Last August 28, Mutya ng Pilipinas crowned three new beauty queens who will represent the country in the Miss Asia-Pacific, Miss Intercontinental, and Miss Tourism-International pageants. The coronation night was held at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila in Pasay City.
Twenty-three-year-old Barbie Salvador of Pangasinan was crowned this year's Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism-International. Although she breezed through the semi-finals' question-and-answer, the 5'6", 34 ½-25-35 beauty pageant veteran (she was in the Binibining Pilipinas 2009 Top 10 picks) showed a bit of nervousness during the portion.
The final question that each of the Top Five finalists had to answer was: "What do you think is the main obstacle that our country faces when it comes to tourism, and as a beauty ambassador for tourism, how do you think you can help to solve this problem?"
The question was obviously connected to the Quirino Grandstand hostage incident that happened last Monday, August 23.
Maintaining her poise, Barbie gave a sensible answer and won applause from the audience.
"Before I answer that, I would like to extend my condolences to the victims of the hostage crisis that we had earlier this week. To answer to that question, I think that the most...the major problem that we have in the Philippines is the tainted image of the Philippine security in terms of tourism. And as a tourism ambassador, I would like to send out my message to all the world that the Philippines is still your home here in Asia. And we love you. Thank you."
Barbie will participate in this year's Miss Tourism International to be held in Malaysia on New Year's Eve. She also won the Mutya ng Pilipinas L'Oreal and one of the three Mutya ng Pilipinas Resorts World awards.
Winning the Mutya ng Pilipinas Intercontinental crown was Carla Lizardo. The 20-year-old, 5'8", 33-26 ½-35 ½ Bicolana said she plans to erase the bad publicity the Philippines got after the hostage incident.
"I believe that the biggest problem that Philippine tourism faces today is bad publicity," Carla said onstage with pageant hosts Sarah Meier and RJ Ledesma. "I think that with all the bad events that happened, are the things that were highly-publicized internationally. As a beauty ambassador of the Philippines, I believe that it would be my responsibility to uphold the image that we'd want to project to people in other countries. So, by being a positive role model, I believe that I can change [that] image."
Carla beat the 23 other candidates in the Long Gown competition in her Frederick Peralta gown.
But getting the most awards and prizes in the competition was Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia-Pacific winner Ashley McGarry representing the communities of East Coast, U.S.A.
At 5'11" and with her 34-25-36 figure, the 20-year-old Fil-Am was earlier judged the Best in Swimsuit in one of the pre-pageant activities. This automatically entitles her to represent the Philippines in the Miss Bikini International 2011 pageant.
She was also given the awards Mutya ng Pilipinas Discovery Suites, Ms. Fit Body of Fitflops, Mutya ng Slimmers World International, and one of the winners of the Mutya ng Pilipinas Resorts World Manila titles.
In her answer for the final pageant question, Ashley plans to make use of her title to advocate for the improvement on the police system in the Philippines.
"The biggest obstacle I believe the Philippines has right now is the concern of one's personal safety, with the incident that just recently happened in Manila. And with my title, I plan to advocate an improvement on the police system. But not only that, but to remind everyone around the world that this could happen anywhere, within every race, within every country, and the Philippines still will always be a beautiful place to visit," Ashley said.
There is no word on when and where the next Miss Asia-Pacific International pageant will be held. The last Miss Asia-Pacific International pageant was held in Guangzhou, China, in 2005. The next pageant that was supposed to follow it in 2008 was postponed due to lack of sponsors and participants.
Suzette Hernandez of Batangas was the 1st runner-up while Sharon Grace Angel of Lapu-Lapu City was 2nd runner-up, Ms. Photogenic, and Mutya ng Pilipinas Top Model of the World. Angel will compete in next year's Top Model of the World. The date and place have still to be announced.
PRIZES. Aside from the titles and the crown, each of the major title winners won P100,000 cash, Star Cruise Package for two worth P50,000, P100,000 worth of services from Marie France, P15,000 worth of services from Facial Care, teeth whitening package and endorsement contract from Dental Town, a QV27 Duo cellphone with Swarovski Crystals, and 6-page editorial feature in Mega magazine.
Each of the runners-up won P25,000 cash and Star Cruise Package for two worth P50,000.
OTHER WINNERS. Other awards given out that night were Mutya ng Pilipinas Maybeline New York given to Bogo City's Ma. Tanchelie Lobete, Miss Congeniality awarded to Pampanga's Ayie Tanqueco, People's Choice Award courtesy of opmb.com won by Vigan's Anna Gabriella "Gabby" Estimada, and Best In Cultural Costume given to Manila's Carolyn Ty. Carolyn was also one of the winners of the Mutya ng Pilipinas Resorts World Manila title.
Hosting with RJ and Sarah that night was Phoemela Baranda, with entertainment from Philippine All-Stars, The Maximus Acrobats, and the Yulia from Russia.
The Mutya ng Pilipinas Coronation night will have a delayed telecast on ABS-CBN on September 5.