Even as she laments the sudden withdrawal of TV5 princess Arci Muñoz from the Miss World Philippines 2012 competition, pageant director Cory Quirino is still excited about the 25 official candidates who made the final cut.
During the formal presentation of the final 25 at the Manila Hotel Thursday afternoon, Quirino revealed that Arci had joined the pageant without the network’s knowledge.
“She actually made it to the Top 25 but when I found out that she has a live contract with TV5, I told her and her mom that she cannot fulfill her obligations to Miss World Philippines because of her contract with the network,” revealed the president and CEO of Miss World Philippines franchise holder CQ Global Quest. “Even her manager, Annabelle Rama, told her na hindi talaga puwede.”
Quirino stressed that TV5 did not want to stop Arci from pursuing her dream of becoming a beauty queen. It was Arci’s decision to ultimately back out of the pageant after the young actress realized she still had commitments to the network that she needs to honor first.
“But I told her she can join again next year. I can see from her eyes that she really wanted to win Miss World Philippines,” Quirino said.
That aside, Quirino said she has high hopes about this year’s batch of official candidates which just might include the country’s very first Miss World title-holder in the 61-year history of the oldest major international pageant.
“The closest we ever came to the title was in 1973 when Evangeline Pascual won first runner up and then last year when Gwendoline Ruais was adjudged as 1st Princess,” she pointed out.
Along with Ruais and her Miss World Philippines 2011 court, Quirino had selected the candidates during a rigorous final screening that included competitions in casualwear, swimsuit and evening wear plus a brief question and answer portion.
Quirino and Ruais describe the final 25 as “a diverse mix of morena, mestiza and exotic beauties who are all very smart.”
This year’s official candidates are Brenna Cassandra Gamboa (22, from Laurel, Batangas); April Love Jordan (23, from Tondo, Manila); Rufaida Babudin (20, from Palawan); Marie Loraine Dione de Guzman (24, from Sta. Mesa, Manila); Kaye Michelle Agnes (24, from Sorsogon, Bicol);
Kaye Wigand (19, from Puerto Galera, Mindoro); Vanessa Claudine Ammann (23, from Lapu-Lapu City); Roshiela Tungol (24, from Angeles City, Pampanga); Mariz Ong (20, from Echague, Isabela); Carla Jenina Lizardo (22, from Bagong Ilog, Pasig City);
Vania Valiry Vispo (24, from Pasig City); Paulina Eliseeff (20, from Quezon City); Mary Anne Ross Misa (23, from Paranaque City); Mariver Ocampo (19, from Paombong, Bulacan); Daphne Tania Molinaar (17, from Bacolod City);
Paula Rich Bartolome (21, from Sta. Cruz, Laguna); Maria Teresita Baccay (21, from Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija); Maham Ahmed (17, from San Carlos City, Pangasinan); Rizzini Alexis Gomez (21, from Cordova City, Cebu); Larah Grace Lacap (18, from Batasan Hills, Quezon City);
Fer Mary Baliquig (20, from Tagbilaran, Bohol); Queeneerich Rehman (23, from Las Pinas City); Lara Lee Sarino (21, from Negros Occidental), Natacha Kristel Peugniez (17, from Muntinlupa City) and Maria Danna Javier (19, from Malabon City).
“It was not an easy task selecting the final 25 and it was a collective decision on the panel’s part and not just Ms. Cory after we all consulted each other,” Ruais added.
A closer look at the official candidates revealed that many of them have already won in beauty pageants staged in their respective localities while others have either joined or have won in other national pageants.
There’s Carla Jenina Lizardo who was Mutya ng Pilipinas Intecontinental in 2010. Fer Mary Baliquig was an official candidate of the recent Bb Pilipinas 2012. Brenna Cassandra Gamboa was a contestant in Miss Philippines Earth 2011 where she even won Best In Long Gown.
April Love Jordan is described in her Facebook fan page as “a seasoned beauty queen” who participated and did well in the Mutya, Miss Philippines Earth and Bb Pilipinas tiffs in the past in addition to winning in international pageants like the Miss International Beauty and Model Festival held in China in 2009.
And then there’s recent Miss Lions Mutya Rufaida Babudin who, Quirino said, came straight from a tribe in Palawan. Babudin, an exotic type in the Venus Raj mold, got some of the loudest applause among the candidates and was even cited by Quirino during the open forum with the press as one who does not speak Tagalog and English well but is very deserving to be in the pageant.
The Miss World Philippines 2012 Coronation Night will be aired live on TV5 on June 24 at the Manila Hotel and will be hosted by “Game ‘N’ Go” host Edu Manzano and former Miss World 2nd Princess Ruffa Gutierrez.