Last night’s primer on Bb. Pilipinas 2013 titled “The Golden Road to the Crown” was somewhat game-changing in a way. It afforded viewers a better appreciation of the candidates in terms of their communication skills, aside from showing them in motion during the Press Presentation last March 18. I can now filter the best among the 50 more evenly, knowing how they can express themselves in their preferred language(s). Below are notes from the program that I feel are worth mentioning:
1) The five best English speakers would have to be the three Cebuanas – Angeli Dione Gomez, Matet Gorgonio and Kim Artugue – plus Aiyana Mickiewicz and Mariel de Leon, in this order. Bea Santiago, Parul Shah, Cassy Naidas, Ivy Gonzales, Zandra Flores, Hannah Sison, Ria Rabajante and Paula Bernasor deserve to be cited as well.
2) Matet Gorgonio has the best diction and command of English, but her style of speech comes off as more stilted (or smart-alecky if you will) than warm.
3) Angeli Dione Gomez, on the other hand, speaks in a manner that would be pleasing to both the eyes and ears if ever she would be doing one of those Miss Universe videos answering three questions. Same with Aiyana Mickiewicz. Her style is both relaxed and fluid.
4) Kim Artugue’s approach to speaking is more heartfelt but bordering very close to being too serious. Her grasp of English is commendable.
5) For those waiting for a quick verdict, Parul Shah can deliver in English well. She may not be among my strongest, but her thoughts are obviously influenced by an Indian father who must have injected regular doses of philosophy during her growing-up years. She is more direct and as such, tends to project more seriousness than warmth – much like Kim Artugue.
6) Mariel de Leon, despite her reported shyness, has shown an accesible aura in front of the camera. Her lines are spoken with spontaneity, so I expect less memorized answers and more ‘thinking-on-her-feet’ replies.
7) On the Tagalog or Taglish end, the standouts are Mercegrace Raquel, Jam Mayoralgo and Krisma Pascual. Actually, even straight Tagalog speaker Merry Joyce Respicio and Taglish Shan Apuad registered their views decently.
8) Mutya Datul was the most dramatic, but it really didn’t turn me off bigtime. She prefers to answer in Tagalog and cried buckets while doing so. Her family life had more bad lucks than otherwise – with both her parents sick (mom has bone-marrow disease while dad was permanently injured from an accident) and unable to provide for the family. The regional accent shows from time to time, but if she can compose herself better, there’s a good chance that the judges will like her.
9) The perceived favorites also showed more than adequate communication skills, while registering beautifully on TV. Such is the case with Elima and Santiago. Anna Buquid acquitted herself fairly well, but there is this slightly distracting way the words come out of her mouth. Can’t be sure if it’s due to her teeth or tongue.
10) Ara Arida is okay, but there were minor lapses in her delivery that prevented me from giving her a full thumb up. However, Rhea Nakpil almost squandered hers by showing mannerisms that are less becoming of a beauty contestant, like sticking out her tongue when saying something in jest or showbiz speak.
11) Pia Wurtzbach’s angles (at least the ones shown last night) are not very flattering. She needs to be always conscious of her best side.
12) The National Costume Competition winner was announced and she is #37 Ma. Teresita Allaine Baccay who wore the short terno.
13) The Grand Reunion of past Bb. Pilipinas winners showed ladies who have really maintained their beauty through the decades. Of particular note is 1982 Miss Young Pilipinas Sharon Hughes who can still pass off as the older sister of one of the winners from the new millennium.
So far, this year’s roster is truly proving to be golden. And my predictions, severely and frequently eroded as they are, need to be finalized once and for all.