Now, more than ever, is the time when I expect Miss Grand International and its owner Nawat Itsaragrisil to be significantly limelight-hugging. After all, the thrust of his pageant is to “stop the war”. I know that he can only do so much, given that his voice or presence is neither needed nor mandated when the participation of world leaders and Vladimir Putin is taking centerstage.
But pageantry-wise, Nawat could have easily united and mobilized all his past winners to make individual stands against the war between Russia and Ukraine. His “small” efforts will be remembered long after. Checking on his social media, though, he hasn’t done much. Instead, the focus is on his pageant’s Latin tour. Sure, there are posts that share sentiments on the matter, But nothing that is significantly felt alongside the others.
With the recent tweet of the Miss International Organization stressing that they are not open to holding a virtual pageant, rumors are strong that the Japan-based competition might be postponed due to the pandemic. Perhaps, they have learned their lessons from the Tokyo Olympics hosting. Instead of creating problems, it won’t come as a surprise if a 2022 playdate will take over. But since no formal announcement has been made, there is still a glimmer of hope of a delay but still within the year.
As for the other Queens of Binibining Pilipinas, Cindy Obeñita is a go for Miss Intercontinental in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt come late October and Maureen Montagne is preparing for an early November staging of The Miss Globe in Albania.
Meanwhile in Thailand, Miss Grand International is still keeping mum about details on whether to push through with the original plan of a December schedule for its 2021 edition. The civil unrest has affected the country and violence is alarming everyone that even reigning titleholder Abena Appiah (right) took to writing the United Nations to help intervene and restore peace. Interestingly, the core value of MGI will be put to test in this situation. Let’s see what happens next.
Pageant followers of Bb. Pilipinas 2021 are saying that the fight for the Bb. Pilipinas International crown is likely to be between Maureen Montagne and Hannah Arnold. And I tend to agree.
These two ladies represent two different kinds of tenderness that could suit up for the taste of the Miss International Organizers in Japan.
Maureen could be packaged in the mold of Bea Rose Santiago, while Hannah is seen as lite versions of Lara Quigaman-cum-Kylie Verzosa.
I feel that the level of sweetness should be there – not in excess but with the right balance that would fit the formula of success.
Of course, I cannot discount someone like Gabrielle Basiano just yet because she simply has one of the most beautiful faces among the 34 Binibinis. But I am seeing this tall beauty from Borongan as hitting the template of Miss Grand International more closely.
The buzz is that the Finals of Bb. Pilipinas 2021 may possibly happen this coming June – either early or later part of the sixth month. Let’s just wait for BPCI to confirm the specifics.
Credits for Maureen:
Makeup Shone Zendon Hair Dan Forro
Styling Oli Sara Gown Job Dacon
Credits for Hannah:
Makeup Jessie Maghuyop Hair Jan Jonas Lucas
Gown Louis Pangilinan
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Sexy. Show-stopping. Swagger.
Miss Grand Philippines Samantha Bernardo need not pull out surprise stunts onstage just to present herself in a colorful checkered swimwear. She has the natural hip-swaying strides and turns that deliver her A-game. Effortlessly, I must say.
Miss Grand Philippines Samantha Bernardo (above) during the Evening Gown Preliminaries of Miss Grand International. She is wearing a creation by Louis Pangilinan.
This gown takes inspiration from the small bird with broad wings that is undoubtedly recognizable by its green body color and yellow throat called “Yellow-throat leafbird.”
This bird is endemic to Palawan which Samantha Bernardo represents in her Binibining Pilipinas expedition.
This emerald green-colored gown is hand-embroidered with beads and sequins. Accentuated with gold crystals as a representation of the yellow throat of the bird and feathers from fibers extracted by hand and worked into fine threads woven together in the lower part of the gown.
Emerald green shows a woman’s growth, humility, and courage – characteristics that made our queen Samantha grand and awe-inspiring.
Photographer: Jerick Sanchez @jericksanchez
Gown: Louis Pangilinan
Stylist: Kenneth Ramil @styledbykennethr @kennethr_
Associate: Karl Dioso @diosokarl
Earrings: Ornate Manila @ornatemanila
Makeup: Jr Constantino @jrcons
Hair: Darwin Sinel @sineldarwin
Special thanks to Wilbert Tolentino, Rodgil Flores of KF and Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc., headed by Madam Stella Araneta.
My ten favorite National Costumes for Miss Grand International 2020 are a mix of the traditional modernized and theatrical culture. It was not difficult to select the ones that occupy the upper half of my selection.
Guatemala, Thailand, Indonesia, Bolivia and Vietnam deserve to be up there. They are either creative/inventive or polished/well-executed. It does help that the pageant organizers released high resolution individual photos of the candidates from where the details can be clearly seen.
My first three, in particular, are prime examples of how the modern National Costume should be conceptualized and presented. While Indonesia’s satay-inspired garb is sort of a mimic of Miss Universe Vietnam 2018’s Bahn Mi outfit in Bangkok, you can still see the craftsmanship that went into creating the visual feast of an ensemble. Guatemala’s, on the other hand, is lovingly put up by its creator – nothing complex but culturally spot-on. Thailand and her boat-on-the-floating-market NC is worthy of a host delegate’s entry. It is an almost real-life show of a tourist tradition that the Thais are known for around the world.
My remaining choices include Sri Lanka, Panama, Malaysia, the Philippines and Nicaragua in that order. This lower half may still be open to opposition from some, but they are included in my list because of specific elements that made them stand out ahead of the rest.
Patrick Isorena’s creation for Samantha Bernardo deserves some kudos for the robust feel of a Philippine Eagle-inspired costume.
MISS GRAND PHILIPPINES 2020
SAMANTHA MAE BERNARDO
The Costume is inspired by our National Bird – The Philippine Eagle also known as the Monkey-Eating Eagle or Great Philippine Eagle.
It is considered the largest of the extant eagles in terms of length and wing surface, the rarest and most powerful birds in the world.
This costume also intend to create awareness because the Philippine Eagle is critically endangered, mainly due to massive loss of habitat resulting from deforestation in most of its range.
Gold as the main color of the costume to represent the magnificent journey of our Queen.
And to pay homage to the MGI Golden Crown.
Just like gold it is extravagant, wealthy, rich and indestructible, like Samantha – A queen who never gave up on her dreams.
Designer PATRICK ISORENA
Photographer AHLEKS FUSILERO
Stylist KENNETH RAMIL YTURRALDE
Associate – KARL DIOSO
Make Up – JR CONSTANTINO
Hair – DARWIN SIÑEL
Watch the entire show below.
Pleased to share my Top 5 during the Swimsuit Competition of Miss Grand International.
Samantha Bernardo definitely stamped her class in this event, with Denisa Spergerova as the closest who can qualify as second-best. Aurra Kharishma cannot be denied of being cited as well. As for my 4th and 5th, Mariana Varela and Lala Guedes are not far behind, but the way I ranked them here may still be subject to gentle opposition from those who are more convinced with USA’s Abena Appiah (who is ranked 6th in my tally) and host delegate Chantaradapit Namfon (my 7th).
Completing my personal Top 10 are Angela Yuriar of Mexico, Maricielo Gamara of Peru and Fabiola Valentin of Puerto Rico.
In this order, my Top 5 are:
Miss Grand Philippines Samantha Bernardo
Miss Grand Czech Republic Denisa Spergerova
Miss Grand Indonesia Aurra Kharishma
Miss Grand Argentina Mariana Varela
Miss Grand Brazil Lala Guedes
Cool, calm and collected.
This is Miss Grand Philippines Samantha Bernardo before going through her Preliminary Interview for Miss Grand International.
Below is her exit interview along with Miss Grand Russia and Miss Grand Puerto Rico.