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Remember when Janina San Miguel won the Binibining Pilipinas-World title?

by Nikko Tuazon
Jun 9, 2020
Janina San Miguel, now Janina Sahota, won the Binibining Pilipinas-World crown at the Binibining Pilipinas pageant held on March 8, 2008.
PHOTO/S: PEP Files

Janina San Miguel is currently making headlines for exposing the sexual advances she experienced during her reign as Binibining Pilipinas-World.

In her interview with Singapore-based media outlet CNA Insider and its documentary program Under Cover Asia: Cost of the Crown, Janina revealed that in 2008, she received an offer amounting to PHP3 million for a one-night stand.

She was only 17 years old when she joined the country's prestigious pageant, which was held on March 8, 2008, at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Janina SAn Miguel

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Binibining Pilipinas 2008 winners (L-R) 2nd Runner-up Elizabeth Jacqueline Nacuspag, Binibining Pilipinas-International Patricia Fernandez, Binibining Pilipinas-World Janina San Miguel, Binibining Pilipinas-Universe Jennifer Barrientos. and 1st Runner-up Danielle Castano.

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At the time, she was the youngest contestant among the twenty-four women vying for one of the three titles. The Binibining Pilipinas-Universe crown was won by Jennifer Barrientos while Patricia Fernandez took home the Binibining Pilipinas-International title.

The franchise for the Miss Universe and Miss World titles back then were both owned by the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI), the organizer of the Binibining Pilipinas pageant.

JANINA'S WINNING MOMENT

A strong contender from the very beginning, Janina bagged two major awards: Best in Long Gown and Best in Swimsuit.

Her victory became controversial after she stammered during question and answer portion.

Paolo Bediones, who served as the host of the pageant's coronation night, greeted Janina during the Q&A round of the pageant, and asked her, "So you won two of the major special awards…do you feel any pressure right now?"

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Confidently, she replied, "No, I don’t feel any pressure right now!"

Janina San Miguel

Then she was asked to pick the name of the judge who would ask her the question.

It was Vivienne Tan, the daughter of billionaire Lucio Tan. Her question was:

"What role did your family play for you as candidate [of] Binibining Pilipinas?"

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Janina's answer was:

"Well, my family’s role for me is so important because there was the wa... they’re, they was the one who’s very (laughs).

"Oh I’m so sorry. Um, my family, my family. Oh my god. I’m…

"Ok, I’m so sorry. I, I told you that I’m so confident… Eto, um, wait… (laughs)."

As she tried to find the right words, the crowd began reacting.

This was how she gracefully ended her answer,: "Um, sorry guys because this was really my first pageant ever because I’m only 17 years old and (laughs)

"I, I did not expect that I came from, I came from one of the top 10.

"Hmmm, so… but I said that my family is the most important persons in my life. Thank you."

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JANINA'S RESIGNATION

Her answer made its rounds online, and was replayed on television many times.

In her interview with TV Patrol, Janina tried to recall what happened, "Ang narinig ko lang yung 'family' at saka yung 'pageant' so yung nag-focus yung mind ko sa 'family...' Saka ako nag-'Oh my god!'"

But despite all the criticisms thrown at her, Janina seemed unperturbed, and remained motivated.

"Ginusto ko ito so kakayanin ko ito. Kakayanin kong i-representa yung bansa natin sa darating na Miss World."

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Six months later and three months before the scheduled Miss World pageant in South Africa, Janina had a change of heart and announced her resignation as Binibining Pilipinas-World.

BPCI said it was due to "personal reasons," specifically the death of her grandfather.

Her title was transferred to the first runner-up winner Danielle Castaño.

In Janina's interview with CNA Insider, she recalled the sad moment that made her decide to quit.

"Wala nga akong phone, wala ding computer. There’s a point in time na nandun na yung brother ko 'tsaka yung daddy ko sa labas.

"Pero sabi nung guard, 'Since wala kayong appointment, umuwi na lang kayo.'

"Accidentally na narinig ko yung lolo ko nga nasa hospital na.

"And balak pa nila, ayaw nilang sabihin sa akin na yung lolo ko, mamamatay na, because I’m in the middle of training, so ayaw nilang parang ma-distract ako."

Janina San Miguel

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AFTER THE PAGEANT

Showbiz was not her cup of tea.

In an interview with PEP.ph on November 21, 2008, she said, "Huwag na po sila umasa na mag-aartista ako kasi last option ko na po iyon. Kahit ang daming nag-o-fffer, ayoko po, ayoko talaga.

"Ngayon, mag-i-international model na lang po ako ‘tsaka mga commercials, okay po ako dun. Pero sa showbiz ayoko po talaga, kasi alam ko na po iyong kalakaran. Alam niyo naman po ang showbiz, maraming plastik."

But she did give acting a try.

In January 2009, she signed a five-year management contract with talent manager Manny Valera.

Janina explained her decision in an interview with PEP.ph, and said, "Sorry po, pero nagbago na po ang pananaw ko kasi mahirap ang buhay ngayon. Katunayan nga po, nagtatrabaho pa rin po ako ngayon, suma-sideline."

According to IMDB.com, Janina played a bit role in TV5's teen drama series Lipgloss which aired from November 2008 until August 2009.

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In September 2009, she joined the second season of GMA-7's Celebrity Duets.

Janina San Miguel

In March 2014, Janina married Indian national Vishal Sahota.

Her Binibining Pilipinas batchmates, Jennifer and Patricia, were her bridesmaids.

Janina San Miguel

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Janina, now 29 years old, is reportedly working as a call-center agent at a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company.

She and Vishal have one child.

Janina San Miguel

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Janina San Miguel, now Janina Sahota, won the Binibining Pilipinas-World crown at the Binibining Pilipinas pageant held on March 8, 2008.
PHOTO/S: PEP Files
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