Bb. Pilipinas queen Maricarl Tolosa back 23 years after coronation

Bb. Pilipinas queen Maricarl Tolosa graces ‘santacruzan’ 23 years after coronation

/ 09:16 PM June 02, 2024

Bb. Pilipinas queen Maricarl Tolosa graces 'santacruzan' 23 years after coronation

Maricarl Tolosa (third from right) with 2022 Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental Gabrielle Basiano (second from right) and reigning queens (from left) Anna Lakrini, Katrina Anne Johnson, Angelica Lopez, and Atasha Reign Parani/ARMIN P. ADINA

Maricarl Tolosa was crowned Binibining Pilipinas International in 2001 as a statuesque 22-year-old model. And now, 23 years later, she returns to the pageant to play the part of “Reyna Emperatriz” for the Grand Santacruzan, one of the most anticipated annual events of the national competition.

“I’m the oldest here, so ako na ang ‘Tita’ nila (I’m now their auntie),” she told INQUIRER.net at the sidelines of the first indoor Grand Santacruzan that the organization mounted for the 2024 Binibining Pilipinas pageant at the Gateway Mall 2 at the Araneta City in Quezon City last month.

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The event saw Tolosa with all the 40 delegates, the reigning queens, and 2022 Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental Gabrielle Basiano in their Filipiniana regalia depicting characters in the religious procession commemorating how Queen Helena of Constantinople discovered Jesus Christ’s Holy Cross, or “Santa Cruz” in Spanish.

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Little girls dressed up as angels opened the procession at the lagoon, and guided the ladies all the way up to the Quantum Skyview, with marching bands accompanying them. The delegates gathered together for an assembly with Bb. Pilipinas International Angelica Lopez, The Miss Globe second runner-up Anna Valencia Lakrini, Bb. Pilipinas runners-up Katrina Anne Johnson and Atasha Reign Parani, with Tolosa and Basiano joining the reigning queens on centerstage.

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“It feels like I’m also joining a pageant again. Parang (It is like) going back to 2001. But then it’s really different now, because the ladies know how to dress up themselves, they know how to smile,” Tolosa said.

The 45-year-old former queen said she immediately agreed when the Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) asked if she could join the santacruzan. “I said ‘yes’ (because) it’s a different way for me to relax. Because in the office it’s different, my field is into construction. Here it’s glamor, you put makeup, you go back to what you looked like before,” Tolosa shared.

And just like a candidate competing for a crown, Tolosa also had a “village” to help her prepare for the procession. “Since it’s so hard for me to find a Filipiana gown that fits me, my friends helped me to have this. I have my own gown, I bought from Rustans, so it’s Tadashi. And then my friends put this one (sleeves) to make it look Filipiniana. My friends helped me to have this crown, and all the needs for this Grand Santacruzan. I enjoyed it!” she exclaimed.

Tolosa also fondly looked back on the time she spent with BPCI Chair Stella Marquez Araneta while preparing for the 2001 Miss International pageant. “All the lessons I learned from [Araneta], all the lessons she gave me before I flew to Japan, I still treasure them now. I think to be with Madam Stella, to be with her and to learn from her is the [pageant’s] legacy itself,” she said.

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The Bb. Pilipinas pageant is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and Tolosa said being part of BPCI “is really an honor for me and a privilege.” She said being a queen has opened a lot of doors for her and gave opportunities that she never would have gotten had she not won. “I got a job after Binibini, and I had a lot of TV commercials, and it was so easy for me to find a job,” she shared.

The 2024 Bb. Pilipinas pageant will hold its Grand Coronation night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at the Araneta City in Quezon City on July 7. The winners will represent the Philippines at the 62nd Miss International pageant next year, and The Miss Globe pageant this year.

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