Miss Philippines Earth candidate Bencelle Banzon (left) during the question-and-answer portion of a special pageant held in Pagudpud. Photo: ABS-CBN News
MANILA -- A candidate in this year's Miss Philippines Earth passed out -- not "passed away," she clarified -- during pageant activities in Ilocos over the weekend, only days after another contestant collapsed after the bikini competition.
The 50 pageant hopefuls visited parts of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte over the weekend to take part in local festivities, including the Santacruzan, and in a campaign for Vigan's inclusion in the list of Seven Wonders of the World.
In Pagudpud, Miss Philippines Earth sponsor Hana held a special competition for 10 pre-selected candidates, including Duenas, Iloilo representative Bencelle Bianzon.
During the question-and-answer portion of the special pageant to determine the winners of Miss Hannah's Beach Resort and Miss Pagudpud Resorts, Bianzon said she nearly fainted as she felt dizzy while on stage.
When all 10 beauties were called back out, Bianzon was no longer able to join them as she already passed out backstage.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News after she recovered, Bianzon admitted that she had been on a strict diet, which led her to feeling weak during the special competition.
"Nag-pass out ako, hindi 'passed away,'" she quipped, in reference to the now-famous statement of fellow candidate Pricelyn Pialogo, after another hopeful, Leslie Ann Pine, collapsed last Wednesday.
"I feel better now. Pahinga muna ako sa diet. Feeling ko nahihilo ako pag nag-di-diyeta, nanghihina ako. Lesson learned -- dapat kumain lalo na sa init at sobrang pagod," Bianzon said.
Winning Miss Hannah's Beach Resort was Diane Querrer of Tanauan City. Bianca Paz of Gaban City, meanwhile, was named Miss Pagudpud Resorts. -- Report from Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News