I always believed that beauty can only be created by a beautiful mind. It’s hard to find beauty in just photos and mere superficiality to casting ballots to reflect the true leaders in the present and in the now. The purpose after all of leader boards are to serve as guide to reflect where the contestants at this point.
That being said, I view that the real leaders of this year’s Binibining Pilipinas are those who have measured up to the standards set by its queens. If the golden era of pageantry tells us anything, it is that we should appoint a beauty that is not all beauty but is also in possession of a beautiful mind. The would-be wearer should nothing be short of brilliant especially after the victorious conquests of Misses Universe Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray only three years apart.
If the last four years of Philippine pageantry is to be taken as history lessons, we would come to understand that while Maxine Medina’s journey proved that beauty alone is insufficient, Rachel Peters’ campaign proved the wit alone is likewise inadequate, Wurtzbach’s and Gray’s conquests are founded on both with and beauty. Also, passionate preparation.
The real leaders thus far are Cebu’s Samantha Lo, Bataan’s Patch Magtanong and Mabate’s Hannah Arnold. They have been a consistent force in both beauty and wit. The measure by which I judge a Miss Universe Philippines is one who can take the mantle and the voice that comes with the crown and title.
I say this with utmost respect and dissent of the Q-List which is unfortunately ill-timed and does not reflect the current business of things. A democratic process, however, must be respected. It is after all the difference in opinions that propel any system forward.
Binibini Cebu – Samantha Ashley Lo
There is no denying the eloquence of Samantha Lo. When she started articulating her thoughts about “social media”, she managed to attract my attention. In small part, it is her clear tone and modulated voice. In large part, it is the presentation of her content that won me over.
“Social media” is by far an overly-abused, trite topic in pageantry. Lo’s answer is a fresh take on how social media has become divisive instead of unifying.
At the Jag Fashion show, Lo displayed so much spunk and personality that it’s hard to overlook her beauty.
Binibini Bataan – Patricia Magtanong
Magtanong began her journey bearing heavy baggage weighing down on her. For several months, her mind has been distracted by her anxious anticipation of the results of the Bar.
This burdened her so much that her ascend was very gradual yet steady. Her less than stellar performance at the Press Presentation is proof of how her mind was barely in the competition then.
All changed when she celebrated arguably the biggest milestone of her life so far. (Emphasis on “so far”) As an observer, I felt the heavy weight lifted off of her shoulders. Her face reflected that of someone who is hungry for the crown.
Passing the bar may not be the only good news, Patch will be getting this year.
Pending a show-stopping gown and swimsuit performance at the Final, Magtanong is one of the few girls we can bet on acing the Final Question-and-Answer.
Binibini Masbate – Hannah Arnold
Statuesque and beautiful, Arnold managed to silence her critics with her feisty performance at the fashion show.
Her performance at the Free Speak may not be the best among the 40 candidates but is enough to cement her front-runner status alongside Lo and Magtanong.
A good queen is one who knows how to handle a controversial issue. She is expected to respond with grace and sincerity. This is exactly what Arnold did when he responded to the harsh criticisms fired by Indonesian fans on her allegedly copied national costume.
It is in her figurative flipping of hair on the issue that earned her brownie points in my book.
A lot of things can happen in the last five days. We can expect surprise performances from less-hyped girls but if the Coronation Night would be held tonight, Catriona Gray’s successor would have been one of the three women.