) and BodyShots Philippines 1998 Elite Model won by Kuku Trinidad. Her maiden name is Shiela Teodoro, the 5’10” exotic stunner from Laguna. A lot has happened to her since then. She worked as a fashion model here and in Singapore, while continuing her pursuit of an academic degree.
After finishing BS Tourism at the University of the Philippines Diliman, she went on to work for the British Embassy Manila as a Press/PR Officer before getting accepted as an International Flight Attendant for Emirates Airlines. Years passed, and she eventually crossed paths with future husband Timothy DeForest, a Pilot for JetBlue. They have been married for several years now, and have blissfully settled in Golden, Colorado, U.S.A.
In the US, Shiela continued with her daily duties as a wife, while still accepting occasional modeling assignments. With so much free time in her hands, she got into starting an online marketing shop where she imports an assortment of accessories made by poor families in Oriental Mindoro in cooperation with Threads of Hope.
She also got active in volunteer work. She initially involved herself with Bella Boutique which helps to make over underprivileged but deaerving American teens who want to have their most memorable Prom appearances. In between season, she hooked up with Dress For Success which – like the previous group – gives more meaning to the lives of previously incarcerated and battered women who want to return to the work mainstream. She helps in more ways than one – dressing them up to actually coaching them into becoming more confident and productive members of society.
And then, the opportunity to go into pageantry landed on her lap. At the age of 45, she was initially reluctant. But with her husband’s approval, she took part in Mrs US of A pageant where she won 3rd Runner-Up. And as part of the Top 5, she was offered to represent Southeast Asia in the upcoming Mrs Globe to be held in Shenzhen, China from November 22-December 2.
Below are photos from the intimate sendoff held at Sunnies Café in BGC High Street. She will depart for Shenzhen tomorrow to join 80 other married women around the world to vie for Mrs Globe 2018.
It was a long process but we all had a good time pre-judging the forty (40) Official Candidates of Miss Millennial Philippines 2018 on the daily noontime show “Eat Bulaga” of GMA-7. Along with MU2010 4th Runner-Up Venus Raj, Bb. Pilipinas Universe 1997 Abbygale Arenas, Popular Vlogger Dwaine Woolley, PAL’s Cezanne Villafuerte and PotenCee’s Ayne Rili, I really enjoyed the more than 3 hours spent assessing the young ladies.
Hopefully, the best of the group will zoom ahead to the Top 10 come Finals Day on Saturday, October 27 at the Kia Theater Araneta Center.
Left to right: 3rd Runner-up Maolin Yalung, 1st Runner-up Patricia Lois Talusig, Mutya ning Kapampangan 2014 Mary Angelique Manto, 2nd Runner-up Zaina Marie Chandley and 4th Runner-up Mary Joy Caparas (Photo credit: Montage Photography)
Mutya ning Kapampangan 2014 Mary Angelique Manto (Photo credit: Montage Photography)
Mary Angelique Manto is giving me that Eva Patalinjug vibe
The Province of Pampanga has always been a rich source of potential Binibinis or Bb. Pilipinas titleholders for that matter. Names like 1979 Miss International Melanie Marquez, Bb. Pilipinas Universe 1997 Abbygale Arenas, Bb. Pilipinas Official Candidates Gina Joy Howell (2012) and Emma Tiglao (2014) are usually mentioned when asked to rattle off some familiar Kapampangans who have gone either national or international in pageantry.
This year, Mutya ning Kapampangan wrapped up its search the other night with the proclamation of Mary Angelique Manto of Lubao as the fairest among the twenty-two candidates. The beautiful Communication Arts major of University of Santo Tomas proved that she has both beauty and talent to bring her to the top 5. From there, she was able to handle the final Q&A well enough to secure the title and defeat the other favorites for the crown. A former 2nd Runner-up in The Search for Ideal Thomasian Personalities 2013 (TSITP), she used the experience to help her stand out in the finals.
Young, beautiful and with a bright future in pageantry, Mary Angelique Manto is.
Photo credit: Montage Photography
So the next question would automatically circle around the possibility of joining Bb. Pilipinas (or Mutya ng Pilipinas if you will) next year or in 2016. You see, this pretty lass is only 18. And the future could be real bright for her in the pageant world if she chooses to further her training and polishing for the big league.
Will we see more of Mary Angelique Manto in the months to come? I have a good hunch about her.
We have another one of those Throwback Thursday posts. This time, it is in the person of Bb. Pilipinas Universe 1997 Abbygale Williamson Arenas. Pageant followers will remember her as the Miss Philippines who almost made the semifinals during Miss Universe 1997 in Florida. She missed the Top 10 by the slimmest fraction of a point which allowed the late Miss India Nafisa Joseph to make it to the first cut instead.
Abbygale now owns and manages Personi-fi Image Studio, Inc., a professional image consultancy firm which engages with clients in both the corporate and modeling world in enhancing their style, dressing and attitude into power mode.
Last Sunday, she attended the Bb. Pilipinas 2014 coronation night and is still a ravishing beauty. She obliged to all requests for photo ops and was most gracious in her ways.
BPU1997 Abbygale Arenas during the Bb. Pilipinas 2014 finals (Photo credit: Jory Rivera)
Some of the less-hyped beauties of Bb. Pilipinas 2013 (Photo credit: Boyet Blas)
Let’s be honest. Nobody joins a beauty pageant for the experience alone. There are those who openly declare so. But at the back of their heads lies an underlying wish to upend the favorites and become successful in their first (or second) attempt in the big league. Because if the only motivation is to meet new beautiful friends and gain intermittent public exposure, then why go through all the trouble of training and preparation when one can easily join a Contiki travel tour where chances of getting acquainted with young people from all over the world are guaranteed, with the opportunity to visit other countries being part of the package.
Ellore Punzalan: another low-profile candidate
Back to the subject matter, does getting little (or no) hype mean reduced pressure for the Bb. Pilipinas 2013 candidates who are barely noticed by the ogling eyes of pageant fans and followers? Weeks have passed and there are those among the 50 wannabes who remain unnoticed. It’s not that they are significantly less beautiful. I think it’s more of letting the frontrunners shine every time. They may try making an aggressive move from time to time, but still fall short of making an impact.
Here are six ladies who have remained in the wings long enough. In order to make the most of the experience, they should start stepping out of the shadows of the favorites and begin their quest in a less silent manner. We all know that Amanda Navasero, Nicole Donesa, Lourenz Grace Remetillo, Paula Bernasor, Ellore Punzalan and Jacqueline Mayoralgo are ever present in all the activities. But who genuinely cares outside of their respective supporters?
In the very competitive world of beauty pageants, low profiles do not major ripples make. I remember last 1997 when Abbygale Arenas joined Bb. Pilipinas. She was rooming then with an unknown Kristine Florendo (who was only tagged as the niece of showbiz personalities Isabel Rivas and Dennis Roldan). The former constantly reminded her to never never step out of their unit unmade, shabbily dressed and in a non-winner mode. There should always be the mental conditioning that one is already a beauty queen in order to project a victorious aura. Of course we all know what eventually happened. Both ladies topped that edition with Arenas going to Universe and Florendo to World.
So this I say to the less popular girls – bring on your A-game asap! There will always be a room or two for surprises in the finals. And being called to center stage to assume a semifinal or final spot never fails to shoot one’s confidence beyond the ceiling of the Araneta Coliseum.
Okay, I’m going back to my (real) work now. An irate client is bugging me. 😉
Supermodel Charo Ronquillo in her latest editorial for Cosmopolitan Philippines.
Back in the 90s, the annual Bb. Pilipinas was the stepping stone used by professional fashion models to cross over from the ramp to either showbiz or celebrity social status. Actually, there are still some who take a gamble and use their good height and catwalk skills to make their presence felt in the national beauty pageant up to now. But not as strong as the consecutive joinings (and eventual victories) of the likes of Patty Betita (BPI1992), Marilen Espino (BPW1991), Cara Subijano (BPW1994), Gem Padilla (BPU1990), Rachel Soriano (BPW1998), Marina Benipayo (MissMaja1992 and MW rep), Sara Jane Paez (BPU1989) and Abbygale Arenas (BPU1997).
Allow me to pitch in Cabuyao-born Charo Ronquillo, erstwhile Supermodel of the Philippines who went on to win 2nd Runner-Up in the international edition of 2006. Along with it came a US$100,000 modeling contract with Ford Models that gave her the opportunity to invade the runway for famous designers like Lela Rose, Nanette Lapore, Zero Maria Cornejo, Tory Burch, Antonio Berardi, Kenneth Cole, Mac Cosmetics Barbie Collection, Zaldy by Gwen Stefani, BCBG, Sisley, Benetton New York, Elie Tahari, Julien Fournié and Eric Tibusch. She also landed commercial shoots/advertisements for the catalogues of Target, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenues and Old Navy, while landing the glossy pages of Spanish Vogue, Indian Vogue, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire Paris and US, ELLE Vietnam, Cosmopolitan US and Glamour.
Watch Charo in her Tropicana Coco Quench TVC which started to air on Philippine TV networks a few months back.
Courtesy of Tropicana Coco Quench
Now 24, the 5’10” Charo – who measures 32-25-35 – is being co-managed by Ford Models, D1 Models London, Calcarrie’s International Models Philippines, Angels and Demons Model Management Paris and Franicina Models Barcelona. While she may have done a couple of daring albeit tasteful editorials in the past, the Filipina has maintained a pretty good image in her profession. Communication-wise, her fluency in English has already gone from limited to conversationally adept. And need I add that her stance on the runway is masterful and not pageant-defined at all?
Charo Ronquillo (right) in an ad/endorsement for local clothing brand Unica Hija, together with singer Sarah Geronimo.
I really wouldn’t mind seeing her take an attempt at the Miss Universe Philippines crown of 2013. By April of next year, she will already turn 25 – an age that would dedicate her for Miss Universe alone. I’d say that she is ripe for the picking. Tall, graceful and very Pinay-looking – all the right qualities we are looking for in a Janine Tugonon successor if ever. 🙂
Sabrinne Al-Tawil during the Miss Friendship International 2010 in China.
Sabrinne Al-Tawil when she screened for Bb. Pilipinas 2011 last week (Photo courtesy of Mr. Boyet Blas of MabuhayBeauties.com)
Sabrinne Al-Tawil represented the Philippines in the Miss Friendship International 2010 in China where she made it to the Top 15. The experience must have been an unforgettable one for her such that she wants to make it to the bigger pageant stage in the global arena this time around.
Just last week, she made clear her intentions to join Binibining Pilipinas 2011 when she presented herself for screening at the Araneta Center. Together with a very competitive group of screenees, she stood out with her good height (5’9″), alluring smile and marked presence (her face reminds me of Abbygale Arenas). If and when she makes the cut to become one of the Official Candidates this year, then pageant followers will have a field day selecting their favorites for the crown.
Personally, I think she is a shoo-in for a slot. With a little more effort to slim down and give her a more curvaceous figure, she is well on her way to greater things as a beauty queen.
I am really looking forward to Bb. Pilipinas batch of 2011! 😉
Hi! Norman here. When I'm not working, I spend most of my free time planning on daily blogs. If you will notice, I always make sure that a fresh topic comes out everyday - not an easy thing to do but it's all good. Thanks for dropping by and enjoy the visit!
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