Garbed in an almost theatrical fusion of an old world guardian with indigenous fabric, Miss Asia Pacific International 2018 Sharifa Akeel channels an androgynous appeal that immediately brings your eyes to the beauty of her face and stance.
Bravo to Designer Jay-r Gamboa Flores for creating this ensemble!
IN FRAME / @sharifaakeel
PHOTO / @cjdportraits
DESIGNER / @gawangflores
CREATIVE DIRECTOR / @onlyyepyep
HAIR / Sabier Sabb McArthur
This blog entry will read like a throwback within a throwback. Just like Binibining Pilipinas, Mutya ng Pilipinas has already reached its Golden Anniversary last 2018 – fairly more recent but still full of pride and glory. For a national pageant to successfully make it through five decades is an achievement that stood the test of time. And its long list of titleholders and international winners gave their share to the country’s performance record in other beauty competitions – prime of which were Miss Asia Quest-turned- Miss Asia Pacific Quest-turned-Miss Asia Pacific International, Miss Tourism International and during selected periods – Miss World, Miss Intercontinental, Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International, Miss Tourism Metropolitan International, Queen of Clubs International and Best Model of the World.
Can you still remember the less popular, but equally beautiful theme song of Mutya ng Pilipinas? Click below so you can listen to it while looking back at fifty (50) glorious years of the second-oldest national pageant in the country.
Some of its pageant-victorious pageant alumni include:
Miss Asia Quest 1982 Carines Zaragoza
Miss Asia Quest 1983 Gloria “Bong” Dimayacyac
Miss Asia Pacific Quest 1989 Lorna Legaspi
Miss Asia Pacific Quest 1993 Michelle Aldana
Miss Asia Pacific International 2018 Sharifa Akeel
Miss Tourism International 2000 Esperanza Manzano
Miss Tourism International 2012 Rizzini Gomez
Miss Tourism International 2013 Angeli Dione Gomez
Miss Tourism International 2017 Jannie Alipoon
Miss Tourism International 2019 Cyrille Payumo
Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International 1999 Racquel Uy
Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International 2015 Leren Mae Bautista
Miss Tourism Metropolitan International 2014 Glennifer Perido
Queen of the Year 1996 Sherylle Santarin
Miss Tourism Cosmopolitan International 2010 Barbara Salvador
with notable placements in Miss World and Miss Intercontinental courtesy of Sarah Jane Areza, Sherry Rose Byrne and Koreen Medina.
Below is a video made especially for Mutya Gold which featured stories of some of its past titleholders and how being a Mutya made them forever Queens.
And just to complete the throwback, allow me to share the grand opening number and crowning moments of the 50th Mutya ng Pilipinas held at the Mall of Asia Arena last September, 2018. This was a monumental effort spearheaded by then President Hemilyn Escudero-Tamayo (right photo with Joy Arguil and I) who pulled out all the stops to make the production her farewell legacy for the pageant institution.
A period of 25 years is a “generation” – the time from birth to someone having a child of their own and starting the next generation. For beauty camp Kagandahang Flores, 2020 marks the year of its Silver Jubilee. And Rodgil Flores must be beaming with pride, alongside his cousin Gio Flores, in what their initial efforts have transformed into the past two and a half decades.
It all started from humble beginnings. Back in the mid-90s, the group fielded a sole candidate – Sonia Santiago – for Bb. Pilipinas 1996. In between, more beautiful Filipinas started undergoing training and polish for bigger beauty competitions. And in the process, a good number of the ladies started winning national titles left and right, until their successes were justly rewarded when Precious Lara Quigaman was crowned Miss International 2005 – their very first claim to grand slam fame.
Below is a rundown of the KF alumni who went on to win their international pageants, either here or abroad:
Miss International 2005 Precious Lara Quigaman
Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago
Miss Earth 2008 Karla Henry
Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrell
Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong
Miss Earth 2017 Karen Ibasco
Miss Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman
Miss Asia Pacific International 2018 Sharifa Akeel
Miss Tourism International 2012/13 Rizzini Alexis Gomez
Miss Tourism International 2013/14 Angeli Dione Gomez
Mr Gay World 2017 John Raspado
Mr Gay World 2019 Janjep Carlos
Mister Tourism Ambassador World 2018 Kerr Cruz
I won’t make a separate list of their winners in Bb. Pilipinas, Miss World Philippines, Miss Philippines Earth, Mutya ng Pilipinas/Mutya Pilipinas and even in Mr World Philippines or Misters of Filipinas anymore because this entry will get very long.
Rodgil during one of his training sessions with Miss Universe Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados
Some of the core members of Team KF
In essence, Team KF discovers and teaches potential women and men to become successful pageant titleholders. The series of training and level workshops are focused on Personality Development, Visual Poise, Fitness, Pageant Question and Answer, Pageant Hair & Make-Up styling and Pageant Catwalk and Projection – all tailored fit for the biggest national pageants for both genders in the Philippines.
KF is now established as one of two most prominent beauty camps as well as internationally sought-after pageant training groups in the country. It’s no secret that beauty queens from other countries have also given their trust to them. And I am not surprised at the progressive move. If at any, that is already expected. Just like the last two Miss Earth winners Phuong Khanh Nguyen of Vietnam and Nellys Pimentel of Puerto Rico. They were both prepared (or perfected, if you will) at KF before their respective competitions.
Rodgil and his 28 Binibinis for Bb. Pilipinas 2020
I can remember during one of his past interviews (watch below) for Assignment Asia of the China Global Television Network (CGTN) how Rodgil called beauty aspirants – “beauty athletes” – because all the learnings are continuously practiced in their individual lives outside the confines of the camp itself. I could not think of a more appropriate term that could better that.
Congratulations to your 25th Anniversary, Kagandahang Flores! Here’s a toast to the passion and unstinting efforts to train a generation of Beautiful Filipinas!
Sharifa Mangatong Areef Mohammad Omar Akeel or Sharifa Akeel (for short) is one Filipina Beauty Queen who did not harvest her national and international achievements in a flash. She (and presumably her handlers) patiently and diligently paid her dues from the municipal, provincial and regional levels first before even signing up for bigger things here in Manila. Her collection of crowns reads, as follows:
Mutya ng Lebak 2016
Mutya ng Sultan Kudarat 2016
Mutya ng Regional PRISAA 2017
Mutya ng National PRISAA 2017
Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia Pacific Int’l 2018
Miss Asia Pacific International 2018
This coming 2020 – and safely after serving her commitments to both Mutya ng Pilipinas and Miss Asia Pacific International – Sharifa is ready to spread her wings even wider than ever before. The choices are ripe for the picking. The good thing is that her rise in the pageantry ladder is such that the hierarchy of wins will move upward than otherwise. She could be the classic example of the Filipina from the grassroots who used one national pageant as stepping stone to heightened glory as an international winner in a homegrown beauty competition.
I can almost see this beautifully down-to-earth 22 year-old signing up for Bb. Pilipinas 2020 or Miss World Philippines 2020. But wait, she could also go for Miss Universe Philippines 2020. She simply needs to make the right selection to continue the progressive build-up of her participation.
If you missed the live broadcast of the Opening Ceremony of the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the Philippine Arena, eleven of our international beauty queens paraded with the eleven participating nations in the biennial regional sporting event that drew a full house in the gigantic venue.
Pia Wurtzbach, Megan Young, Precious Lara Quigaman, Karen Gallman, Jamie Herrell, Angelia Ong, Karen Ibasco, Cynthia Thomalla, Sharifa Akeel, Jannie Alipo-on and Sophia Senorom added World-Class Beauty to the proceedings when they led each of the SEA Games nations during the parade onstage.
Amidst all the controversies (and unforgiveable embarrasments) with the initial days of SEA Games hosting in the country, the Opening Ceremony this coming Saturday, November 30, should be a source of pride for Filipinos. Aside from the showcase of World-Class singing talents, the muses of the participating countries in the region’s biennial sporting event will be eleven (11) of our international beauty titleholders, namely:
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach for Team Philippines
Miss World 2013 Megan Young for Team Indonesia
Miss International 2005 Precious Lara Quigaman for Team Malaysia
Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrell for Team Singapore
Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong for Team Thailand
Miss Earth 2017 Karen Ibasco for Team Myanmar
Miss Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman for Team Brunei
Miss Eco International 2018 Cynthia Thomalla for Team Laos
Miss Asia Pacific International 2018 Sharifa Akeel for Team Vietnam
Miss Tourism International 2017 Jannie Alipo-on for Team East Timor
Miss Multinational 2017 Sophia Senoron for Team Cambodia
Let’s hope that things go on an upswing after the festive start.
Resham Ramirez Saeed has the honor of being only the second Muslim to win a Bb. Pilipinas crown – the first one being Reham Snow Tago (left photo being crowned by Cara Subijano) who was proclaimed Bb. Pilipinas World back in 1995. Of course, if you go by national pageants in general, Mutya ng Pilipinas 2018 Sharifa Akeel would be sandwiched in between.
Going back to our subject, this Filipina-Pakistani was a dark horse in the competition right from the start. She may not have been the type who would join the hype of the established front-runners, but she almost always gets the attention of most pageant watchers because of her articulate self and very exotic features. It’s true that she was raised in Canada, but she has done a pretty good job of representing Maguindanao and its local culture.
Last Sunday night, you didn’t see the pressure to successfully deliver in Resham’s performance. That’s the beauty of being a spoiler. The weight of winning is inside, but not to the point of showing it on the outside. It was only during the part of announcement of winners in the TV telecast when the camera would pan in her area that you could notice the earnest look in her face of wanting to be called as one of the new titleholders.
That being said, Resham is now one of our new Queens and a fresh inclusion in the roster of winners. The Miss Supranational IG account has already reported her win plus a virtual welcome to the international family. They even described her as “classy”. So I guess they are more than excited to meet her in person once she competes in Poland.
Hi! Norman here. When I'm not working, I spend most of my free time planning on daily blogs. If you will notice, I always make sure that a fresh topic comes out everyday - not an easy thing to do but it's all good. Thanks for dropping by and enjoy the visit!
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