Miss Grand Philippines pageant attracts national titleholders, beauty contest veterans
MANILA, Philippines—The Miss Grand Philippines pageant under ALV Pageant Circle drew familiar faces to its “final” screening, with several national titleholders and beauty contest veterans making it as official candidates.
The most accomplished among the bevy of beauties who applied and went through the screening held at Teatrino at The Promenade in San Juan City on Friday, June 2, was Michelle Arceo, who was crowned Miss Environment Philippines in the 2021 Miss World Philippines pageant, whose national director is Arnold L. Vegafria, “ALV” himself. She represented the country in the inaugural edition of the Miss Environment International competition held in India in April 2022, and finished with the Miss Ecosystem title. She was also a runner-up in the 2022 Century Tuna Superbods search.
Another woman with international experience who also made it as an official candidate was Shanon Tampon, first runner-up in the 2022 Miss Elite pageant in Egypt. She was also crowned Miss Caloocan in 2019, and joined the 2021 Binibining Pilipinas pageant. She also took part in the 2018 Mutya ng Pilipinas and 2019 Miss Philippines Earth pageants.
Comedienne, host and content creator Herlene Nicole Budol, first runner-up in the 2022 Bb. Pilipinas pageant, has likewise thrown her hat in the ring, along with former Bb. Pilipinas contestants Maria Gail Tobes and Gabrielle Runnstrom.
Among those who will also move on as official candidates are reigning queens from the provinces, Limgas na Pangasinan-Grand Rona Lalaine Lopez and Pearl of Sarangani Ejay Vergara. Only 11 official candidates were chosen from the 16 applicants who attended the screening. Insiders from the organization said another round of in-person screenings will be held on June 7 to select more aspirants.
This is the second Miss Grand Philippines pageant that has been organized to choose the country’s representative in the Miss Grand International competition. After 2012 Bb. Pilipinas second runner-up Ali Forbes finished fourth in the global tilt’s inaugural edition in 2013, her handler, the late John de la Vega, mounted the 2014 Miss Grand Philippines contest where Kimberly Karlsson received the title.
In 2015, the Bb. Pilipinas pageant acquired the Miss Grand International’s Philippine license, and fielded 2014 Bb. Pilipinas Tourism Parul Shah who finished fourth in the global competition.
Bb. Pilipinas was able to produce Miss Grand International first runners-up Nicole Cordoves (2016) and Samantha Bernardo (2021), and second runner-up Elizabeth Clenci (2017). No Filipino woman has ever brough home the “gold crown” in the contest’s nine-year history.
Last year’s representative, Roberta Tamondong, the last Bb. Pilipinas queen to compete in the Miss Grand International pageant, was proclaimed as one of the five fifth runners-up. She only advanced to the contest’s Top 20, but was later awarded a Top 10 spot when Mauritius’ Yuvna Rinishta rescinded her position. The remainder of the finalists who did not advance to the final five were all hailed as fifth runners-up.
Vegafria announced his acquisition of the Miss Grand International’s Philippine franchise in November last year, and even brought reigning queen Isabella Menin to the country together with the rest of the Top 10 finalists.
The 2023 Miss Grand Philippines pageant will also proclaim the country’s representatives to the Reina Hispanoamericana and Miss Tourism World contests. The Miss World Philippines competition previously sent the Filipino delegates to the two international pageants. /ra
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