Honestly, I can’t find a big blunder in Pia Wurtzbach’s Q&A performance after Judge Sen. Sonny Angara asked her permission to ask the question in Filipino. Any candidate (except perhaps the likes of Laura Lehmann and Joy Diaz who are more at ease speaking in and understanding English) in the same position will answer on the affirmative and then segue to a reply also in Filipino. What I would possibly have suggested is to shorten the initial response so as to give her extra seconds to quickly translate the same in English for the foreign members of the panel. This was the discussion I had with my seatmates – Atty. Nad Bronce of A&Q and designer Eric delos Santos – at the venue. For someone who is more than ready to answer in English, she wasn’t caught off-guard making a 180-degree switch to mouthing statements in the vernacular instead. Given the boiling pressure at the time, presence of mind allowed continuity of her thought without making a long pause. Or better yet, it would have served her well not to make a translation anymore so as to avoid getting harassed by the thought that not everyone who mattered understood her. After all, there will always be fellow judges who can help translate for, say, Maria Gabriela Isler or US Consul William Christopher or even Mexican Ambassador Julio Camanera.
And hey, it is also possible that we are looking at the wrong source of reason/s for Pia’s non-win. There is also the likelihood that the judges were looking for a more exotic-looking Filipina to represent us in Miss Universe and fair-skinned Binibinis are not impressive enough for their taste. Maybe, just maybe, she did not really register a very strong mark and MJ Lastimosa was zooming up to the top at a rate that would no longer be reachable for the other comers.
Regardless, it is time for Pia to move on and find her place in the sun under the shadow of another beach umbrella. 😉