Left to right: Co-2nd Runner-Up Arielle Jazmine Roque, 1st Runner-Up Apriel Smith, Reyna ng Aliwan 2017 Marla Alforque, Co-2nd Runners-Up Ma. Ahtisa Manalo and Venisse Charm Costibolo
Last year’s winner Cynthia Thomalla during her farewell walk
Just as I predicted, four of my Top 5 picks for Reyna ng Aliwan 2017 made it to the magic circle with Marla Alforque from Sinulog Festival of Cebu getting the crown and the top prize of PhP100,000.00. Apriel Smith from Utanon Festival of Dalaguete, Cebu was named 1st Runner-Up in a perceived close fight for the title after she claimed the important awards of Best in Swimsuit and Best in Evening Gown. Three (3) ladies shared 2nd Runner-Up honors – Maria Ahtisa Manalo from Niyogyugan Festival of Quezon, Venisse Charm Costibolo from Sangyaw Festival of Tacloban and Arielle Jazmine Roque from Tuna Festival of General Santos City.
Apriel Smith getting 1st Runner-Up
From Cebuana to another Cebuana in Reyna ng Aliwan 2017
Marla being crowned by Cynthia
Reyna ng Aliwan has always been a stronghold pageant for the Queen City of the South, having claimed a lion’s share of victories more than any city or province around the Philippines. And this year is no exception as the province landed a 1-2 punch for the highest placements.
Congratulations to all the winners!
P.S. While I am happy that Marla Alforque won, I just can’t help but feel a bit disappointed for Apriel Smith who really performed well in all areas of competition but still placed 1st Runner-Up in the end. I would be happy seeing the organizers finally bucking the trend of crowning fair-skinned beauties and pushing for more diversity with its winners in the future. Just my two-cents worth. 😉
Coronation Night will be April 22
The crowning of Reyna ng Aliwan 2017 will already be this coming Saturday, April 22, at the CCP Complex. So I need to share with you now my favorites for the title, or my Top 10. If I were a judge, the successor of last year’s Cynthia Thomalla will definitely come from among Apriel Smith, Ma Ahtisa Manalo, Marla Alforque and Kathleen Mae Lendio – three Cebuanas and a Quezonian. We know how the Queen City of the South has dominated this competition for many years now, and this batch is no exception. We’ll see if the girl from Candelaria will upstage the strong troika from Cebu.
I have made an effort to rank them according to who I want to win most, as follows (all photographed by my partner Joy Arguil):
Maria Ahtisa Manalo
Kathleen Mae Lendio
Venisse Charm Costibolo
Alexia Sonia Edmund
Cherry Rose Fernandez
The Reyna ng Aliwan 2017 Official Candidates with reigning titleholder Cynthia Thomalla with previous winner Steffi Aberasturi and former runner-up Alexandra Faith Garcia
Earlier in the day, the Press Launch of Aliwan Fiesta 2017
was held alongside the Press Presentation of the Official Candidates of Reyna ng Aliwan 2017 at Passion Restaurant inside Resorts World Manila.
Twenty (20) beautiful stunners representing an equal number of festivals around the country presented themselves in elegant gowns to the delight of the members of the media who were invited for the event. One of them will succeed reigning titleholder Cynthia Thomalla during the Coronation Finals this coming Saturday, April 22 at the CCP Complex in Pasay City. Pageant presentation will be held a night before in the same venue.
Below are the Official Candidates and the festivals they represent.
Candidates 1-10 from right to left
Candidates 11-20 from right to left
It was obvious from reactions of the Press who the clear favorites are. First off, the three (3) Cebuanas are all in strong contention – Apriel Smith from Utanon Festival of Dalaguete, Kathleen Mae Lendio of Karansa Festival of Danao City and Marla Alforque of Sinulog Festival – together with Maria Ahtisa Manalo of Niyogyugan Festival of Quezon
. A dark horse would be Venisse Charm Costibolo of Sangyaw Festival of Tacloban City. And we already have five potential winners here. Let’s see who will run away with the victory this year.
Reyna ng Aliwan 2017 from one of these ladies (left to right): Apriel Smith, Maria Ahtisa Manalo, Kathleen Mae Lendio, Marla Alforque and Venisse Charm Costibolo
Watch the finals at the CCP Complex. Admission is free and you will also be regaled with festival street dancing from all over the Philippines. Only from Aliwan Fiesta 2017