I have lost count of all the provincial/regional beauty pageants I have judged the past few years. But it’s quite easy to recall one or two that really stood out in terms of production values, over-all stage design and direction plus the entire concept of the whole show. The recently-concluded Miss Ilocos Norte is one of them. Aside from a comfortable venue (Centennial Arena Laoag City) that would closely rival the inside seating capacity of a MOA Arena or Araneta Coliseum, the house was packed to the rafters with supporters coming in busloads from all over the province. What’s more, the well thought-of stage design was proudly inspired by the local fabric “Inabel” that accentuated the total look and feel of the proceedings.
Paolo Bediones (himself an Ilocano from San Nicolas) navigated everything seamlessly and made sure that his hosting was as professionally conducted as possible. If that wasn’t enough, the panel of judges included a good mix of individuals coming from pageantry (Rachel Peters, Ina Adina – a former Miss Ilocos Norte titleholder – and yours truly), fashion (Designers Joji Loren and Vittorio Barba), TV (Patricia Tumulak), politics and local achievers (like recent bar topnotcher Dave Camarao).
Throughout it all, the strongest favorite – Dianne Lacayanga of Paoay – held on to the lead from start to finish, while a come-from-behind 1st Runner-Up pleasantly surprised the decision-makers when Keena Madamba of San Nicolas edged out the other front-runners to come close to winning the crown.
Kudos to all the organizers, especially Aian Raquel of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (including Kristian Ranjo, Xavier Ruiz, Khrisian Pedro and Clyde Panlaque) for continuing with the annual province-wide beauty pageant that keeps getting every year.
And many thanks for inviting yours truly to judge and for normannorman.com to cover the big event.
Till Miss Ilocos Norte 2018! 🙂
Here are videos from the finals courtesy of Raymond Valera.
When I was formally invited to sit as one of the judges during last night’s finals of Miss Ilocos Norte 2017, I took it as a welcome opportunity to spend quality time with the Chairman of the Board – Miss Universe Philippines 2017 Rachel Peters. While the schedule from Manila-to-Pagudpud-to Manila-to-Sariaya-to-Manila-to-Laoag was such a whirlwind travel from May 12-17, I didn’t mind the hectic pace at all.
Rachel and I were on the same PAL flight from Manila to Laoag. And right from the get-go, we started talking to each other, asking questions about anything pageant or non-pageant related. And before both of us knew it, we started getting more relaxed and less formal.
You all know that Rachel’s advocacy is to celebrate the individuality of everyone, and winning the Miss Universe Philippines crown made it more meaningful. She now has a platform by which she can further her cause and where her voice can be heard by many. She does not have plans of making any kind of earthshaking moves just yet. But now that the responsibility of being the Bb. Pilipinas 2017 top winner has beautifully sunk in, she is planning her reign with such enthusiasm.
But do you know that there is a more personal reason why the crown is such a meaningful achievement for Rachel? She feels so much happiness that her entire family and that of boyfriend Migz Villafuerte are extremely proud of her victory. The support she got from both groups became a constant source of strength from the time she trained for the nationals to the day she was named a Binibini to the night she was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2017 and up to now.
I can now safely say that I have experienced a side of Rachel Peters not many individuals get the chance to see. She is such a thoughtful soul who cares for her friends like family. And she mixes it up with everyone very easily. I can remember the time late last night when she returned to the van after the finish of Miss Ilocos Norte. Fans swarmed around the vehicle but couldn’t get the chance to have a photo opportunity. She immediately stepped out and joined the crowds. And that made everyone happy.
I may have spent just 37 hours with Rachel but that length of time was enough to give me a better assessment of the beauty queen behind the camera flashes and klieg lights. I may not be able to share with you every single personal detail I have learned about her, but you will appreciate her even more as she prepares to train for the 66th Miss Universe. Yes, even if there is still no clarity on when and where it will happen next. 🙂