Pageant powerhouse PH still struggles in Miss World contest

Pageant powerhouse Philippines still struggles in Miss World contest

/ 01:11 PM March 10, 2024

Pageant powerhouse Philippines still struggles in Miss World contestMegan Young and Gwendolyne Fourniol. Images from Miss World Philippines / FACEBOOK PHOTO

Megan Young and Gwendolyne Fourniol. Images from Miss World Philippines / FACEBOOK PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Many Filipino pageant fans expressed their bewilderment at the exclusion of Gwendolyne Fourniol during the 71st Miss World competition’s quarterfinals.

Netizens pointed out that the French-Filipino model and student from Himamaylan, Negros Occidental, hurdled the first round of several “fast-track” events, and yet was not able to penetrate the Top 40 announced during the finale held at the Jio World Convention Center in Mumbai, India, on March 9.


Fourniol was in the Top 32 of the Sports Challenge, Top 25 in the Head-to-Head Challenge, Top 23 in the Talent contest, and Top 20 in the Top Model competition. The winners of these events earn guaranteed spots in the quarterfinals. The Philippines’ representative appeared to be a shoo-in for at least the Top 40 with how she fared during the preliminary contests, observers surmised.


Krystyna Pyszkova from the Czech Republic eventually bagged the crown, besting 111 aspirants for the title.

Yet again, the Miss World pageant has proven to be the most difficult of the major global tilts for the Philippines. The country was only able to win its first, and so far only, “blue crown” when Megan Young emerged victorious in the 63rd edition held in Indonesia in 2013.

More than a decade later, and eight editions afterwards, the Philippines still has not posted a second victory. The closest placement to the crown during the period was Catriona Gray’s Top 5 finish in 2016, two years before she became the fourth Filipina to win in the rival Miss Universe contest.

For many international pageant followers, the Philippines is a powerhouse in global pageantry considering the wins and high placements Filipino contenders have been posting. But the Miss World is a different story.

If it is any consolation, another international pageant powerhouse failed to get the call in the recent Miss World competition — Venezuela.

From among the three most enduring major global pageants, the Philippines has collected four crowns in Miss Universe, and recorded six victories in Miss International. In the 23-year-old Miss Earth pageant based in Manila, four Filipino queens have been proclaimed.


The country has also produced dozens of runners-up and semifinalists in those three major international pageants, far more than in the Miss World pageant.

The Philippines first sent its representative to the Miss World pageant only in 1966, 15 years since the founding of the London-based tilt in 1951.

Cecilia Amabuyok, who has had a controversial participation in the Miss World pageant when many misunderstood her status for being a nun, recorded the country’s first placement in 1968 when she managed a fourth runner-up finish.

After her, only three more Filipino woman posted podium finishes–first runner-up Evangeline Pascual in 1973, second runner-up Ruffa Gutierrez in 1993, and first runner-up Gwendoline Ruais in 2011.

Aside from Gray, these are the other Filipino women who earned placements in the Miss World pageant:

– Minerva Cagatao, Top 15, 1975
– Evangeline Reyes, Top 15, 1972
– Sarah Jane Areza, Top 15, 1982
– Sherry Rose Byrne, Top 15, 1986
– Caroline Subijano, Top 10, 1994
– Katherine Manalo, Top 10, 2002
– Mafae Yunon, Top 5, 2003
– Karla Bautista, Top 5, 2004
– Carlene Aguilar, Top 15, 2005
– Queenierich Rehman, Top 15, 2012
– Valerie Weigmann, Top 25, 2014
– Hilarie Parungao, Top 10, 2015
– Laura Lehman, Top 40, 2017
– Michelle Marquez Dee, Top 12, 2019
– Tracy Maureen Perez, Top 12, 2021

In the Miss World pageant’s 71 editions, the Philippines has only had 20 placements and one win. This is a relatively dismal record compared to the country’s performances in the Miss Universe, Miss International, and Miss Earth competitions.

Throughout the years, several national organizations have been responsible for sending the Philippines’ delegates to the Miss World pageant.

Different entities selected the country’s Miss World bets from 1966 to 1968. From 1969 to 1976, the Miss Republic of the Philippines organized the search for the country’s representative.

The Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant took over the franchise from 1977 to 1990. In 1991, the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. acquired the license, and held it until 2010.

The Miss World Philippines Organization (MWPH) was established in 2011 to handle the national search, under the watch of Cory Quirino. Talent manager and entrepreneur Arnold L. Vegafria took on the reins from her in 2017, and has been the country’s national director ever since.

No details about the 2024 national search have been announced as of this writing. But MWPH posted on social media an advice saying, “stay tuned for updates on Miss World Philippines 2024!”

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MWPH is an affiliate of Vegafria’s ALV Pageant Circle that also mounted the 2023 Miss Grand Philippines pageant. The group has been sending the Philippines’ representative to the Reina Hispanoamericana contest, and was the former licensee for Miss Eco International, Miss Eco Teen International, and several other minor global tilts.

TAGS: Gwendolyne Fourniol, Megan Young, Miss World

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