They say there's so much to love about the
Philippines—scenic places, yummy food, and unique culture. For some tourists who frequently vacation in
the country, it's the warm Pinoys that always make them feel comfortable as
they wandering around this Southeast Asian country.
Some foreigners even choose to live here permanently, no
matter how well off they are in their own country. They find love and start a new family.
In showbiz, Pinoys are also very open to watching foreign
talents in television and movies. This is another reason for people who come
from abroad to stay in the country and make a living.
Just look at this list of PEP (Philippine Entertainment
Portal) of beauty queens who made the Philippines their second home, if only
for a while.
Armi Kuusela. This Finnish beauty queen, who was 17 years old
then, was the first-ever winner of the prestigious Miss Universe pageant in
She was among the 29 contestants who joined the beauty
contest held in Long Beach, California. After Miss Universe, Armi Kuusela became
an actress playing herself in the Finnish movie World's Most
As part of her winning the pageant, Universal Studios
offered her a movie with the popular American comic duo Abbott and Costello (William
Abbott and Lou Costello). But Armi Kuusela
refused the offer and went on a world tour instead.
During her trip, she met Filipino businessman Virgilio Hilario. Armi had to give up her crown in less than a
year to marry the rich businessman in Tokyo, Japan.
The couple lived for several years in Makati's affluent
Forbes Park, where they raised their five children. Unfortunately in 1975, Virgilio Hilario died of a heart attack.
Three years after the death of her Filipino husband, Armi decided to marry American
diplomat Albert Williams. They moved to San Diego, California.
Until now, Armi still is the former beauty queen who helps
cause-oriented groups. She actively
participates in charities and is involved in cancer research at the Burnham
Stella Marquez-Araneta. The next beauty queen who chose to reside in the country was 1959
Miss Columbia Stella Marquez. As a
representative of her country, Stella competed in the 1960 Miss Universe held
in Miami Beach, Florida, where she placed as a semifinalist.
Though she was not able to get the Miss Universe title,
Stella was able to get her luck when she vied for the Miss International title
on the same year in Long Beach, California.
This made her the first Miss International and first Latina Miss
Not long after carrying the Miss International title, the
Columbian beauty queen married Jorge Araneta, the current CEO of the Araneta
In 1964, Stella put up the Binibining Pilipinas Charities
Incorporated (BPCI), which annually organizes the most prestigious beauty
pageant in the Philippines, Binibining Pilipinas, after she acquired the local
franchise for the Miss Universe Pageant.
The top three winners of this competition will be the official
representatives for Miss Universe, Miss World, and Miss International.
Aside from selecting representatives to worldwide beauty
pageants, BPCI also helps a number of orphanages in Metro Manila and gives
skills training and educational workshops to less fortunate kids.
The 1993 Miss Universe first saw the Philippines in 1994 when she came
here to crown the new Miss Universe.
Shortly after this stint, Dayanara immediately got proposals
for product endorsements. She stayed on
even longer when she started to get offers for TV appearances and movie
One of these offers was to be a mainstay in the Sunday
variety show ASAP. Here,
Filipinos saw how graceful she danced on stage, and so she was given the title
"Dancing Queen." Also, according to
Wikipedia, she won the Best New Female TV Personality award in the 1995 PMPC
Star Awards for TV.
In movies, she was able to work with Gary Valenciano for Hataw
Na! in 1995; Cesar Montano for Type
Kita, Walang Kokontra in 1999; and Aga Muhlach for Basta't Kasama Kita
Although not clearly stated when it started, Dayanara had a
relationship with the former Bagets star Aga Muhlach, whom she first met
on the set of their movie together.
Their relationship lasted for four years.
All these projects and her constant interaction with local
celebrities somehow helped Dayanara in learning to speak Tagalog easily.
In 1998, the year she reportedly broke up with her local
celebrity boyfriend, Dayanara went back to Puerto Rico and released her first
and only music album called Antifaz.
She also did supporting roles in a Puerto Rican TV series called La
Cenicienta (1999) and in the American soap operas The Young and the
Restless (2004) and Watch Over Me (2006).
In 2000 Dayanara married international singer Marc Anthony, with
whom she had two sons, Christian Anthony and Ryan Anthony. Their marriage was short-lived and they
separated in 2003.
In the last quarter of 2006, Dayanara made a short visit in
the Philippines to endorse the controversial Beverly Hills 6750 cosmetic
surgery clinic. (Click here to read
related article )
Michelle Van Eimeren. The Australian beauty queen Michelle Van Eimeren
fell for the popular singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid. She chose to stay here
after the 1994 Miss Universe pageant, which was hosted by the Philippines.
that same year, Michelle, who acted as a mermaid, starred with Ogie in the movie
Manolo and Michelle Hapi Together.
Then, in less than a year, they appeared together in another movie
titled Isko: Adventures in Animasia.
Michelle and Ogie's romance grew stronger and they decided
to get married in 1998. Their union
produced two lovely daughters, Leila and Sarah.
The marriage ended, however, after Michelle moved back to
Australia in 2003, together with the children.
This started the speculations about the couple's separation. (Click here
to read related article )
The couple tried to keep mum about the rumored annulment for
years until Ogie admitted publicly his romantic relationship with Asia's
Songbird and SOP co-host Regine Velasquez. (Click here to read related
But all's well that ends well. Michelle, Leila, and Sarah
recently had a reunion with Ogie and Regine on the occasion of Ogie's 20th
The latest beauty queen who decided to live in the country is the
2004 Miss Earth winner Priscilla Meirelles.
The 25-year-old Brazilian lady is also the 2003 Miss Globe
Priscilla Meirelles stayed in the country for good after
having a successful career in modeling.
Since 2007, she has graced the cover of several publications and has
appeared in some television shows.
Last September 28, at the unveiling of the Star Magic 2009
Catalogue, Priscilla was introduced as one of the celebrities included in "The
Next Wave" of stars of the said talent arm, along with another Brazilian model
Mariana del Rio.
If these are not enough reasons for Priscilla to stay in the
Philippines, there's still her boyfriend, actor John Estrada, who is very proud
of her as a newbie in show business.
(Click here to read related article )
Viveca Babajee. The
last but definitely not the least is Mauritius's representative in the 1994
Miss Universe, Viveca Babajee.
Like her "batchmate" Michelle Van Eimeren, Viveca was about
to start a career in showbiz but she got involved in the unforgettable 1994
Manila Film Fest Scam.
Unfortunately, she did not become famous by appearing in TV
shows and movies. Pinoys remember her
for the famous line, "Take it, take it." This is what she whispered to Ruffa
Gutierrez's brother and one of the co-presenters, Rocky, to take the envelope
that contained the name of the real winner for best actress.
These are just six of the world-class beauties who made Manila
their second home. Unknown to younger
generation, some other beauty queens tried to enter the crazy world of local
This includes beauties from the 1974 Miss Universe Pageant,
which was held in Manila: Miss Spain Amparo Muñoz, who appeared in the movie Hayop
sa Ganda (1983) with our very own Miss Universe beauty Gloria Diaz; Miss
United Kingdom Helen Morgan, who appeared in the movie Isang Gabi sa Buhay
ng Isang Babae; Miss Finland Johanna Raunio, who appeared in the movie Lorelei
(1974) with comedian Chiquito and veteran actress Anita Linda.
The list does not stop here. As long as we maintain our famous hospitality and showbiz remains
open to aspiring actresses/models, the list of world-class beauties who settle
in the country will go on.