Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) will recognize four former contestants who were unable to stay on in the 2021 pageant due to the several postponements of the finals night amid the pandemic.
Actress and pageant favorite Vickie Rushton, model and fitness coach Hazel Ortiz, businesswoman Gila Salvador, and athlete Thea Cenarosa will be honored with a video citation on the pageant’s coronation night on Sunday, July 11.
“We want to acknowledge their loyalty and sacrifice as Binibining Pilipinas candidates,” Gines Enriquez, a top BPCI official, told ABS-CBN News Wednesday.
Rushton, Ortiz, Salvador, and Cenarosa were part of the original top 40 Binibini finalists in 2020.
Rushton and Cenarosa bowed out of competition due to age eligibility. Ortiz and Salvador, meanwhile, had to fulfill their business and financial obligations outside the pageant.
Leaving Binibining Pilipinas was particularly hurtful for Ortiz, who is now a familiar face in coffee and fast food commercials; and Rushton, who turned 29 last May.
In a poignant look back at her stint, Ortiz told ABS-CBN News, “I did my best to stay and see the pageantry through, but I also had tons of responsibilities outside of my candidacy, especially with what was happening at the time because of the pandemic, so I had no choice but to withdraw from my position as Bb. Pilipinas Pasig.”
In an ideal world, Ortiz said she can rejoin the Binibini pageant. “For sure, if I were given another chance to do it again, I would. The beautiful friendships that I formed within the organization, the amazing women, and the mentors that I’ve met, will always have a place in my heart.”
On Rushton’s part, it was only this month that she embraced her fate. “It finally sunk in that I am no longer part of it. Today, I found myself crying because I am still not ready to let go of this dream but I know I have to and I know God has better plans,” Rushton wrote in her Instagram post.
“I never imagined this journey would end this way but maybe it’s time to dream a new dream,” she said.
Aside from modelling, Rushton intends to continue with her advocacy for the care of special children. She also remains an actress.
Salvador, who distinguished herself for her entrepreneurial spirit, has since focused on expanding her Quezon City based Madcafe coffee shop franchise and construction business.
Cherishing her Binibini experience, Salvador also believes in good karma. “God has a plan and He is there to bless and not to destroy, see you prosper and not fail,” she said on her Instagram account.
Through the Philippines Netball Federation Inc., Cenarosa is now an advocate for sports awareness.
“The impact that sports can give to our lives is very different,” the Ilongga team captain for the Philippine national netball team told ABS-CBN News in a previous interview. “I apply it to myself, I try to encourage youth to play sports since it can help anyone grow as a disciplined and mentally tough individual to face reality.”
Rushton, Ortiz, Salvador, and Cenarosa may have “fallen” in their Binibini journey, but they are rising now in the unfolding new chapters of their lives.