When it comes to deciding who will represent the Philippines in international beauty pageants, the “Binibining Pilipinas” beauty pageant has been the go-to source. For a time, its winner (and runner-ups) would carry the country for the then-Big Three competitions of Miss Universe (originally the Bb. Pilipinas title-holder), Miss World and Miss International (originally the first and second runners-up, before they became title-holders in their own right). In time, the Miss World candidate branched off with their own pageant, and Bb. Pilipinas selected just two of the now-Big Four. In the latest pageant for 2018 last Sunday, Catriona Gray triumphed.
As ABS-CBN News tells it, the Filipino-Australian model and TV personality is going to be competing for an international beauty pageant title one more time after she was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2018 during the 55th Binibining Pilipinas pageant held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum this March 18. Gray has been in this spot before two year ago, when she competed in and was crowned Miss World Philippines 2016, representing the country in the Miss World pageant of that year in the US. She got as far as the Top 5 then, and won three special awards in the contest.
Having been graced with a second opportunity to champion Filipinos in the field of international beauty, the now-24-year-old Gray received the crown from her predecessor Rachel Peters, who in the Miss Universe 2017 pageant only made it to the Top 10. Owing her past experience in one of the Big Four, organizers and fans are hopeful that she will fare better in the next Miss Universe, even going so far as to do what Pia Wurtzbach did in 2015, along with Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran before them. The 2018 Miss Universe pageant will be held in Mongolia this year.
To round out the other winners (and pageant representatives) in the Bb. Pilipinas 2018, Maria Ahtisa Manalo won as Bb. Pilipinas International for the other remaining Big Four in the contest. In addition, Karen Gallman was named Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental, Michele Gumabao as Binibining Pilipinas Globe, Jehza Huelar as Binibining Pilipinas Supranational, and Eva Patalinjug as Binibining Pilipinas Grand International. Getting close but only making the runners-up spots are promising contestant Vickie Rushton on First, and Samantha Bernardo on second.
Catriona Gray is believed to have aced her win as Miss Universe Philippines in the Bb. Pilipinas with her answer to the Q&A round. Her question, asked by US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, was a statement from her addressed to the women of Marawi City, which had been the site of a devastating armed clash between government forces and Islamic State militants for the better part of 2017.
Photo courtesy of PEP