MANILA, Philippines – The Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc (BPCI), headed by chairperson Stella Marquez Araneta, had plenty of reasons to celebrate on Monday, November 6. Fresh from their recent victories, It was truly a wonderful welcome back home for Miss Grand International 2017 second runner-up Elizabeth Clenci and Miss Globe 2017 first runner-up Nelda Ibe.
Araneta greeted them warmly and said: “I would like to congratulate these two ladies that have made quite a triumph for the Philippines. There are other ones that are coming and I suppose all of them are going to win. Congrautlations, and we are very proud of the two of you.”
Both ladies narrowly missed the top prize but gave it their all and started a placement/winning streak for the Phiippines.
Miss Universe Philippines Rachel Peters’ message to them candidly acknowledged the feeling that any pageant candidate would feel. She said: “I want to congratulate Liz and Nelda. I followed every step of the way, for each of your pageants. I am so proud that you are my friends and my sisters. I know both of you are not 100 percent happy but honestly, you were amazing.” It was a very light and funny moment when both Nelda and Liz burst into laughter after hearing Rachel’s remark.
Liz said: “I believe everything happens for a reason and we all have our own destiny. I don’t think would change anything because I went there giving my everything. I really went onstage from day one giving my best, giving my best every single day. I don’t have any regrets, looking back.”
Nelda said, “I’m a bit sad, yes, but I know I did my very best for my pageant.”
After all the months of intense training and dieting, I asked the both ladies what food they want to indulge in, since their international competitions are over.
“I had vegan chocolate and bought a bunch of vegan pizza last night. But I really also enjoy Vietnamese food and I’m still on that Vietnamese food high,” Liz said.
Nelda, meanwhile answered, “What I’m craving for is sinigang. Because in Albania, there were lots of vegetables and cheese and I’m not really a fan of cheese. But I had to deal with it. So, sinigang I’d love to eat, maybe later.”
Only Bb Pilipinas International 2017 Mariel de Leon was not present at the event as she is currently in Tokyo, Japan for the Miss International 2017 pageant. She is aiming to achieve the Philippines’ first ever back-to-back win in the said pageant, as the reigning Miss International 2016 is the country’s Kylie Versoza.
Hoping to continue the winning streak are the 3 remaining queens who are about to go forth into their respective international pageants.
Chanel Olive Thomas, Bb Pilipinas Supranational 2017 is scheduled to leave on November 14 for Poland, with the finals scheduled on December 1 (December 2, early morning in Manila).
On the winning streak that the country is experiencing, Olive said, “I guess for all of us, we should remain humble. Yes, we are having an amazing year. But that doesn’t mean we should slack off. But we should work even harder. And hopefully, please pray for us, to take home the crowns.”
Katarina Rodriguez, Bb Pilipinas Intercontinental 2017, will leave for Sri Lanka in the beginning of December. The Miss Intercontinental finals night will be on December 21. She will be the last Bb Pilipinas queen to compete internationally and hopefully finish the year with the country’s first ever Miss Intercontinental crown.
“It makes me feel very proud of our two Filipina representatives who have gone first, and they started a streak. It makes me really very excited,” Rodriguez said.
Probably the most anticipated competition, especially for Filipinos, is the Miss Universe pageant. It isn’t an easy task to carry the weight of representing a powerhouse country that has placed since 2010 and won two years prior. But Rachel Peters is so ready for this and to give the country an early Christmas present via the Miss Universe crown.
“Probably one of the most asked questions during my interviews is ‘Are you feeling any pressure right now?’ It makes me feel really proud and that these girls have set the bar so high for us. And that makes me want to work even harder and do even better than I ever imagined I could. Thank you to these girls for motivating and inspiring us,” Rachel said during the press conference.
The recent victories of Miss Earth 2017 Karen Ibasco and Teresita “Winwyn” Marquez, Reina Hispanoamericana 2017, have solidified the Philippines as the country to beat in this year’s upcoming pageants. With all the training and preparations they have received and all the love and support of an entire nation, our Filipina representatives go into their international pageants not merely as competitors.
More importantly, they bring with them the values that make our nation resilient and the hospitality that makes our people loved by many. They are true ambassadors of peace, love, and beauty.
This article originally appeared in Rappler.
All photos courtesy of Rappler unless otherwise indicated.