More than 100 wannabes met last week’s deadline for the submission of application forms to this year’s search for the three Bb. Pilipinas who will represent the country in the Miss Universe, Miss International and Miss Tourism pageants. The final screening, led by Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) chair Stella Marquez de Araneta, will be held today and the list of the official candidates will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 9.
The big question is: Will any of the aspirants equal, if not surpass, the record of Venus Raj (2010) who placed fourth and Shamcey Supsup (2011) who placed third in the Miss Universe Pageant? Again, we keep our collective fingers crossed.
Aside from Venus and Shamcey, present during the launch last Feb. 2 were 2011 Bb. Pilipinas International Dianne Elaine Necio and 2011 Bb. Pilipinas Tourism Isabella Angela Manjon. Necio was a semi-finalist and Miss Web Popularity winner in the Miss International 2011 and Manjon won as Miss Charity in the Miss Tourism Queen International 2011.
Madame Stella announced that there will be surprise changes in this year’s search, with the coronation night set for April 15 which will be telecast live over ABS-CBN.
The launch brought back fond memories of the first Bb. Pilipinas search in 1964 to Funfare’s “other beauty expert” Celso de Guzman Caparas who covered the event. The first winner was Myrna Panlilio-Borromeo who died three years ago.
Recalled Celso, “The first search attracted 30 hopefuls. Fifteen finalists were chosen as official candidates, namely Marilou Alberto, Lilia Alvarez, Milagros Cataag, Marita Dimayuga, Aida Gaerlan, Elvira Gonzalez (mother of 1994 Bb. Pilipinas Universe Charlene Gonzalez), Elizabeth Gutierrez, Edna Rosanna Keyes, Carmelita Larrabaster, Sonia Orendain, Maria Myrna Panlilio, Thelma Shaw, Chiqui Somes, Milagros Sumayao (a.k.a. Mila Ocampo, Miss Philippine Press Photography 1959 winner, the late mother of Snooky Serna) and Josefina Zaldua (a.k.a. Nina Zaldua, mother of Rannie and Lance Raymundo). Panlilio, a 1964 Maid of Cotton candidate, was crowned Bb. Pilipinas and competed in Miss Universe 1964 in Miami, Florida, USA. Cataag was Bb. Waling-Waling and Gonzalez was Bb. Ilang-Ilang. Gonzalez, also one of Philippines’ Fairest Ten in 1964 and 1965 Miss Philippine Press Photography winner, joined again in the 1965 Bb. Pilipinas pageant and emerged fourth runner-up to Louise Vail Aurelio. Somes was the country’s first representative in the 1967 Queen of Pacific held in Melbourne.”
Celso noted that several Binibinis have ventured into showbiz, among them Misses Universe Gloria Diaz (1969) and Margie Moran (1973), Pilar Pilapil, Lotis Key (a finalist), Cynthia Ugalde, Melanie Marquez, Josephine Estrada, Joyce Ann Burton, Maria Isabel Lopez, Pebbles Asis, Miriam Quiambao, Lalaine Bennett, Charlene, Ruffa Gutierrez, Dindi Gallardo, Jean Saburit, Jennifer Cortez, Precious Lara Quigaman, Bianca Manalo and Patricia Fernandez.
Pinoy hunk competes in Mr. Gay World-USA
Burnz Fernandez (left), the Pinoy hunk in the 2012 Mr. Gay World-USA contest, with 2011 Mrs. Philippines-USA Rose LaBelle and Funfare’s ‘beauty expert’ Felix Manuel (right)
From Funfare’s New York-based “beauty expert” Felix Manuel, this report:
The contestants of the 2012 Mr. Gay World-USA are currently here in New York taping for the finale of the pageant. One of them is Pinoy hunk Bernabe “Burnz” Fernandez. The pageant was made into a reality TV format and will be shown a few weeks from now.
Burnz, 34, represents San Diego, California and he’s hoping to win the title to be able to represent the US in the upcoming Mr. Gay World International to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Born and raised in Subic, he works as a surgeon’s assistant and is currently a professor in San Diego. He has been working in the medical field for over 10 years. He and his partner Steve Price adopted a baby girl named Olivia, who’s turning two years old. The partners own two of the busiest coffee shops in San Diego called Filter Coffee House.
Burnz was a former Ginoong Pilipinas-USA finalist and hopes to be the first Filipino-American to win Mr. Gay World-USA.
NY’s Fil-Am classical artists in concert for Sendong victims
As residents of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro begin to rebuild their lives from massive death and destruction wrought by Typhoon Sendong (Washi) last December, various groups from across the globe continue to raise funds and gather help for the survivors, thousands of whom have lost their homes and livelihood.
Among the latest to give support to the cause were some of New York City’s Filipino-American classical artists who performed in a benefit concert titled Pag-Ahon last Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Church of St. Joseph on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.
Among them were music maestro Michael Dadap, coloratura soprano Lani Misenas, pianist Lloyd Arriola, tenor pianist Saunder Choi, soprano Jett Galindo, baritone Enrico Lagasca, tenor Leo Leal, soprano Vilma Lince, soprano Wilma Manuel, soprano Antoni Mendezona, baritone/pianist Chris Ong, the BNP Choir, and the San Lorenzo Ruiz Choir.
Funfare’s Big Apple correspondent Edmund Silvestre said that the performance was presented by the Assumption Alumnae Association Abroad (Northeast Chapter), the College of the Holy Spirit North America Foundation, the Catholic Fellowship of Young Filipino Professionals, the De La Salle Alumni Association Metro New York, Inc., and the San Lorenzo Ruiz Choir of NY, Inc. Proceeds were channeled through the Philippine Jesuit Foundation, Inc. in NY, in support of its Sendong rehabilitation and reconstruction initiatives.
“Pag-Ahon is about pausing for a moment from our busy schedules and taking the time to reach out to our kababayan, the unfortunate victims of Typhoon Sendong,” said one of the show’s promoters, Vivian Talambiras Cruz, co-chairperson of the Coalition of Philippine Alumni Association and the United Nations Philippine Cultural Society.