It will be a 5-way battle for the Miss World Philippines 2017. This is so unlike all previous editions of the national pageant when either one or two would end up as the clear last two women standing (or one locked-in winner) during finals night.
Consider these past trends:
2011: Gwen Ruais and Nicolette Henson
2012: Queenie Rehman and Mary Ann Misa
2013: Megan Young and Janicel Lubina
2014: Valerie Weigmann and Lorraine Kendrickson
2015: Hillarie Parungao and Cassandra Naidas
2016: Catriona Gray all the way!
This year, it will be tough zeroing in on just one – let alone two – solid candidates for the top crown because there are five (5) potential winners this time around.
I will try to qualify their respective strengths more objectively now.
Jona Sweett has the relaxed beauty that is underscored by a passionate advocacy for the Ati people of Aklan. She speaks respectably well and has the full determination to wrest the title from the other four;
Cynthia Thomalla has the undeniable beauty that could easily land her the lead role in a remake of “The Princess Diaries” with Anne Hathaway playing her mom. Her ability to communicate, though, remains suspect in terms of fluidity of ideas and the like. But if charm is jacked up 10x more, then she could fish all the judges’ nods – hook, line and sinker;
Janela Joy Cuaton has the effervescent beauty that can captivate in a flash. While she may be the youngest among the five, her source of a meaningful (beauty with a) purpose is just as hard as the rock of Gibraltar. She may stumble a bit here and there, but the focus remains in place;
Teresita Ssen Marquez is the all-around Pinay charmer who has practically every ingredient in her possession – beautiful face, zero-fat shapely body, precision-built dancing talent and an inspired speaking ability that leads to a refined self-expression – but the less than middling height;
Laura Lehmann lacks that teeny weeny charge of flirtatiousness to amp up her bid. But hey, nobody’s perfect. From my vantage point, that is my only qualm about her. When she failed to make Top 7 in Beach Beauty, I knew that the one quality missing is her inability to fully work out her physical style in public. But then again, swimsuits are out in Miss World so that will leave her elegance and sophistication to benefit from a dash of tempered playfulness. Oh, she can communicate well, by the way. And her PREP (Promoting Rural Education in the Philippines) BWAP appears more doable than dreamy – not earthshaking but definitely warm-hearted in approach and sustainability.
It’s quite obvious now that Laura is my pick for Miss World Philippines.
Now how about the three other titles?
I would – without much of an analysis – select Gabriela Ortega for Reina Hispanoamericana Filipinas because of her beautiful face and fluency in Spanish. Being an Architect could also add up to a pretty nice back story. Her figure, though, is a constant reminder that there will always be default parameters on how we want our representatives to look like in swimsuits. If that will get in the way, then I would agree to sending Teresita Ssen Marquez to Bolivia because she will definitely do everything that it takes to learn speaking Spanish, even in basic conversations at the very least. Heck, she might even get into it religiously just like memorizing long lines from a script!
For Miss Multinational Philippines, Janela Joy Cuaton or Cynthia Thomalla would be preferable choices. Their attractive qualities – both inside and out – will shine in New Delhi regardless of the competition.
And lastly, Miss Eco Philippines is one title I have now earmarked for either Jona Sweett or Zara Carbonell. Either the laid-back sensuality of the former or the engaging presence of the latter will get plus points in Egypt.
So in reverse order, my Top 15 would be ranked this way:
15- Chelsea Manalo, 14- Jeanyfer Ozbot, 13- Cristina Coloma, 12- Nikki Deveza, 11- Sheila Marie Reyes, 10- Ella Eiveren Lubag, 9- Ethel Abellanosa, 8- Glyssa Perez, 7- Zara Carbonell, 6- Gabriela Ortega, 5- Jona Sweett, 4- Cynthia Thomalla, 3- Janela Joy Cuaton, 2- Teresita Ssen Marquez and 1- Laura Lehmann.