As the Binibining Pilipinas 2015 rolls closer to the grand coronation night this Sunday, March 15, beauty-pageant aficionados are abuzz with their fearless forecasts.
The early favorites, so far, based on the choices of Best in National Costume by a panel of judges composed of mostly beauty queens, are: #10 Pia Wurtzbach, #25 Rogelie Catacutan, #27 Ina Dominica Guerrero, #29 Nancy Leonard, and #34 Teresita Ssen “Winwyn” Marquez.
The previous winners and runners-up of other pageants are strong contenders as well: #11 Janicel Lubina, who finished 1st runner-up in the 2013 Miss World Philippines; #17 Brenna Cassandra Gamboa, who won 4th runner-up in Miss World Philippines 2012; #19 Christi Lynn McGarry, who was Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia Pacific in 2010, and #8 Kimverlyn Suiza, who won Miss Philippines Air in Miss Philippines Earth 2013.
Also in the running are the three candidates who consistently top the online polls: #19 Christi Lynn McGarry, #22 Anja-Vanessa Peter, and #21 Alaiza Flor Malinao.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) has taken a miscroscopic look at the 34 candidates for its shortlist of likely winners for the titles Miss Philippines-Universe, Miss Philippines-International, Miss Philippines-Supranational, Miss Philippines-Intercontinental, and Miss Philippines-Tourism.
Our top picks:
Pia Wurtzbach, Candidate #10. This is Pia’s third time to join the pageant and her last chance to win a title that will take her to an international beauty pageant.
Having joined two previous Binibining Pilipinas editions gives her advantage over the less-experienced candidates.
She was a runner-up in 2013 and one of the Top 15 in 2014.
Hannah Ruth Sison, Candidate #28. Like Pia, it's also the third time for this aspiring beauty queen from Albay to join the Binibinang Pilipinas beauty pageant.
She placed 2nd runner-up last year, after missing a Top 15 slot in 2013.
Teresita Ssen Marquez, Candidate #34. She is more popularly known in showbiz as Winwyn Marquez.
Although a first-timer, she projected well in pre-pageant presentations, which gained for her more supporters along the way.
On her own, Winwyn is showing she has what it takes to be a beauty queen—despite having celebrity parents, the actress-politician Alma Moreno and former Parañaque Mayor Joey Marquez, and being the niece of former Miss International Melanie Marquez.
Ann Lorraine Colis, Candidate #24. She's 5'8" tall, poised, and pretty.
Pageant watchers have observed that this accounting student in University of Santo Tomas can easily handle the nerve-wracking question-and-answer portion.
Christi Lynn McGarry, Candidate #19. This 19-year-old sporty lady has the height, the body, and the dusky skin tone that seemed to catch the eye of the judges in recent international beauty pageants.
Having lived and studied in the United States, Christi is fluent in English and is articulate.
Janicel Lubina, Candidate #11. Her life story is very interesting, having worked as a farmer and as a maid.
But this Palawan native had already proven her mettle as a beauty queen contender when she won 1st runner-up in Miss World 2013.
Alaiza Malinao, Candidate #21. This lass from Sulu started modeling at the young age of 16, but only took it seriously when she turned 18.
She carries herself well onstage, and is articulate, as seen on her short video interview posted on social media.
Patricia Lae Ejercitado, Candidate #30. An adventurer, who loves to travel, Patricia Lae is also a third-timer, thus, she walks and moves like a pro.
Photos: Mark Atienza