Binibining Pilipinas 2018 sidelights

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Pia Wurtzbach’s antics, ‘privatization’ of transgender comfort rooms and other anecdotes

The fans were more deafening this year as they cheered their favorite candidates on Sunday night’s Binibining Pilipinas 2018. Armed with tarpaulins, letter and number balloons and over-the-top energy, the beauty crusaders turned Smart Araneta Coliseum into a classier kind of cockpit arena to root for winners among the line-up of 40 hopefuls.

Clearly not stale from her quest to win the Miss World crown in 2016, Catriona Gray has been a top choice for the Miss Universe-Philippines crown since screening began on January 15. And as the pageant drew closer, every inch of the Fil-Australian beauty from Albay radiated the confidence of a winner.

Pageant hosts Richard Gutierrez and Pia Wurtzbach BPCI PHOTO

As Gray and the rest of the new Binibining Pilipinas queens savor their well-earned victories, allow The Manila Times to let you in today on interesting highlights, sidelights and other anecdotes from our seat in The Big Dome.


Mariel de Leon and the ‘scripted’ remark
Fans of Gray were only too happy to bring up Binibining Pilipinas International 2017 Mariel de Leon’s earlier comment that their idol’s answers were “a bit scripted,” and unlike most, she was rooting for underdog Sandra Lemonon to win the crown.

They also managed to recall how the daughter of actors Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong had been the only one in her batch who failed to place in representing the country in her international competition.

But while Gray’s fans swore they would boo the outspoken beauty queen on her farewell walk, de Leon—who deactivated her Twitter account on the day of the pageant—showed her enough res­pect, with her applause the weakest among the six outgoing queens.

Q&A and Pia’s sagacity
Viewers at home belatedly complained of the way Richard Gutierrez’s hosted the show by shouting rather than speaking.

“Why do you have to shout when hosting?” a showbiz reporter posted on Facebook. He got a reply from a network publicist, imitating the actor’s feisty Visayan mother Annabelle Rama’s line, “May problema ka ba sa anak ko, dong?”

In contrast, as the live audience waited over an hour for the delayed telecast to catch up for the coronation, Wurtzbach was thought to be very engaging with her antics, enjoining the crowd to watch her movie with Gerald Anderson, who was one of the judges.

Just before the Q&A, the former Miss Universe even told her co-host that it’s her favorite part of the pageant “kasi madaldal ako” to everyone’s delight.

Sandra Lemonon was honest enough in the Q&A to say she was unfamiliar with the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program BPCI PHOTO

Her biggest hit that night was singing both the male and female parts of “Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang” to pass the time before the coronation, bringing the house down and easing tension among the rabid fans.

Meanwhile, Wurtzbach was also ready to empathize with the candidates when needed, knowing just how difficult it is to compete in beauty pageants first hand. When Sandra Lemonon replied to judge Edgar Saavedra’s “What are your insights on the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program?” tanked, Wurtzbach commented, “It’s better than lying.” Lemonon’s now famous answer was, “Actually, you know what, I studied so much for this Q&A, but sadly that’s something that I don’t know really much about. But at least I’m here trying to answer a good question. Thank you.”

More Q&A reax
A netizen posted the next day that Eva Psychee Patalinjug’s – crowned Binibining Pilipinas Grand International – perfectly worded answer to the question what a role of a beauty queen is seemed similar to a Nadine Lustre interview on Mega Magazine.

“A role of a beauty queen is to be a voice. I am here to make a message to all of you. In these times of uncertainty and fear that have seemingly taken over in our country, we have remained steadfast and unfazed amid all the challenges. As a united nation, what we should do is set aside our political differences, forget our economic and social preferences, and let love and loyalty for our country rise above all so we can march toward the future in the hopes of making a peaceful country. Thank you.”

Actually, the answer brings to mind the Paolo Ballesteros’ “Die Beautiful” blockbuster where he showed how candidates of gay beauty pageants had a book full of answers to possible questions.

Not that she said it but to be sure, new Bb. Pilipinas-International Ma. Ahtisa Manalo may have had many ready answers in her mind that night what with her mom telling The Manila Times her daughter already holds all beauty titles available in the Province of Quezon.

Netizens against fake news particularly hailed Michele Gumabao’s take on the issue: “I know that fake news is very rampant nowadays. But in order to fight this, we must first know what we are reporting, know what we are reading, and at the same time be accountable for what we say, especially online. And I hope that media always filters the news, their resources, so that they always deliver truth and authentic news.”

The former Lady Spikers standout of the De La Salle University was crowned Binibining Pilipinas-Globe.

The Q&A portion also crushed any dreams of Anjame Magbitang in winning when she hesitated, stammered and wasted her 30 seconds to reply to the question, “When is the right time to listen and when is the right time to speak?”

Of course, Karen Gallman, crowned Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental, has trended since she agreed a third restroom should be given to transgenders: “I definitely agree that there should be a third restroom for transgenders because as women, we would also want our privacy, and also with men. We have a separate room for the transgenders. It just serves as an equality and privatization.”

Aware that her answer elicited mixed reaction, Gallman on Tuesday posted on Instagram: “If I had my moment again with the composure I needed in those 30 seconds, the words that didn’t resonate for me in that moment were to be, ‘Yes, I believe there should be a third restroom for transgenders. However, only as an alternative for those who are yet to fully embrace such a transitional change.”

She added, “Everyone is equal no matter what shape, sex, religion, or race. But in today’s world, it’s upsetting that we still have discrimination.”

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