Binibining Pilipinas 2013: Looking Back (Part 1)

IMAGE Nimfa Chua


Ariella Arida, Bea Rose Santiago, Imelda Schweighart, and Pia Wurtzbach reveal that one of their memorable experiences in joining Binibining Pilipinas 2013 is their training for the Question & Answer portion.


Got post-Binibining Pilipinas blues? Here are some tidbits that PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) gathered about the ladies who made it to the 2013 pageant's Top 15.

In this interview held at the Shangri-La EDSA Hotel days before the coronation night, the candidates revealed some details about their backgrounds and pre-pageant jitters.

RIGOROUS TRAINING AND Q&A. Ariella "Ara" Arida, the morena beauty from Laguna who eventually won the Binibining Pilipinas-Universe crown, says about the forthcoming coronation night: "We've been training for many months and finally, the time is here. There is more excitement than jitters for me."

Ara noted that the most unforgettable experience for her, besides winning, is undergoing a communications training with Dale Carnegie Philippines.

She says, "[It helped us] to speak well, because we were a different persona while doing the training. We have this one activity where we have to be active and get out of our comfort zone. That's one of the fun things that we did."

Included in their training is a mock pageant Q&A squence.


Bea Rose Santiago, the Toronto-raised MasbateƱa, who eventually won the Binibining Pilipinas-International crown, says that the mock session became a sort of bonding session.

"We would have an open discussion on one topic where we share what we think about it, and from that we move on and pick another. 'Tapos, it helps kasi someone may say something that makes you go, 'You're right,' on any topic."

Bea, who eventually got a complete-the-sentence question from pageant judge and head of Miss International, Hirofumi Hashimoto, also said, "We can't be kampante with our Q&A kasi it's the hardest, since we're all competitive.

"And sometimes it happens when you're on stage na, you're thinking what you want to say but you can't say it properly, so I'm scared of not being happy or content with my answer.

"You don't want regrets na, 'I should have done this.' Your answer is the one that will stick to people's heads, and it doesn't matter if you're pretty kasi everybody is pretty."

The half-German and half-Filipina Imelda Schweighart, one of the 15 finalists, agrees: "It's only ten percent [of the final score], but it has the biggest impact [on the public]. It's a do or die thing!"

"Knowledge is power, just read and read," Ara answered, when asked how they each prepared for this portion of the pageant.



FRIENDSHIP AND BONDING MOMENTS. The contestants all agreed that the series of activities during the past two months have been tiring, but they don't seem to mind since they all have been getting along quite well.

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One contestant stood out from the 50, as she made everyone feel good all the time.

Bea says, "Kahit lahat naman friendly, it's hard to pick kasi we're all good friends. Everyone is very warm, pero if I were to pick one [Miss Friendship winner], si Lourenz," referring to candidate number 21 Lourenz Grace Remetillo, who was awarded Miss Friendship on pageant night.

"She's Bisaya and she's so funny in her own world. When you want someone to make you laugh, pick you up when you're down, it's her," Bea continued.

The girls also chime in that during down times, they would de-stress by having random videoke sessions and belting their hearts out in a room filled with music and laughter.

Whether all the girls were in tune or not is something that will remain with the golden batch of Binibining Pilipinas girls.


PLANS. At the time, we asked the candidates what their plans were should they end up not winning any of the coveted titles.

Interestingly, big winner Ara said, "If I didn't make it, I will continue what I'm really doing right now, which is work.

"I'm a technical sales executive and I just filed for leave for just two months for this pageant, so if I didn't make it I will continue that."

Now, The reigning Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 2013 will have to extend her leave or resign altogether, as she starts working on her duties and other advocacies.

Bea, the Communications student majoring in Public Relations, says, "I'm thinking of working towards that field. When I met Korina Sanchez, I was so thrilled. That was just amazing. Oh wow! She has been my idol, so I want to be like her and continue that path."

While Bea might have to put that on hold as she fulfills her Miss Philippines International duties, she probably won't have a hard time becoming the next big female news anchor on TV as she's been used to public speaking, having been named a Gawad Kalinga ambassador.

Imelda, who first became known as Imee Hart on TV5's teen-oriented show Bagets, was scheduled the day after the pageant to take up the entrance exam at the College of Saint Benilde, where she plans to study Hotel & Restaurant Management.

She says, "I prefer to be called Imelda now, because when they call me Imelda I'm myself, and when they call me Imee, I'm my TV personality."


THE FAVORED RUNNER-UP. Meanwhile, Pia Wurtzbach, the first Runner-up, was a crowd favorite going into the coronation night.

Her exposure as a Star Magic talent, where she goes by screen name Pia Romero, certainly helped a lot.

She says, "I don't notice it [that I'm a favorite]. It's only when I go down and go backstage and people tell me, 'Uy, ang daming nag-cheer sa 'yo,' that's when I try to recall na, 'Madami nga ba?'"

Her mindset, she says, is she tries "not to rush things. Kasi you only get to do this once.

"It's tiring, but it's an experience that I'll never be able to do again and I don't expect it to be just like this. It's really nice and I'm enjoying myself, really. The whole experience has exceeded my expectations talaga. I think I've grown a whole lot from the past months that I've been training for this pageant," she gushes.

Having modeled and acted on screen since age 11, how does she think her previous showbiz exposure helped her in the pageant?

"It is an advantage, because of the workshops we did with [ABS-CBN]. They are very rigorous. But that's different kasi it's acting, you play a role."

She makes a distinction between the two worlds, "Here you play yourself, you can't really act and people know, they can tell if you're not being sincere.

"It's much more of a challenge... it is an advantage because you're used to being in front of the camera and you know what to say and know what it's like to be on stage, pero that's it. For the other aspects of the pageant, like the Q&A, nothing can prepare you for that unless you train for it talaga.

"So, it's a whole different world. There's a little bit of an advantage that I'm able to use," the former K2BU, ASAP, Your Song, and Aryana star says.

Asked if there was one thing about her pageant experience that she wants to change, she says, "I would want my parents to be here now, my whole family, actually.

"Because, unfortunately, they can't come. They are in England. I live here alone, e, so I'm going through this journey by myself."

She reveals, "Dream kasi namin ng mom ko na sumali ako sa pageant, tapos gusto niya talaga makita akong manalo, pero I'm just a little sad na I'm not able to share this with them."

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TO BE CONTINUED...


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