Misses Philippines gave a good showing in all but one international competition held worldwide in 2016. The big stories were Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach’s homecoming victory parade and the successful bid of the Philippines to host the 65th Miss Universe, Kylie Verzosa’s crowning as Miss International 2016 and Catriona Gray’s defeat at the 2016 Miss World pageant.
Wurtzbach’s triumphant return to the country after winning the country’s 3rd Miss Universe title ushered in the year 2016 to beauty pageants which resulted in another good harvest, winning in both major and minor pageants, finishing strongly as runners up in other pageants around the world and continued the winning streak for the pageant crazy Asian country.
Kylie Verzosa took home the country’s 6th Miss International title in Tokyo, Japan, in October, one less than the seven wins by Venezuela. The 24-year-old model and graduate in Business Management at Ateneo de Manila University was given a traditional homecoming victory parade around Araneta Center by the Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. and was also feted by the officials of the City of Baguio, her hometown. Verzosa, whose mother Gemma Racquel Fausto was also a former Bb. Pilipinas candidate, is a pre-school teacher at the Playschool International in Bonifacio Global City.
Jeslyn Santos, a former two-time Bb. Pilipinas candidate, bested 27 beauties from five continents and became the first Asian to win as Miss United Continents in Guayaquil, Ecuador in September. The 23-year-old Bulakeña and Broadcast Communication graduate earned praise among the Latin judges and candidates when she gave her answer about world unity in Spanish.
Nicole Cordoves, a 24-year-old Economics graduate at Ateneo de Manila University, nearly won the Miss Grand International 2016 crown in Las Vegas in October. She was first runner up to Miss Indonesia Ariska Putri Pertiwi. Cordoves, a former Miss Chinatown and Cabinet Secretary speechwriter, created controversy with her answer “I would choose Donald Trump (over Hilary Clinton) to be on my side to fight for world peace,” during the live finals of the pageant.
Nicole Manalo was named 3rd Runner-up at Miss Globe 2016 held in Tirana, Albania in November where Ann Lorraine Colis relinquished her title to Miss India Dimple Patel. Manalo, a 27-year-old professional nurse, is the sister of Bb. Pilipinas queens Kate (World) and Bianca (Universe), and niece of 1968 Miss International semi-finalist Nini Ramos-Licaros.
Trixia Maria Maraña bested 17 Asian delegates to win the 2nd edition of Miss Asia pageant, held in Kerala, India in August. Maraña, a 23-year-old Business Administration and Management graduate at Asian College of Science and Technology, reigned as Miss Dumaguete City 2009, Abuyog Queen of Leyte 2011 and Miss Negros Oriental 2015.
Camille Hirro was named first runner up at the Miss Global 2016 at the PICC in September won by Miss Ecuador Angela Bonilla. The 28-year-old cum laude graduate at the University of the Philippines used to ghostwrite for politicians and columnists.
Ganiel Krishnan finished 2nd runner up at the revival of the Miss Asia Pacific International at Sheridan Beach Resort in Palawan in November, won by Miss Netherlands Tessa Le Conge. Krishnan, a 21-year-old half-Indian beauty and Communication Arts graduate at Far Eastern University, works as a UAAP basketball games courtside reporter.
Janela Joy Cuaton also finished 1st runner up to Thailand’s Amanda Obdan in Miss Tourism Metropolitan International 2016 in Kochi, India as well as Meryl Angeline King named 1st runner up to India’s Rajkhowa Varsha at the Miss Scuba International 2016 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, both held in November.
Catriona Gray’s loss at the Miss World 2016 in Washington D.C., in December proved was shocking news to many Filipinos. Gray, a 22-year-old statuesque singer/songwriter and a Masteral degree holder at Berklee College of Music, won the Multimedia event, 2nd in Miss Talent, where she stunned the judges with her rendition of “Moon River” and “I Believe,” and Top 5 in the ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ event with her free-school outreach program for the poor children in Tondo.
Gray, raised in Cairns, Queensland by her Bicolana mother and Scottish father, was widely predicted to win the country’s second Miss World title. She was the best among the Top 5 finalists in the final Q&A but luck was not on her side. Gray, robbed of the title, was named 3rd runner up to eventual winner Miss Puerto Rico Stephanie del Valle.
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