It's safe to say our country's obsession with beauty pageants dates decades back and knows no fathom. If we were to use Nick Joquin's words, we'd say our love for beauty contests is one that gushes into a river you can never empty a spoon with. And this doesn't just translate to how we treat our own bets as queens even before they'd step on that stage. Whenever we host a pageant and hold it here, we make sure all contestants and all else involved feel like they're royalty, too—why else would Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres and her successor 1994 Sushmita Sen keep calling the Philippines as their second home? We seem to be earning karma points from it all, though, as recently the Philippines won in three international pageants.
All. Within. Days.
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Last Saturday night, Miss Earth Philippines 2017 Karen Ibasco outsmarted and outshone everyone else to bag the #MissEarth2017 crown, with her answer to the question about the planet's biggest enemy.
“I believe that the real problem in this world is not climate change. The real problem is us because of our ignorance and apathy. What we have to do is to start changing our ways, to start recalibrating our minds and redirecting our steps because together, as a global community, our micro-efforts will have a macro-effect to help save our home, our planet," she said. Check the full video below, if the crowd's cheer doesn't drown her brilliance.
Karen is the fourth Filipina to win the title, succeeding Angelia Ong in 2015, Jamie Herrel in 2014, and Karla Henry in 2008. (The PH is the pageant's top when it comes to crowns won!) We bet: If her introduction as the "Diwata ng Kalikasan" were to be part of the criteria for judging, she would have won right away...
Karen, 26, graduated from the University of Santo Tomas. The licensed physicist currently teaches, well, physics there. She is no pageant newbie, having joined Bb. Pilipinas 2016 and Gold's Gym Body Convention where she won Ms. Shape Philippines first runner-up.
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And then on Sunday morning, Filipinos received another good news with Teresita Ssen "Winwyn" Marquez bagging the country's first Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 crown. It's also our first time in the Bolivia-based competition that promotes Hispanic culture and heritage, with everyone knowing how we were a Spanish colony for more than three centuries. And, boy, did Winwyn carve an impression hard!
Winwyn, an actress and Joey Marquez and Alma Moreno's daughter, stood out of 26 others with her answer to how she can help promote Hispanic Americana culture despite the language barriers. “Language can be learned but the will and determination to contribute to the organization cannot. It has to come from the heart. It has to be natural. I believe that kindness is a universal language that if you treat people with tolerance, patience and love, you will understand each other," she said. "The Hispanic culture is not about language only. It’s about love for God, love for country, love for history and culture and love for family. As a Filipina with a unique heritage, I have instilled that. I am ready to promote the Hispanic culture not just in Asia but in the whole world. It is time to celebrate the Hispanic culture. It is meant to be celebrated."
(Insert a bunch of clap emojis here!) Truly, #ForTheWyn!
Days prior, Winwyn wowed the pageant crowd already with her ethnic warrior-inspired costume. The following ensemble won her third place in the category!
Not to be sidelined are the runners-up who have also made the country proud in their respective competitions. Nelda Ibe, a 24 year-old cadet pilot, finished first runner-up at the Ms. Globe 2017 held in Tirana, Albania last Friday. She finished behind Vietnamese beauty Khanh Ngan.
Speaking of Vietnam, last October 25, Elizabeth Clenci landed second runner-up at the Miss Grand International held in the country. The event was hosted by our very own Xian Lim and Nicole Cordoves. Check her out here wowing in a swimsuit!
With all these rather fortunate events happening (at least to us beauty pageant-crazy lot), we can only get excited for the bigger pageants a-coming. Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong's daughter Mariel de Leon is already in Tokyo looking to defend the country's Miss International crown on Kylie Verzosa. On the same weekend, ABS-CBN Sports + Action broadcaster Laura Lehmann will be walking at the Sanya City Arena stage in China, hoping to bring pride anew to the Philippines after Megan Young. On November 26 in Las Vegas, Rachel Peters is set to clinch her homeland's fourth Miss Universe crown.
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Grab your popcorn and dab on some eye bag-miniminizing cream, beauty pageant addicts, 'cause November for us is just getting started!
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Banner image photos by Dom Cruz (Karen) and taken from Winwyn's and Nelda's Instagram accounts