Above are my Top 20 Binibinis of Bb. Pilipinas 2017 before I let go of Dane Felisse, Maria Benjieleen, Ruffa and Sammie Anne to trim down the choices to a manageable field of 16
Late last month, it finally dawned on me how the Philippine pageant sphere has sharply polarized into several competing combinations for the new Bb. Pilipinas 2017 titleholders. Just when I thought that I have assembled an almost perfect batch of titleholders and runners-up, small but significant factors topple what I have already set my mind into using as the strong foundation for my fearless forecast. Thing is, whoever I put on top and in succeeding placements will not necessarily jibe with the differing ideas and opinions of the reading public. So in order to lessen the load of stress bogging down my mind of late, I covered my ears, focused on my personal notes/assessments and came up with what I believe could
be my best possible final winning configuration.
Your blogger with independent Binibinis (left to right): Arah, Camille, Clarice and Istie
One factor that I uniquely enjoy as your blogger is the friendship I have established with all of the Binibinis – something that is neither deep nor superficial but enough to give me precious hints as to which six contenders deserve to be glorified in the end. At first, camp affiliations threatened to sway me back and forth. Believe it or not, I consciously distanced myself from both so as to keep my eyes transfixed on the personal merits of each one of them and not be influenced by who handles who or whose clout could be more widespread than the other. I also moved away from the “independent” angle because it only tends to muddle the whole process.
Dear readers, it took me a long time to build the Binibinis included in the first cut of my predictions. Here now are my Top 16 (I couldn’t go lower than this number anymore) for Bb. Pilipinas 2017 arranged according to their assigned numbers first:
My Top 16 in their National Costumes
#Binibini2 Arienne Louise Calingo
#Binibini10 Jehza Huelar
#Binibini12 Angelique Celine de Leon
#Binibini13 Sirene Sutton
#Binibini15 Maria Angelica de Leon
#Binibini17 Maria Camille Manalo
#Binibini18 Nelda Ibe
#Binibini19 Rachel Peters
#Binibini20 Christagale Borja
#Binibini21 Jamaica Elysse Ambal
#Binibini22 Chanel Olive Thomas
#Binibini24 Dindi Pajares
#Binibini31 Katarina Rodriguez
#Binibini32 Charmaine Elima
#Binibini38 Ana Patricia Asturias
#Binibini39 Elizabeth Clenci
You know too well that nobody can make instant guesses on who are guaranteed to ace the Q&A. But if your main basis is the ABS-CBN Primer shown last Sunday night (watch sample videos below), then it would be safe to speculate that a good majority of the sixteen Binibinis above will acquit themselves very well; unless, the unexpected happens and those deemed to easily deliver will buckle under extreme pressure.
videos courtesy of Pageanthologist Network
There is that one crucial minute where anything can happen. It may depend on which judge will ask the question or what question will be asked of a particular candidate. However at this juncture, the favored ones are already starting to shape up as the eventual winners and they simply need to give a decent job of answering. One or two may surprise the judges and the audience, but if they don’t belong to the “initially chosen” (keep in mind that the closed door panel interviews conducted yesterday were of utmost importance), then the anticipated judges’ deliberations (in the presence of key BPCI Officials) afterwards seal (or unseal) whatever their placements will be once and for all.
Before moving on, let me make mention of the 9th and 10th placers on my list who nearly entered the winners’ circle but were still edged out due to the high level of competitiveness and consistency in this batch. They are Katarina Rodriguez and Arienne Louise Calingo, respectively.
My Top 8 in reverse order
I placed Sirene Sutton and Dindi Pajares as my 1st and 2nd Runners-Up, respectively. I need not explain the importance of these two positions. With no titles – save for the status of being ladies-in-waiting – to show off, they can immediately rejoin the following year and capitalize on their inclusion in the winners’ circle for around 10 months. Both ladies are crown-worthy, but given the company of Binibinis they are stuck with in this edition, I wouldn’t mind seeing them compete again in 2018. Sirene still needs to comfortably get out of the professional model look and mold that sticks to her skin like an ultra-adhesive glue. Dindi, on the other hand, has stayed the same way as last year – brightly competitive but still missing that one note to fully break into the game of crowns.
For the six titles, I have narrowed down the selection to an equal number – Maria Angelica de Leon, Charmaine Elima, Rachel Peters, Nelda Ibe, Chanel Olive Thomas and Jehza Huelar.
I can see #Binibini10 getting the Miss Globe Philippines crown from Nichole Manalo. Jehza Huelar has proven that – inspite of having such a strong lineup to deal with – she can still rise to the occasion and pocket a victory. She has really leveled up from 2016. I may have pinned her to the least aspired sash among the most victorious, but it is an achievement that will stay in her credentials forever. What’s more, her easy-to-work-with attitude is a trait that needs no further proof to the organization.
Chanel Olive Thomas is my pick for Grand International. This one is the result of a very close tussle between her and Arienne Louise Calingo (whose fluency in Thai is an edge nobody else can claim to. It is her biggest ace to get on the good side of Nawatt Itsaragrisil in the bigger mission up ahead). But Chanel has a playful charm and cheerful disposition that she can use to her advantage. Given that both ladies can express themselves better than most, this is what the Fil-Aussie displayed to nose out the multi-lingual Kapampangan.
Supranational-wise, Nelda Ibe is the lady I can see taking the spot soon-to-be-vacated by Joanna Eden. It’s no secret among some near-insiders that this gorgeous natural beauty (she can proudly state her enhancement-free status if need be) is one of those wearing a halo (since Day 1 almost) of admiration from those who matter. She could easily upset the stronger favorites if getting into auto-pilot mode (pun intended) can be avoided. I can honestly see her making waves in Poland or any other European country where Miss Supranational 2017 will be hosted. She has always mesmerized me during our encounters, and relying only on photographs to size up her chances will be doing a great disservice to what she is capable of delivering up close and personal.
I have placed Rachel Peters for the Intercontinental assignment for more than two weeks now. The competition abroad remains unpredictable in terms of their choice for a big winner. And I still believe that Jennifer Hammond was unfairly upended in Sri Lanka last year. So sending your #Binibini19 to whichever part of the globe the next edition of Miss Intercontinental will take place in should be a good risk to take since she has the qualities that could make the organizers sit up and take notice, the same way they did when Christi McGarry competed and placed 1st Runner-Up. Who knows, she could just really be what the Doctor ordered in the game – a woman of racial mix with the right amount of saucy allure.
And now we’re down to the two highest titles of the Bb. Pilipinas season – Universe and International. Two beautiful ladies stand before me, each with their distinct pluses to make it as the last two Binibinis standing – Maria Angelica de Leon and Charmaine Elima. Anyone of the two would make an excellent representative to the 66th Miss Universe, the same way that either one of them can go fast and furious for a still impossible back-to-back win in Japan for Miss International. So who stays longer and be kept in suspense as to where Iris Mittenaere will crown her successor? And who goes with Kylie Verzosa to Tokyo and be constantly pressured in competing for a title that her compatriot is currently holding?
Maxine Medina moves forward and stops on the side of your #Binibini15 and leaves Charmaine Elima in the arms of Miss International 2016. Except for the unstinting focus and dedication to win, Maine is like the antithesis of Kylie Verzosa in more ways than one. And I’m all for taking the risk of sending a safe opposite of the reigning winner to Japan.
Maria Angelica de Leon
Photo credit: Erwin Totanes Oning
, you are the new Miss Universe Philippines for me! It is you who I can see being dramatically transformed for the Universe. That is where I am pulling out all my defense in your favor. And the achievable vision is starting to excite me. This much I can say – your detractors ain’t seen nothing yet.
P.S. This is such a long narrative of predictions. If only I possessed the power of reading minds, I would immediately look at Madame Stella Marquez de Araneta and make this exercise short and sweet. But thank you for staying up with me. The finals this Sunday will definitely be a nail-biter. After all, media is not allowed to post any kind of live updates in whatever form in deference to the exclusive rights of ABS-CBN to broadcast the finals on TV. If at any, it will give your blogger the chance to watch without constantly grabbing the iPhone or tablet to post sashay-by-sashay happenings inside the Araneta Coliseum. First report on the winners should be posted by 2am of May 1 the earliest.
Putting it all together, my winners for Bb. Pilipinas 2017