Apr 19
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Bb. Pilipinas: It's showtime (again), folks

Author: The Philippine Star

In the long run, when (or even before) their reign is over, most of the Bb. Pilipinas title-holders (or, for that matter, titles like those of Mutya ng Pilipinas and other dime-a-dozen beauty contests that make this country of 7,100 islands -- yes, low tide! -- such an exciting spot on Planet Earth) eventually end up in showbiz, proving to all and sundry that, besides politics, beauty contests are showbiz's favorite bedfellow.

Here's a rundown of those who have succumbed to the lure of the klieg lights:

* Pilar Pilapil (1967 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe)

* Charina Zaragoza (1968 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe who became a singer and composer in Spain)

* Gloria Diaz (1969 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe and 1969 Miss Universe, the Philippines' first Miss U in case you've forgotten)

* Simonette delos Reyes (1970 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe who did a short film called Dreaming Filipinos in 1990)

* Cita Avecilla (1970 Bb. Young-Pilipinas who did a movie with Dolphy)

* Aurora Pijuan (1970 Bb. Pilipinas-International and 1970 Miss International, coming after the country's first, now Tourism Secretary Gemma Cruz-Araneta; Aurora did two movies -- Popeye ATBP. with Ariel Ureta and Sunugin ang Samar with now Sen. Ramon Revilla)

* Yolanda "Yogi" Dominguez (1972 Bb. Pilipinas-International who co-hosted the TV show Ms. Ellaneous with Tina Revilla and Maan Hontiveros)

* Margie Moran (1973 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe and 1973 Miss Universe who co-starred in one movie, Oh, Margie, Oh!, with Cocoy Laurel)

* Guada Sanchez (1974 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe who co-hosted the TV show Ariel and Company After Six with Ariel Ureta)

* Rosemarie "Chiqui" Brosas (1975 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe and Miss U third runner-up who starred in a TV trilogy entitled Tatluhan)

* Jean Saburit (1975 Bb. Young International)

* Anna Lorraine Kier (1977 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe who starred in Mike de Leon's Batch '81 and in the TV sitcom Duplex)

* Jennifer Cortez (1978 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe)

* Melanie Marquez (1979 Bb. Pilipinas-International and 1979 Miss International, the country's third)

* Criselda "Dang" Cecilio (1979 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe)

* Maria Teresa Carlson (1979 Bb. Young-International)

* Ma. Rosario "Chat" Silayan (1980 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe and Miss U third runner-up)

* Felicidad "Lampel" Luis (1980 Bb. Young International and 1980 Miss Young International fourth runner-up)

* Joyce Ann Burton (1981 Bb. Young International and 1985 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe)

* Maria Isabel Lopez (1982 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe)

* Cita Capuyon (1983 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe)

* Rachel Anne Wolfe (1984 Bb. Young International)

* Alice Dixson (1986 Bb. Pilipinas-International)

* Geraldine "Pebbles" Asis (1987 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe who starred in a Dolphy movie and "guested" in Nandito Ako, starring Phillip Salvador and Kris Aquino)

* Maritoni Daya (1988 Bb. Pilipinas-Tourism)

* Precious Tongco (1990 Bb. Pilipinas-Maja)

* Sharmaine "Ruffa" Gutierrez (1993 Bb. Pilipinas-World and 1993 Miss World second runner-up)

* Dindi Gallardo (1993 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe)

* Jenette Fernando (1993 Bb. Pilipinas-Tourism)

* Alma Concepcion (1994 Bb. Pilipinas-International)

* Charlene Gonzales (1994 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe)

* Aileen Damiles (1996 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe)

* Daisy Reyes (1996 Bb. Pilipinas-World)

* Susan Jane Ritter (1997 Bb. Pilipinas-International)

* Kristine Florendo (1997 Bb. Pilipinas-World)

* Joanne Santos (1997 Miss Tourism International and 1995 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe)

* Miriam Quiambao (199 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe and 1999 Miss Universe first runner-up).

* Lalaine Edson (1999 Bb. Pilipinas-World)

That's not to mention dethroned beauties like Anjanette Abayari (1991) and Tisha Silang (1998), due to technicalities (citizenship, residence, etc. ), and dozens of other runners-up/semi-finalists and, well, "thank you" girls.

More than a hundred title-aspirants made it to the deadline of the filing of candidacy last Friday, Feb. 11, for the New Millennium's first batch of Bb. Pilipinas beauties (Universe, World and International) and the number will be winnowed down to about 30, three of whom will be proclaimed winners on Feb. 26 (a Saturday) at the annual glamour-and-glitter grand affair at the Araneta Coliseum.

Which means that showbiz can expect more new faces very soon, TV/movies being the first alternative when title-holders relinquish their crown, if they're not lured into domestic bliss.

Like in the case of Miriam Quiambao and Lalaine Edson, Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. chairperson Stella Marquez-Araneta might again send the new winners to Venezuela for a poise/beauty workshop with that country's beauty "magician" Osmel Souza who's responsible for transforming many a Miss Venezuela into world-class winners.

"Mrs. Araneta makes sure that the winners are fitted with the best costumes, shoes and jewelries," said Iking Gonzales, the PRO of the Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. "They are trained for the swimsuit and evening gown competitions and for personal interviews. Mrs. Araneta wants them to look stunning on all occasions so each winner goes abroad with at least three pieces of luggage. "

For sure, some sore losers will lash back at the contest organizers (like a candidate who claimed that she joined because she was "promised" one of the titles at stake) but so far, thank heavens, the Bb. Pilipinas pageant hasn't been rocked by such earth-shaking controversies as the ones that have been hitting the Miss World contest. (Remember when Miss Wales Helen Morgan was stripped of the Miss World title only days after she won it in 1974 because she was found to be an unwed mother, a fact not discovered by the organizers of the Miss Universe Pageant where Morgan finished first runner-up to Spain's Amparo Muñoz (also in 1974, when the contest was held here?)

Meanwhile, let's listen to what Miriam (now hosting a morning show on GMA 7) and Georgina Ann Sandico (who's raring to join showbiz) have to say (you know, just like their taped farewell speech as they make their final walk on pageant night, tears welling in their eyes and their voice choking a bit).

Besides falling onstage and standing up posthaste with dignity intact during the Miss U pageant in Trinidad-Tobago, Miriam considers among her most valuable memories the support of her kababayan here and abroad, adding, "I thank Mrs. Stella Marquez Araneta and the Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. staff for helping me become what I am now and to the Lord Almighty for without Him, I am nothing. "

A semi-finalist in last year's Bb. Pilipinas contest, Georgina reigned for only five months, having been tapped at the last minute to compete in the Miss International contest after the duly-chosen winner, Lalaine Edson, was recruited for the Miss World contest in London. Says Georgina: "My most unforgettable experience was when my fellow candidates paid me daily visits at my room at Le Meridien Pacific in Takanawa, Japan. They appreciated all my dresses, including my shoes and jewelries, which they said were 'very expensive'. "

(Note: According to Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. , Lalaine, contrary to reports, is safe and secure, happy and healthy in London, presumably with her Chinese-British boyfriend. Now, will she come home to relinquish her crown on Feb. 26? Stay tuned. )

Source: The Philippine Star