Before the advent of Miss Earth in 2001, there was already one beauty pageant based in the Philippines that had been around – somewhat – for almost 50 years. Actually, a prototype of the pageant was held in Manila, 1965, as Miss Asia with only five contestants. In 1968 said pageant became an annual event as Miss Asia Quest, then Miss Asia Pacific Quest by 1985, and finally its present name of Miss Asia Pacific International by 2005.
What followed then was a decade-long hiatus before the pageant was re-launched last year in 2016. Last Saturday, the second Miss Asia Pacific International pageant of this iteration was held, with last year’s title-holder Miss Netherlands crowning her successor Miss Brazil. The Philippines’ own bet managed to reach the Final Five.
ABS-CBN News reports that on coronation night of the 2017 Miss Asia Pacific International beauty pageant, held at the Resorts World Manila’s Newport Performing Arts Theatre on November 29, Francielly Ouriques of Brazil received the title crown from her predecessor Tessa Helena Le Conge of the Netherlands. Ouriques prevailed against a relatively small pool of 42 contestants including Cebu model and Miss Philippines Ilene de Vera who finished the competition as Fourth Runner-up.
De Vera was looking forward to an opportunity to win the Miss Asia Pacific International crown on Saturday evening, the way previous Filipina contestants have done so on previous iterations of the pageant: Ma. Del Carmen Ines Zaragoza (1982) and Gloria Dimayacyac (1983) won the Miss Asia Quest titles while Lorna Legaspi (1989) and Michelle Aldana (1993) were crowned Miss Asia Pacific Quest. Her Fourth Runner-up placing in the Final Five this year is par for the course with other Philippine contestant finishes in this year’s crop of beauty pageants. The sole exception has been Karen Ibasco, Miss Earth 2017.
Completing the Final Five for this year’s Miss Asia Pacific International are New Zealand’s Acacia Walker (First Runner-up), Valeria Cardona of Honduras (Second Runner-up), and Dutch bet Morgan Doelwijt who finished third. In addition to her Fourth Runner-up finish, Ilene de Vera also won First Runner-up in Evening Gown (winner being Honduras) and Second Runner-up in both Palawan Festival Costume and Swimsuit (both of which were won by Brazil). Another pageant contestant to garner a notable Philippine following was half-Filipina Yuki Du Sonoda, representing Japan. She made it all the way to the Top Ten. Miss Iceland Donna Eunice Cruz also had Filipino blood, though she did not place.
The theme of the Miss Asia Pacific International is to promote tourism to the Philippines overseas, with the international community. Its first pageant following the hiatus that started in 2006 was held in Palawan’s Sheridan Beach Resort & Spa in Puerto Princesa.
Photo courtesy of news.abs-cbn.com