"This batch is promising," says Cory Quirino about the 25 ladies vying for the Miss World Philippines title.
At the presentation of candidates held on August 18 at the Midas Hotel, she beams about possibly winning the Miss World crown at last.
She continues, "Nakita niyo naman, di ba. They're very fresh and natural. They're smart and sweet."
Throughout the pageant's 60-year existence, our country never won.
In 1973, Evangeline Pascual was offered the title after Marjorie Wallace, the first American winner, got dethroned for dating several men during her 104-day reign.
In 1993, Ruffa Gutierrez emerged as the Second Princess.
This time, the lady behind Miss World Philippines is determined to make the Filipina beauty finally shine.
"We will train them. And it's going to be rigorous. Yung iba kasi, repeaters, pero marami ring 'virgins'—meaning, it's their first time to join. Makikita mo, may mga nanginginig pa.
"But I'm very positive they will all do a good job during the actual pageant. I will personally hold sessions about empowerment and wellness. Kahit nga yung question and answer, tutok talaga," says the national director of the pageant.
When asked about our chance of bagging the title, she replies with a big smile, "Mataas, siyempre! We have a good chance this time kasi, sa screening pa lang, we really made sure na makakuha ng beauty and brains. They all excel in their chosen fields. Very competitive sila!"
Is there going to be "pulitika" in the selection of the winner?
Cory quickly replies, "No!"
In most pageants—local or international—reported cases of partiality have been one of the most common problems.
But the beauty and wellness guru assures the public, "It's not gonna happen. Isang factor diyan yung pagpili ng judges, and we chose credible people.
"Isa pa, yung mga girls, ang babait. Parang walang competition."