After winning the Miss Asia title twice (and back-to-back) in 1982 and 1983 courtesy of Carines Zaragoza and Bong Dimayacyac, the Philippines finally claimed its first Miss Asia Pacific crown via Lorna Legaspi when she competed in Hong Kong back in 1989.
The first image above shows a recent photo of Lorna (taken last April) where she is wearing a blue gown by Designer Paul Rex Ramir Mateo. Second image (on the left) is her crowning as MAP1989 by outgoing titleholder Preeyanuch Panpradub of Thailand. Third image )(below) is the courtesy call with then Philippine President Corazon Aquino along with some of her runners-up.
Onwards to Miss Asia Pacific International 2018 next month!
The Philippines collected two Miss Asia and two Miss Asia-Pacific titles in its long pageant history
The decade of the 80s marked the most successful performances of the Philippines in Miss Asia Quest and Miss Asia-Pacific Quest (stress on the word ‘Quest’ to distinguish the group from the Korea-based company that added the words ‘World Super Talent’ to the sash
) held annually since 1969 and which had its unofficial curtain call last 2000. It took fourteen (14) long years before a Filipina actually won the first courtesy of Ma. Del Carmen Ines ‘Carines’ Zaragoza when she outclassed the same number of candidates during Miss Asia 1982 held in Malaysia. And as if that victory wasn’t enough to satisfy the thirst of Filipinos for another crown, a back-to-back took place the following year when Gloria ‘Bong’ Aranas Dimayacyac became the 2nd when she was elected Miss Asia 1983 here in Manila.
After that, the title evolved into Miss Asia-Pacific Quest in order to accommodate countries geographically located in the Pacific rim and welcomed the candidates from the US, Canada, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and the like. The competition got even tougher. And it wasn’t until 1989 when another Filipina – Lorna Legaspi – succeeded in wresting the title when it was held in Hong Kong.
The 90s saw a continuation of the pan-regional pageant with hosting chores done mostly by the Philippines. Its final glory came in 1993 when Michelle Aldana snagged the honor of becoming the 2nd Filipina to clinch a Miss Asia-Pacific win.
Carines, Bong, Lorna and Michelle in their more recent photos
The road got rocky as the years passed by, especially during the entry of the New Millennium when the holding of the yearly event got scarce to the point of everything becoming just a nostalgic part of the past. My sources are saying that the organizers of Mutya ng Pilipinas 2015 are looking at getting a new international pageant franchise at the moment. I sincerely hope that this will come to fruition because I can’t bear seeing beautiful winners go to waste.
Right, Eva Patalinjug? 😉
P. S. Thanks to my friend Francis Calubaquib for the newspaper clippings of Carines Zaragoza, Bong Dimayacyac and Lorna Legaspi in the topmost photo grid.
Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 1988 Perfida Limpin
Four of the eight Asian delegates above made Top 10 during MU1988 with all of them reaching Top 5. Sadly, Miss Philippines wasn’t among the fortunate ones.
As an avid pageant follower, 1988 was a Miss Universe year I found both memorable and heart-breaking. Memorable because of the Asian domination during the finals (which, I believe, might not happen again, at least not in the near future
) and heart-breaking because Miss Philippines was outclassed by the competition right from the get-go.
In an edition where the judges favored fair-skinned oriental-looking candidates, Bb. Pilipinas sent the dusky Perfida Limpin who would have stood out only if the host city was USA or Canada. Looking back, Lorna Legaspi – her 2nd Runner-Up during the national finals and who was TBT-featured here last week – should have been fielded instead. Even the likes of Bb. Pilipinas 1988 semi-finalists Cielo Canlas and Perlita Aberin could’ve been better options then. Personally, I also wished that her (similarly Louie Mamengo-trained) predecessor – Geraldine Asis – joined a year later and took her place in Taiwan.
As a result, I watched the 1988 pageant filled with so much disappointment. As the telecast started, I already had a sinking feeling that the proceedings will augur well for the Asians. Porntip Nakhirunkanok of Thailand (who was crowned Miss Universe), Chang Yoon-Jung of Korea, Mizuho Sakaguchi of Japan and Pauline Yeung of Hong Kong marched all the way to Top 5. On the other hand, our bet became the classic case of a thank-you-girl in the late 80s.
Watch the Opening Number and Parade of Nations during Miss Universe 1988 held inside Lin Khou Stadium in Taiwan, ROC below.
courtesy of karangolos
And now, watch the Top 10 Announcement of Miss Universe 1988 where Perfida missed the cut, but with four (4) other Asian delegates making it.
courtesy of karangolos
Lorna Legaspi remains as my favorite Miss Asia-Pacific winner
Lorna (middle) when she won Miss Asia-Pacific 1989 with runners-up from Tahiti and Israel.
Lorna Legaspi, circa 2013
Back in 1989, Miss Asia-Pacific was hosted by Hong Kong and where our rep, Lorna Legaspi, won the crown and effectively became the first Filipina to hold the more pan-regional title (Carines Zaragoza and Bong Dimayacyac were both “Miss Asia” titleholders
). A year before, she took part in Bb. Pilipinas with less success. But when she was named top placer of Mutya ng Pilipinas, I knew right from the start that she would do well in the international competition. She always had this regal aura and upright posture that never failed to make people look up to her with such praise. So when news got around that she won in Hong Kong, it never really surprised me anymore.
Watch her crowning moment as Miss Asia Pacific 1989. The video is dubbed in Thai but you can still follow the proceedings.
courtesy of tpageant