After cancellations and postponements in 2020, 2021 saw the return of pageantry in the national and international scene. While organizers had to make adjustments due to the protocols bought by the pandemic, Filipino pageant fans were happy to see some normalcy.
The year saw two editions of Miss Universe and Miss Grand International, some controversies, and triumphs for Filipino beauty queens. Here’s this year’s round-up.
Samantha Bernardo competes in Miss Grand International 2020
The year began with the news that Binibining Pilipinas 2019 2nd runner-up and 2020 finalist Samantha Bernardo was approved to compete in the Miss Grand International pageant happening in Thailand in March. Samantha took over after Aya Abesamis was unable to compete due to age restrictions.
Samantha nearly won the title placing 1st runner-up to Abena Akuaba of the USA. She later took part in the recently concluded celebrity edition of Pinoy Big Brother, where she admitted that her participation in MGI had some challenges.
The Philippines’ representative Rabiya Mateo on the other hand placed in the Top 20 but had bumps along the way. Her national costume created by the late Rocky Gathercole was heavily criticized leading to a meltdown during an Instagram live.
After several postponements, the 57th Binibining Pilipinas pageant happened last July 11 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with Hannah Arnold crowned as Bb. Pilipinas International. The other 2021 queens include Samantha Panlilio as Bb. Pilipinas Grand International, Cinderella Obeñita as Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental, and Maureen Montagne as Bb. Pilipinas Globe. Runner-ups include Gabrielle Basiano and Meiji Cruz.
Cinderella and Maureen went on to win their respective pageant assignments.
Beatrice Luigi Gomez is Miss Universe Philippines 2021
In its sophomore year, Miss Universe Philippines crowned Beatrice Luigi Gomez of Cebu. Bea, who was Binibining Cebu, is the first openly bisexual candidate to win the title. She won over fan favorites such as Katrina Dimaranan and Steffi Aberasturri, who are part of the 2021 court.
Tracy Maureen Perez wins Miss World Philippines
After Bea’s win as Miss Universe Philippines, another Cebuana, Tracy Maureen Perez won as Miss World Philippines following several postponements of the pageant. Tracy’s journey has been a rollercoaster because she fell twice during the coronation night that went on for 6 hours.
Dindi Pajares and John Adajar appointed as Miss and Mister Supranational Philippines
With the postponement of the Miss World Philippines pageant to October, Dindi Pajares, who was one of the candidates of Miss World Philippines was voted by her co-candidates to compete in the pageant that was scheduled in August. Before leaving for Poland, a press conference was called by the MWP organization and also announced John Adajar as the country’s representative to Mister Supranational.
Dindi placed in the Top 12 while John was part of the Top 20 finalists.
Faith Garcia and Samela Godin’s victories in the international stage
As the country’s representatives in the international stage got busy, Faith Garcia and Samela Godin’s wins in the Miss Aura International and Miss Culture International competitions ignited cheers. Before winning their competitions, Faith was a candidate in Binibining Pilipinas while Samela was part of Miss World Philippines.
Other notable wins include Kodie Macayan, who won Mr. Gay World 2020 and the assumption of Joel Rey Carcasona as Mr. Gay World 2021 following the resignation of South Africa’s Louw Breytenbach due to contract disputes with the organization.
It was a banner year for Binibining Pilipinas as its representatives in the persons of Cinderella Obeñita and Maureen Montagne won their respective pageants. Cindy became the country’s second Miss Interncontinental following Karen Gallman’s win in 2018 while Maureen graduated from the pageant world as the country’s latest Miss Globe winner. Ann Colis won the title in 2015 after BPCI acquired the franchise.
Belize wins Miss Earth 2021
Miss Earth decided to go virtual once again for the second straight year and crowned Destiny Wagner of Belize as its queen. Destiny is the first from her country to win the title.
The country’s representative Naelah Alshorbaji ended her Miss Earth stint as part of the Top 8.
The Miss Grand International held a second edition in Thailand in December with Vietnam’s Nguyễn Thúc Thuỳ Tiên as the winner. Pageant fans however were unhappy after Philippine bet Samantha Panlilio failed to make it as a seminfinalist and a video that went viral, showing some audience members urging the pageant’s owner Nawat Itsaragrisil to pick Vietnam over Ecuador who is reportedly a favorite of the organization.
If that was not enough, Nawat went live and explained why Samantha Panlilio failed it to make it as a semifinalist. This did not sit well with many Filipino fans who accused him of using the Philippines. Miss Grand Philippines 2016 and 1st runner-up Nicole Cordoves posted a message after the controversy saying: “Hindi ka babae lang, babae ka. Hindi ka Filipina lang, Filipina ka.. Binibini ka.”
The 70th Miss Universe pageant was held in Eilat, Israel last December 12. The decision to hold the pageant in Israel became controversial as some countries do not have diplomatic relationships with the country. It also stirred some apartheid issues in South Africa with some people pressuring Miss South Africa winner Lalela Mswane not to participate. She did not buckle down and went on to win 2nd runner-up in the pageant.
Harnaaz Sandhu of India won the title, becoming the third from her country to win. The Philippines very own Beatrice Luigi Gomez placed in the Top 5.
Miss World’s finals night was originally scheduled for December 16 in Puerto Rico but the organization postponed it as some of its staff and candidates tested positive for COVID-19. The finals was moved to March 16, 2022 in the same country.
Some pageants fans urged to organization to just asked the Top 30 to return as there is a possibility that boarders in other countries will be on locked down again. The country’s bet Tracy Maureen Perez hopes to finish her pageant journey by nabbing the 2nd blue crown since Megan Young in 2013.
Emmanuelle Vera is 3rd runner-up in Reina Hispanoamericana
Despite less than two weeks to prepare for Reina Hispanoamericana in Bolivia, Emmanuelle Vera emerged as 3rd runner-up in the competition. Mexico’s Andrea Bazarte won the title.