Bb. Pilipinas 2014 winners
Mindanao lass wins major Binibini crown
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte
Former runner-up (2011) and returning aspirant Mary Jane ‘MJ’ Lastimosa bagged the most coveted Bb. Pilipinas-Universe title in her third attempt to win the crown. The dusky representative from North Cotabato bested 39 other hopefuls at the close of the pageant’s 51st year ceremonies. A crowd favorite, MJ was also hailed as Best in Swimsuit before the Top 15 semifinalists were bared. As the pageant’s major winner, she automatically earned the title as Miss PLDT.
Best in Gown winner Bianca Guidotti was named Bb. Pilipinas-International while Kris Tiffany Janson was crowned Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental, the first Binibini to wear the title. Janson was also named Best in National Costume and Miss Photogenic.
Founded in 1973 and currently run in Panama City by the World Beauty Organization, the Miss Intercontinental pageant has come to be known as the ‘United Nations of glamour and beauty,’ showcasing the world’s most poised, stunning women.
Newcomer Yvette Santiago was heralded Bb. Pilipinas-Supranational while Parul Shah was crowned Bb. Pilipinas-Tourism. Yvette also won as Miss Creamsilk and Miss Avon earlier in the evening. Laura Victoria Lehman and Hannah Ruth Sison were named runners-up in descending order.
The other minor award recipients were Erika Tilokani (Miss Talent), Ladylyn Riva (Reader’s Choice Award), Raquel Kabigting (Miss Friendship), and last year’s lone runner-up Pia Alonso Wurtzbach (Miss PAL and Miss Jag Jeans).
Completing the semifinalist roster were Aurine Flores, Joanna Angelica Romero, Nicole Manalo, Zarah Mae Soriano, Emma Tiglao, Kenneth Santiago, and Mae Leizl Ramos.
MJ and her royal court each received, as part of their prize packages, a P250K management contract with BPCI, P500K endorsement contracts with David’s Salon and Cream Silk, P150K program with Gold’s Gym, P600K course enrollment at the Entrepreneur School of Asia, crash courses with Dale Carnegie, P50K cash prizes from Avon, and P2M insurance coverage from Ping-An Chartered.
Pageant trainer Gilbert Rodgil Flores of the Kagandahang Flores (KF) camp was elated that nine of the fifteen semifinalists, and most of the Bb. titlists (Lastimosa, Shah, Janson) were his protégées. “I expected seven to make the cut but I’m so happy that two more went into the semis. It’s the same regimen I’ve been using in our training sessions with my team that’s composed of ten members. And I’m proud to say we are the only beauty camp to have won international titles.”
Last December, a “switch” happened when Yvette Bautista, who initially trained with the KF camp, decided to move to the Aces & Queens camp of Jonas Gaffud. MJ, who was from the latter camp, also decided, around that time, to explore new avenues and thus went to the KF camp to re-train. Last year, the KF camp trained international winners Mutya Joanna Datul (Supranational) and Bea Rose Santiago (International).
“We are the camp that usually fields the most number of entrants in any pageant because we never say no to aspirants who seek our professional help,” Rodgil enthused.
This year’s panel of judges was comprised of cager Jeron Teng, Sofitel GM Adam Laker, SkyCable CEO Carlo Katigbak, US consul general William Christopher, DTI secretary Hon. Gregory Domingo, Megaworld VP Kevin L. Tan, newscaster Korina Sanchez, ABS-CBN executive Cory Vidanes, Mexican ambassador plenipotentiary Julio Camarena, Sen. Sonny Angara, and reigning Miss Universe Gabriela Isler of Venezuela.
“I love to be here in the Philippines. People here are hard-working. The Miss Universe organization is raising money for a project in Coron, Palawan to create a resilient community with the aim of rebuilding homes and rebuilding lives. Just dream bigger!” intimated the Venezuelan beauty.
The last time a reigning Miss Universe crowned a Bb. Pilipinas winner was in 1977 when Miss Universe 1976 Rina Messinger of Israel crowned pageant winner Anna Lorraine Kier.
Aside from promoting his latest album, Russian pop superstar Emin sang to the girls during the pageant. He crooned the carrier single “Amor” to the delight of both candidates and spectators. Hosted by Anne Curtis and Xian Lim, with anchors Venus Raj, Shamcey Supsup and Jenine Tugonon, the pageant’s rites were beamed to a nationwide TV audience through the ABS-CBN Kapamilya Network.