Will the Philippines continue its winning streak in international beauty pageants this 2014?
It all depends on the reigning Binibining Pilipinas beauties—Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 2014 Mary Jean Lastimosa, Binibining Pilipinas-Supranational 2014 Yvethe Santiago, and Binibining Pilipinas-International 2014 Bianca Guidotti.
They all promise to do their best in the international pageants, but they do ask their countrymen for prayer support.
The three reigning beauty queens were recently interviewed at their launching as endorsers of the Dairy Queen ice cream brand last September 3, Wednesday, at the Gloria Maris Restaurant in Quezon City.
PREPARATIONS. Yvethe, who will represent the Philippines in Miss Supranational in Poland on December 5, told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other members of the press that the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) is taking care of all the training necessary to increase their chances of winning the pageants.
“We’re really thankful for them. Ina-arrange nila lahat. They’re giving us everything,” Yvethe assured.
She said she is aware the Filipinos have high hopes that the reigning Miss Supranational Mutya Johanna Datul will relinquish her crown to another Filipina, to Yvette.
And she is stepping up to the challenge.
“Right now, I’m really preparing and training and I’m just really focused on the pageant and hopefully bring home the crown again,” a hopeful Yvethe related.
Bianca, on the other hand, will compete in the Miss International pageant in Tokyo, Japan, on November 11.
How is she preparing for the big competition?
“Every day of course praying and BPCI has scheduled our trainings… we’re working hard, were working with the best and of course, our reigning queens, they’re also helping us.”
Bianca is hoping to get a back-to-back Miss International crown for the Philippines, since our very own Bea Rose Santiago is the reigning Miss International.
Although she admitted that she feels the pressure, Bianca said she is staying positive.
“The pressure is there, but the pressure, I believe, also releases your best,” she quipped.
Meanwhile, the organizers of the Miss Universe pageant have yet to announce the date and venue for this year’s competition.
Mary Jean confirmed, “Wala rin po kaming idea [sa date and venue]. Once na alam na namin, alam na rin ng lahat ‘yan kasi hindi naman nagsi-secret ang Miss Universe [organizers].
"Once they have decided on the venue, it will be on the website and for sure, malalaman ng lahat ‘yan.”
Mary Jean also revealed feeling the pressure but her intent on making the most of her participation in Miss Universe 2014 overruns her anxiety.
“I was able to join Binibini thrice,” she explained.
“Ang Miss Universe, once in a lifetime ito. Parang I don’t wanna waste time worrying. Instead, I want to enjoy this opportunity, this moment na makakaapak din ako finally sa Miss Universe stage.”
Prior to being crowned Binibining Pilipinas-Universe last March 30, the lass from North Cotabato first joined the pageant in 2011, where she placed 2nd runner-up, and then in 2012, when she landed among the top 12 finalists.
PEP also asked the beauty queens on which segment of the pageant each is focused to gain the winning points.
Each of them gave different answers.
For Bianca, “For me, of course, the question-and-answer for Miss International… the speech portion.
She explained, “Once in a lifetime ka lang mapapakinggan ng buong mundo. Ako, pinoproblema ko kung ano ang message ko. And I’m also praying to God na sana bigyan Niya ako ng inspiration.”
Apart from the daily training, Bianca is also getting tips from former title-holders like Venus Raj, Miss Universe 2010 fourth runner-up, and Shamcey Supsup, Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up.
Yvethe answered that she is focused on the performances. “I’ve been studying Miss Supranational for a while now, and as far as I can see, they’re more on performances.
"There are a lot of production numbers for every appearance. And I’d like to be more graceful and more confident on stage and in doing a lot of things.
"Miss Supranational is really a good show and I want to perform really well. That’s one thing I want to improve on.”
She is also getting important tips from the reigning Miss Supranational, Mutya, to increase her chances of getting a back-to-back win for the country.
“Actually, every time even on random meet-ups, Mutya would always tell me some tips.
“Most of the time paulit-ulit lang, but the good thing about it, it sticks in my mind.
Meawhile, Mary Jean is intent on making a big impact, an unforgettable “presence” to get noticed.
“Last year, they have 86 candidates. You must have that presence, that aura that the judges would notice…
"It’s hard to stand out when everyone’s pretty and everyone’s smart.
“Basically everyone’s at their best in the competition. You just need that presence, that something in you, so that you’ll be chosen.
"So it’s mental and emotional competition, so I’m focusing on it right now.”
While they have different approaches as to how they will perform in their respective competitions, all three agree on one thing: they all want to bring home the pageant crowns.
Mary Jean uttered, “I actually wanna win the crown because 1972 was the last Miss Universe crown for the Philippines.
"And if I’ll be able to win the Miss Universe crown, I know that my supporters will be happy and give inspiration and hope for the whole country.”
Yvethe gave similar answer, “[In] winning the crown, I won’t just make my parents and supporters proud, but also the whole country.
"And I believe winning the crown by December is the best Christmas gift I can give to everyone.”
Bianca said that she wants to win the crown for a back-to-back win and hopes that the current Miss International will hand down the crown to her.
“It’s really what I’m aiming for. It’s for everyone, for family, for my supporters and of course, for the Philippines.”