Twenty-year-old Heilymar Rosario Velazquez of Puerto Rico was declared Miss Intercontinental 2016 in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Sunday. She bested 62 other candidates, including the Philippines’ Jennifer Ruth Alviar Hammond, who managed to get into Top 15.
Making it to Top 5 were Sri Lanka’s Tracy Ann De Zilva as First Runner-Up (Continental Queen Asia & Oceania), Miss Ghana Vera Saphoa (Continental Queen Africa) 2nd Runner-Up, Miss Italy Floriana Russo (Continental Queen Europe) 3rd Runner-Up and Miss Venezuela Amal Karina Nemer (Miss South America) 4th Runner-Up.
Completing the Top 15 were candidates from Costa Rica, Colombia, Seychelles, Thailand, China, Czech Republic, Scotland, Poland and Ukraine. Best Body was Miss Costa Rica and Best National Costume was Miss Thailand.
Since 2013, the Philippines’ candidates had successfully secured a place in the roster of Miss Intercontinental winners: Koreen Medina was 3rd Runner-Up in 2013 [albeit as a Mutya ng Pilipinas winner as it was only in 2014 that Miss Intercontinental joined Binibining Pilipinas]; Kris Tiffany Janson was 2nd Runner-Up in 2014; and Christi Lyn McGarry won First Runner-Up in 2015.
As beauty powerhouse, the Philippine bet this year was predicted to win the title or at least approximate the country’s placement the last two years. As expected, Hammond’s loss enraged beauty pageant aficionados here and around the world who watched the pageant via live streaming, especially since she was not even for a place in the Top 5.
“It’s a cooking show, not a beauty pageant. Jennifer’s photo should be taken down from the web site of Miss Intercontinental,” one enraged Filipino fan said online.
“They are using the Philippines to gain viewers and likes to their site,” a Latino beauty pageant aficionado commented.
Binibining Pilipinas nevertheless issued the following congratulatory statement on Hammond’s accomplishment: “BPCI [Bininibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc.] is proud of your achievement and expresses its gratitude to everyone who supported Jennifer in her journey.