Above are sneak peeks into some of the National Costumes of the Miss Universe Philippines 2020 candidates that you will soon see during the part of the competition where they will display the full ensembles – while moving to the updated music of “Mabuhay” from Miss Universe 1994.
Imagine…a more exciting (and updated) version of this production number from Miss Universe 1994. The #phenomenalwomen of Miss Universe Philippines 2020 will be performing this time around, while wearing their unique National Costumes.
It’s more than enough to make me shed tears of joy.
Watch out for this in the Ring Light Series soon!
The Philippines has hosted the Miss Universe Pageant three (3) times ever since the first one in 1974 – an all-out Philippine-inspired edition that was motivated by the victory of Margarita Moran in Athens, Greece the year before. The candidates were billeted at the Philippine Village Hotel near Nayong Pilipino. And they were all given the warmest hospitality that included different cities “adopting” ladies as part of the pre-pageant activities. (Miss Jamaica 1974 Lennox Anne Black was assigned to Las Piñas where a street was eventually named after her.)
Life during the mid-70s was comparatively simpler than now. But trust the Marcoses to spare no expense in making the event lavish. And that included building a new finals venue from scratch. Only for Miss Universe 1974.
Spain won its first ever Miss Universe title here. Sadly, the late Amparo Muñoz surrendered the crown midway through her reign with no replacement named. She simply had a hard time conforming to the rules and regulations of the organization.
It took two decades before the second staging in the country would take place.
While the 1994 event was doomed to lose money right from the get-go, the government – through the Department of Tourism – did not leave any stone unturned to insure that everything would go smoothly from start to finish. The tourism thrust for the Philippines was very much evident. And the official residence – Manila Hotel – gave all the candidates the royal treatment. The then-upcoming singer-comedian Ogie Alcasid was even commissioned as “Manolo” – the tour guide/mascot of sorts who accompanied all the ladies in their tours. (That was also the time when flickers of his romantic relationship with Miss Australia Michelle Van Eimeren started.)
Personally, I reckon that the efforts and expenses that went into the 1994 commitment were the least indulgent in terms of giving in to all the financial trappings of an international pageant. True, the bottom figures were all in red after everything was completed. But nothing that would scare wealthy financiers or rock an entire government for that matter.
India won its first Miss Universe crown. Thanks to Sushmita Sen who upended all the heavy favorites like Minorka Mercado of Venezuela, Carolina Gomez of Colombia and Lu Parker of the USA.
After that, the turn of the new millennium plus more than one and a half decade will pass before the Philippines would aggressively bid hosting for the third time. It took the help of Governor Chavit Singson and a string of big private-sector sponsors to push for the 65th Miss Universe to happen in Manila. It could not be popularly marketed as Miss Universe 2016 because of the skip in year. The finals was scheduled January 30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena. Conrad Manila took over the sponsorship of housing the candidates throughout their entire stay after the rooms in the originally-planned residence – Okada Manila – could not be finished in time for the start of the pageant.
Among the three hostings, this was the glossiest of them all – from accomodations to pre-pageant venues to charity balls to out-of-town trips. The happenings in both Doral (2014) and Atlanta (2019) will be put to shame by its non-stop red carpet and sponsor engagements. Be that as it may, though, any team of auditors will have the most trying time analyzing and balancing the mountain of expenditures that went into the three-week extravaganza.
And our third Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach, crowned her successor Iris Mittenaere of France right here.
Let us watch the three finals now so you can see the evolution.
Miss Universe 1974 at the Folk Arts Theater
Miss Universe 1994 at the Philippine International Convention Center
The 65th Miss Universe at the Mall of Asia Arena
There is always this lingering fondness of the Filipinos for foreign beauty queens who visit the country, fell in love with the people and culture and made a go of staying longer for possible opportunities. Back in 1974, four of the five Miss Universe finishers grabbed the chance to do so. Maureen Ava Vieira of Aruba and Johanna Raunio of Finland launched short-lived movie careers, while Amparo Muñoz of Spain and Helen Morgan of Wales appeared in one movie each. During the 70s, two winners of Miss Asia (Eva Arni of Papua New Guinea and Tara Fonseca of India) also made a movie each with Joseph Estrada. In 1994, the outgoing Miss Universe did more than just movies after crowning her successor. Dayanara Torres of Toa Alta, Puerto Rico was given several showbiz offers, started a hosting/dancing career on TV, learned how to speak Filipino and even had a romantic relationship with actor Aga Muhlach. It went on for a few years before she decided to leave and return to her Latina roots when she also married singer Marc Antony, had a career in Puerto Rico and a celebrity status in the US. Time came when she was diagnosed with skin cancer which she battled at length until recently when she was diagnosed free from the disease. Below are highlights from Dayanara’s Miss Universe win and homecoming in Puerto Rico Highlights from Dayanara’s first Filipino movie with Aga Muhlach “Basta’t Kasama Kita”. A clip from Dayanara’s movie with Gary V, “Hataw Na” When Dayanara guested in the drama anthology “Maalaala Mo Kaya” with actor Cesar Montano TV interview on ANC’s Headstart Fast Talk with Boy Abunda Interview with Vice Ganda on GGV Dayanara being announced on TV being free of cancer If Dayanara did not win Miss Universe 1993, she would have no reason to visit the Philippines. As fate would have it, Manila hosted Miss Universe 1994. Having been the reigning titleholder then, she savored the host country more intimately and that started her interesting love affair with the Filipinos. The whole nine yards of it all.
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.
Unless you are a late millennial baby, chances are that the name Christelle Roelandts will definitely ring a bell. Who would forget Miss Belgium from Miss Universe 1994 who charmed all Filipinos with a beauty more endearing than Phoebe Cates? She became an instant favorite right from the get-go. And she was picked by most everyone as a contender for the title. But somehow, her star started to wane when it mattered most. If only the entire Filipino nation had a weighty vote to throw in, then Christelle would have been a shoo-in to the Top 10 and eclipsed the like of surprise qualifier Sweden. It’s as if her physical beauty was easily outpowered by the competitiveness of the Latinas and Sushmita Sen combined when the going got tough. It doesn’t help any that she had a relatively shy demeanor that effectively prevented her from hugging the spotlight everytime she had the chance to do so.
Fast forward to 2017 for the country’s 3rd hosting of Miss Universe. And we have another Miss Belgium who is starting to get noticed by most everyone I know in the media coverage group. Here is Stephanie Geldhof who – with or without makeup – looks so seriously beautiful. Her features are well-defined, but soft enough to project a quality of captivating appeal. She may not be as loud as the more aggressive contestants, but she is definitely not the type who cower under intimidation once the chance to shine comes. And I am starting to really like her.
That is where the main difference lies actually. Whereas Christelle Roelandts was like a flash-in-the-pan who effortlessly invited crowds everywhere during the pre-pageant activities, Stephanie is like a silent killer who is skillfully sizing up her opponents first before going for the jugular. If she keeps up the game plan, then Miss Belgium 2017 will definitely outperform Miss Belgium 1994. Maybe not by a mile just yet for now, but hopefully going that stretch in the coming two weeks.
A Victoria’s Secret Angel? A potential cover girl for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition? Or a photographer’s eye candy? Zuzana Kollárová has such a captivating face that one can’t help but be pulled in with her Hollywood Supermodel looks that can easily be booked a screen test as the next Bond girl. She is gorgeousness personified. And I must admit that she is one of the more underrated contestants of the 65th Miss Universe.
The Miss Universe SR National Director – Silvia Lakatosova who finished in the Top 6 of Miss Universe 1994 also here in Manila and the very first from Slovak Republic to make it that far in the competition – is pinning her hopes that Zuzana will give Slovak Republic the top placement or victory that will give more credence to her organization and the country in general.There is a quality about Zuzana that makes me giggle in excitement with the thought of meeting her face-to-face. I want to see for myself if she will leave me the lasting impression that her amazing photographs project. If she does, then we could have a spoiler in our hands.
Your take on Zuzana Kollárová, dear readers?
courtesy of magazin Emma
It doesn’t take a lot to know why Bb. Pilipinas Universe 1994 Charlene Mae Bonnin Gonzalez remains as one of the top favorites among Filipina placers in Miss Universe. She is beautiful, and remains ravishing up to now. On top of that, she remained active in showbusiness for quite some time up until last year when she bowed out of ABS-CBN’s “The Buzz”. What’s more, it’s always a joy to watch her performance during Miss Universe 1994 when she made it all the way to Top 6.
I know that so many throwback posts and articles have already been made about her. But let’s do it one more time for Charlene. After all, she was Miss Philippines during the very first Miss Universe I covered for personal enjoyment (aside from being able to pull some strings at the Manila Hotel where they were billeted at the time). 😉
courtesy of skiace
courtesy of skiace 1994 was a particularly splendid year in the Philippines, pageant-wise. Manila hosted Miss Universe for a second time and everyone was in a fiesta mood with the arrival of beautiful ladies from all over the world and to witness the eventual crowning of the successor of Dayanara Torres.
Miss India Sushmita Sen was not among the list of favorites for the title. In fact, she would always be overshadowed by the likes of Venezuela’s Minorka Mercado, Belgium’s Christelle Roelandts and Australia’s Michelle Van Eimeren. But in due time, people took notice of this tall and elegant beauty from Hyderabad as she slowly crept her way to the top. By the time preliminaries took place, she excelled in all areas of competition and held on to the status of highly potential winners up to that fateful moment at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) when she defeated all the contenders to become India’s first Miss Universe.
The win made Sush a very popular celebrity in her native country. In fact, it opened a lot of doors that led to her becoming a top Bollywood actress (she won several acting awards in the process) and one of the most highly-regarded Indian women considered as an icon of beauty, intelligence and grace.
When time came for her to look at the possibility of restoring the powerhouse status of India in Miss Universe, she was at the forefront. She got the franchise of the same and started “I Am She-Miss India Universe” back in 2010 but lasted only until 2012. While her efforts were deemed less successful, she never regretted the three year-involvement.Personally, Sush has two daughters, both adopted. At the age of 25, she took the guardianship of her eldest, Renée, in 2000. And ten years later, she did the same with Alisah. As far as relationships are concerned, she had an almost unending string of affairs – the most controversial of which was her time with the married Vikram Bhatt. From there, she got on with the likes of hotelier Sanjay Narang, Head of hotmail.com Sabeer Bhatia, actor Randeep Hooda, businessman Imtiaz Khatri, filmmaker Manav Menon, Globosports’ Bunty Sachdeva, director Mudassar Aziz, Wasim Akram, Anil Ambani and, of late, nightclub owner Rhitik Basin.
In search of Mr. Perfect, Sush always considered marriage as an option, but never really got into settling down with a guy who can fit the mold of what a life partner should be in her own standards.
During a 2014 interview with The Times of India, she was quoted as saying, “I don’t think I should walk with the system. Our society has made this system that get graduate at 18, by 22 start panicking to get married and by 27 have your first child. I don’t believe in that…” “Every person’s DNA is different. I will certainly get married and for sure it’s going to be a beautiful wedding (Masha allah bahut khoobsurat hogi meri shaadi).”
Watch one of Sushmita’s TV interviews with Raveena Tandon on It’s My Life below.
courtesy of NDTV
Credits for all the Miss Universe 1994 images above goes to Maja Mundial Narvaez.
courtesy of thechenesfulAren’t they just the cutest?
I’m talking about the Miss Universe Little Sisters who – while lip-synching the song “You Are My Star” – added just the right amount of cuteness to the Long Gown Competition of thirteen (13) editions from 1983 to 1995. All of the Miss Universe delegates during this period experienced having a little sister during the finals, but only the ladies who made it to the semifinals were actually able to walk down the stage hand-in-hand with the cuties. And for the record, only three (3) Filipinas were able to do so – Desiree Verdadero from 1984, Geraldine Edith Asis from 1987 (see photo on the left) and Charlene Gonzalez from 1994.
Don’t you wish these little girls would make an adorable comeback in Doral Miami for old times’ sake? I have a feeling Donald Trump would thumb down the idea, but I don’t see why he can’t be prevailed upon by the organization for something heartwarming. After all, he already started revamping the Miss Universe image by pushing for more charity-driven causes (like what Gabriela Isler has been up to the past full year). Why not include a touch of wholesome presence in the finals? 😀
Let’s reminisce a little more and watch a video of the Little Sisters of Manila during Miss Universe 1994.
courtesy of zarly