MANILA, Philippines – Reigning Miss Universe Leila Lopes from Angola gave a message to the 30 contestants of this year’s Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant.
“This is where it all starts. I hope you embrace this experience and enjoy every minute you compete. You are all accomplished and skillful women who have the opportunity to represent your country. The power of the crown and the sash motivate me to continue my work and raise awareness for my causes,” she said in a statement.
After four months of screenings, trainings, charity functions, fashion shows and parades, the Bb. Pilipinas 2012 will finally announce the winners on April 15 at the Araneta Coliseum to be aired at ABS-CBN.
Bb. Pilipinas 2012 will give out three titles -- Miss Universe Philippines 2012, Bb. Pilipinas International 2012 and Bb. Pilipinas Tourism 2012.
To date, the pageant has the prestige of having produced two Miss Universe winners (Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran) and three Miss International winners (Aurora Pijuan, Melanie Marquez and Precious Lara Quigaman).
In 2010, Miss Universe Philippines Maria Venus Raj was named fourth runner-up in Miss Universe, while last year, Shamcey Supsup was third runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant held in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. chairperson Stella Marquez Araneta praised this year’s batch because of the beauty and the intelligence of the ladies who made it to the cut.
“The past years saw the Philippines, through the Bb. Pilipinas pageant, reclaim its lofty stature as the beauty capital of Asia,” Araneta said in a statement. “In a way, this has added positive pressure to the girls in the sense that not only are they stunning to look at. This batch is also considered as one of the most accomplished. I guess the back to back performances of Venus Raj and Shamcey Supsup really upped the ante for Filipino beauty pageants.”
From more than a hundred aspirants, only 30 made it to the final cut of candidates last January. The candidates underwent several sessions of hair and make-up training, personality enhancement and TV projection sessions from professionals like ABS-CBN’s Boy Abunda.
Last Sunday, ABS-CBN aired a special primer showing behind-the-scenes training and pre-pageant activities including the National Costume presentation where candidate Nicole Schmitz was adjudged the winner.
Sunday’s winners will receive more than prestige, a crown and a sash. They will also receive a prize packages that run up to millions of pesos. The winners also automatically become the object of national accolade and become endorsers of several brands.
Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, said winning the crown “means an opportunity to represent one’s country and a chance to compete for the most recognized title in the world. Eventually, this same woman will lend her voice to important social causes.”
WATCH the 66th Miss Universe pageant on November 27, 8 am (Manila time) on ABS-CBN's Channel 2