Queens who made a mark in Binibining Pilipinas’ history

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Queens who made an undeniable mark in Binibining Pilipinas’ history

/ 05:32 PM July 08, 2024

(From left) Kylie Verzosa, Gloria Diaz, Catriona Gray, Melanie Marquez, and Pia Wurtzbach. Images: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

(From left) Kylie Verzosa, Gloria Diaz, Catriona Gray, Melanie Marquez, and Pia Wurtzbach. Images: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Since the inception of Binibining Pilipinas in 1964, over a hundred queens have undergone the grueling journey to the crown for decades, in hopes of representing the Philippines in the global pageant scene. And some of them were lucky enough to bring home international titles.

The Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) celebrated the 60th edition of the national tilt by bringing together beauty queens from the 1960s to the present to kick off its coronation night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last Sunday, July 7.

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Under the leadership of Stella Marquez Araneta, many queens made their mark in pageantry either by winning international titles or simply carrying an undeniable charm that captivated the hearts of fans in the Philippines and abroad, but there were a few who undeniably changed the game.

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The BPCI honed many winning queens through the years, including four Miss Universe winners, five Miss International winners, two Miss Intercontinental winners, two Miss Globe winners, and one Miss Supranational winner, among many others.

To clarify, while Megan Young was the Philippines’ lone Miss World winner in 2013, her journey was shaped by the Miss World Philippines Organization. Another notable case is seen in Miss International 1964 Gemma Araneta, who was crowned as the country’s representative under the helm of the now-defunct Miss Philippines pageant.

As we commemorate the enduring legacy of Binibining Pilipinas, here’s a look at some of the most noteworthy queens who were trained by the BPCI, and have since used their influence to further their chosen careers in their respective industries.

Catriona Gray, Miss Universe 2018

Catriona Gray. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Catriona Gray. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Considered one of the “standards” in Miss Universe, the preparedness and personality of Catriona Gray proved that she entered Binibining Pilipinas to simply pick up her crown. Gray’s dedication to representing the Philippines to the best of her abilities carried over to the global tilt before eventually winning the title in 2018.

From her lava gown, slow-motion twirl, to impeccable composure, Gray is said to be one of the most accomplished queens throughout the national tilt’s history and continues to serve as one of the hosts in the annual national pageant.

Gloria Diaz, Miss Universe 1969

Gloria Diaz. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Gloria Diaz. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Gloria Diaz was thrust into the spotlight after becoming the first Miss Universe titleholder from the Philippines in 1969. She was 18 then, but it was clear that her innate sophistication and wit made her a standout from her peers.

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Following her success in pageantry and show business, Diaz’s legacy was felt throughout the national pageant’s coronation night, after delivering show-stopping questions at the dreaded question-and-answer portion.

Kylie Verzosa, Miss International 2016

Kylie Verzosa. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Kylie Verzosa. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Kylie Verzosa was considered the heavy favorite to win the Binibining Pilipinas Universe in 2016 but was eventually given the Binibining Pilipinas International title. Taking the second-place finish in stride, she entered the Miss International race while carrying a magnificent stance that made her win the title.

She has since entered the entertainment industry as an actress, but continued to champion mental health awareness and body positivity, the lattermost also reflected in her shapewear line.

Melanie Marquez, Miss International 1979

Melanie Marquez. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Melanie Marquez. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

At 15 years old, Melanie Marquez was the youngest winner of Miss International’s history after winning the crown in 1979. Since then, she has become one of the most notable titleholders in Philippine pageantry. It was no wonder that her daughter Michelle Dee, who also created a legacy of her own after she was crowned Miss World Philippines 2019 and Miss Universe Philippines 2023, considered her an inspiration.

Marquez’s success in Miss International opened doors for her in the fashion industry, where she became a fashion and commercial model. She also became a successful actress in her home country.

Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015

Pia Wurtzbach. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Pia Wurtzbach. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Historic crowning aside, Pia Wurtzbach is arguably one of the most popular Miss Universe winners, and her determination to win the coveted crown is an inspiration among titleholders and aspiring beauty queens alike.

The Filipino-German also established herself in several fields as a multi-hyphenate including as a global ambassador of the luxury Roman House Bvlgari, a book author with the release of her novel “Queen of the Universe,” and a fashion influencer.

Janina San Miguel, Binibining Pilipinas World 2008 (resigned)

Janina San Miguel. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Janina San Miguel. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Janina San Miguel may have relinquished her Binibining Pilipinas World title in 2008, but she made a mark in Filipino pop culture after her performance at the pageant’s question-and-answer portion.

When asked about her family’s role in her pageantry journey, a visibly nervous San Miguel faltered, thereby bungling her answer, and have ended up becoming an oft-quoted statement among pageantry fans for the years that followed.

Despite this, San Miguel took the incident in stride and even joined the Mrs. Face of Tourism Philippines tilt in 2023. She eventually left pageantry to become a call center representative to support her family.

Ruffa Gutierrez, Binibining Pilipinas World 1993

Ruffa Gutierrez recalls Binibining Pilipinas World crowning: ‘Time flies’

Ruffa Gutierrez. Image: Instagram/@iloveruffag

Take it or not, actress Ruffa Gutierrez is one of the most beautiful faces onscreen, and even more so when she clinched the Binibining Pilipinas World title in 1993. Her poise and flair in answering the Q&A also added up to her charm. After her second runner-up finish in the Miss World tilt, Gutierrez continued her entertainment career up to the present and is considered one of the most popular beauty queen-actresses in the industry.

Charlene Gonzales, Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1994

Charlene Gonzales. Image: FILE PHOTOS

Charlene Gonzales. Image: FILE PHOTOS

Despite not winning Miss Universe in 1994, Charlene Gonzalez has one of the most notable question-and-answer performances after following up with her witty “high tide or low tide” reply when asked by the host about the number of islands in the Philippines.

Considered a showbiz royalty, Gonzalez entered showbiz following the steps of her parents, actor Bernard Bonnin and model Elvira Gonzalez (her stepfather is actor Pepito Vera-Perez) but making a name for herself as an actress and host in the 1990s. She starred in films like “Dyesebel” and “Bilang Na ang Araw Mo,” and hosted the dancing program “Eezy Dancing.” She also was a two-time PMPC Star Awards for Television winner for Best Lifestyle Show Host in 2004 and 2005.

Mutya Datul, Miss Supranational 2013

Mutya Datul. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Mutya Datul. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Mutya Datul remained the standard for aspiring Filipina representatives in Miss Supranational as she is still the lone titleholder of the country. She was also the first Asian to bring home the coveted title in 2013.

Throughout her reign, she traveled to different countries to represent the global tilt, including Thailand, Mexico, Finland, Cambodia, and the Netherlands, to name a few.

Margarita Moran, Miss Universe 1973

Margarita Moran. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Margarita Moran. Image: Facebook/Binibining Pilipinas

Margarita Moran is one of the four Miss Universe titleholders to be named Miss Photogenic after Sweden’s Margareta Arvidsson (1966), Trinidad and Tobago’s Janelle Commissiong (1977), and Puerto Rico’s Denise Quiñones (2001). She also made waves in the pageant community after she mistakenly saw her country’s name as the winner before the actual announcement.

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Shortly after her reign, Moran dedicated herself to supporting the country’s arts and culture landscape, having served as the chairperson of the Cultural Center of the Philippines from 2018 to 2022.

TAGS: Binibining Pilipinas, Catriona Gray, Pia Wurtzbach

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