Philippines’ MJ Lastimosa in Top 6 bettors pick to win 63rd Miss Universe crown; Colombia, USA, Venezuela, India, Spain lead poll

Before midnight on Sunday, January 25, 2015 (Monday morning in Manila) the new Miss Universe replacing Gabriela Isler of Venezuela would have been named.

The Miss Universe Pageant is always a big event for bettors, gamblers and oddmakers.

MJ Lastimosa MU swimsuit2Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa

In this 63rd edition of the most prestigious beauty contest, Miss Colombia, Miss USA, Miss Venezuela, Miss India, Miss Spain and Miss Philippines are consistently the top picks to win the coveted Nexus crown among the 88 contestants.

NicerOdds (http://www.nicerodds.co.uk/miss-universe), which claims to have the best offer to placing bets in the current Miss Universe contest held in Doral, Florida as they cover the top betting sites online to guide gamblers, have come up with the top picks with corresponding Highest Odds and Lowest Odds numbers.

MU 2014 Miss Colombia Paulina VegaMiss Colombia Paulina Vega

Miss Colombia leads, followed by Miss USA, then Miss Venezuela, Miss India, Miss Spain and Miss Philippines.

Miss France, Miss Costa Rica, Miss Mexico and Miss Russia make up the rest of the Top 10. MU 2014 Miss USAMiss USA Nia Sanchez

Placing 11th to 20th are delegates from Brazil, St. Lucia, Angola, Australia, Indonesia, Guyana, Ukraine, Haiti, Kosovo and Puerto Rico.

MU 2014 Miss SpainMiss Spain Desiree Cordero Ferrer

After the preliminaries on January 22nd though, where the candidates paraded in their National Costume, Swimsuit and Long Gown, MsUniversePageant Hotspot (http://www.msuniversepageant.org/miss-universe-2014-preliminary-competition-top-15-performers/) came up with the Top 15 performers and ranked #1 is Miss Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa.

MU 2014 Miss India gown1Miss India Noyonita Lodh

“Her performance in the preliminary competition was sublime. It goes to show that she really is more than prepared for the deathmatch. We’re not digging the style of her gown as it didn’t accentuate her figure, but sure did in the swimsuit round! She’s our top bet in swimsuit. Whew! Her body figure is what we are envious of,” says the blurb why the Filipina beauty tops  them all.

MU 2014 Miss ArgentinaMiss Argentina Valentina Ferrer

Ranked #2 is Miss Argentina Valentina Ferrer.

Miss Jamaica Kaci Fennell is ranked #3, followed by Miss Mexico Josselyn Garciglia at #4 and Miss Colombia Paulina Vega at #5.

MU 2014 Miss VenezuelaMiss Venezuela Migbelis Castellanos

Sixth is Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha, Miss USA Nia Sanchez at #7, Miss Costa Rica Karina Ramos at #8, and Miss Guyana Niketa Barker and Miss Russia Yulia Alipova at #9 and #10 respectively.

The rest of the Top 15 are Miss Dominican Republic Kimberly Castillo, Miss Ecuador Alejandra Argudo, Miss Spain Desiree Cordero Ferrer, Miss Indonesia Elvira Devinamira and Miss Kenya Gaylyne Ayugi.

Choosing Miss Universe 2014 are judges Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao, musician Emilio Estefan, model-actor William Levy, NFL great DeSean Jackson, skateboarder and reality TV star Rob Dyrdek, baseball pitcher Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton, fashion journalist Louise Roe, British author and movie and TV personality Lisa Vanderpump, fashion designer-actress Kristin Cavallari and Marie-Claire creative director Nina Garcia.

MU 2014 Miss MexicoMiss Mexico Josselyn Garciglia

Meanwhile, Miss Universe Philippines 2013 and 3rd Runner-Up Ariella Arida serves as the correspondent for On The Scene, a web series on the Miss Universe YouTube channel, taking fans to behind-the-scenes as the 88 contestants prepare for exclusive events leading up to the big night including Preliminary Competition, National Costume Show and Contestant Rehearsals on the official Miss Universe channel www.youtube.com/missuniverse.

Last year, it was Miss Universe Philippines 2012 and 1st Runner-Up Janine Tugonon who did the task. The previous year it was Miss Universe Philippines 2011 and 3rd Runner-Up Shamcey Supsup.

This is also the fifth time that a Filipino, in the person of Manny Pacquiao, sits as judge in the Miss Universe.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos P. Romulo was the first Filipino to sit as judge in the prestigious contest when it was held in Manila in 1974 won by Miss Spain Amparo Munoz.

In 1989, fashion designer Josie Cruz Natori was one of the judges who chose Angela Visser of Holland as Miss Universe in Cancun, Mexico.

Then in 1991, singer Kuh Ledesma sat in the panel in Las Vegas, Nevada that chose Miss Mexico Lupita Jones as the new Miss Universe.

Manny-PacquiaoManny Pacquiao: 5th Filipino Miss Universe judge

In 2011, Broadway star Lea Salonga flew to Sao Paulo, Brazil to judge the contestants with Miss Angola Leila Lopes winning the crown. Lea later said in an interview that she had Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup ranked #2 in her sheet. Shamcey placed 3rd Runner-Up.

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MAPW 2014 3rd Runner-Up Miss Philippines Hillarie Parungao home, shares insight on controversies hounding pageant

Miss Philippines Hillarie Danielle Parungao is home and posted on Facebook her insight on the controversies hounding the recently concluded Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 pageant held in Seoul, Korea where she ended 3rd Runner-Up to Miss Myanmar May Myat Noe.

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Miss Asia Pacific World Philippines 2014 Hillarie Danielle Ang Parungao in her National Costume

First Runner-Up was Miss Korea, 2nd Runner-Up was Miss Macau, Miss India was 4th Runner-Up, Miss Singapore was 5th Runner-Up and Miss Thailand was 6th Runner-Up.

Miss Philippines also won the Grand National Costume Award.

(See related stories Miss Myanmar is Miss Asia Pacific World 2014; Miss Philippines 3rd Runner-Up https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/miss-myanmar-is-miss-asia-pacific-world-2014-miss-philippines-3rd-runner-up/ and Miss Philippines Hillarie Danielle Parungao top pick to win Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 crown in Korea https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/miss-philippines-hillarie-danielle-parungao-top-pick-to-win-miss-asia-pacific-world-2014-crown-in-korea/)

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MAPW 2014 and the Runners-Up. Extreme right is 3rd Runner-Up Miss Philippines Hillarie Parungao

In her post, Hillarie said it’s time to move forward and she’d be glad to mentor other candidates if they want to join said pageant someday.

“Obviously, I was disappointed I didn’t win the crown. Initially it was a shock to me. Indeed this pageant is an example of contests that is debated fiercely by fans, fought well by candidates, and the final results are questioned by the popular will.

“But after talking to Lawrence Choi, it is time to move forward and look at different directions. My conversation with Lawrence Choi was enlightening, and gave me a better understanding of international pageants. He kept repeating that this is my first international pageant, and that there are so many things I didn’t know. Because of his counsel, I felt like a winner in a way: I won a lot of information that will only help me become stronger, knowledgeable, and improve my craft. I hope that this information can help me mentor other candidates especially if they want to join this pageant someday.

“When I left the country to compete in this international pageant, my promise is to make you all proud. I did not win the crown, but I hope you realize that I kept my promise. I hope I did not disappoint, and made you feel proud that I represented the country well. Let me say how thankful I am to the many people who supported and believed in me. As I try to fulfill my remaining days as Ms. Asia Pacific World Philippines 2014, please stay there with your love, prayers and support.

“‘The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.’”

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Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 May Myat Noe of Myanmar with !st Runner-Up Miss Korea and 2nd Runner-Up Miss Macau

Jess, a reader of this blog and himself a WordPress blogger, commented on the article Controversy hounds Miss Asia Pacific World anew https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/controversy-hounds-miss-asia-pacific-world-anew/

“I was there. It was a big joke. I had tickets & table no. obtained weeks before. As I arrived at the venue, a local guy was going around trying to sell tickets to the event. Went into the venue & shocker. Our table was occupied.Tried to get some answers but no one could help. Some guy told us to just take whatever seat available. Hey, there are 10 of us. Can’t split up the group. Then door gifts for patrons were given to locals only. Big joke of the day….some of them were dressed in shorts.
Anyway, we had to stand there for half of the event. Then it turned into an awards show for local artistes. No translations whatsoever. Then whole pageant was rushed. Even bigger joke, Miss Myanmar won. Yeah, we know. Results already printed days before. She needed the first prize badly…..acting lessons. What a fake!! So much more to comment but running out of space here! In short, worst rigged competition ever.”

Moving forward, let Myanmar savor its first-ever international beauty title and crown, however minor it may be.

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At Seoul Central Plaza

For the rest of the national pageants sending representatives to Miss Asia Pacific World, just use discretion.

Hillarie, on the other hand, is still young, very articulate and many see her to clinch a major title for her country in the near future.

Controversy hounds Miss Asia Pacific World anew

A controversy, although different from a previous one, is still a controversy.

This looks like what hounds Miss Asia Pacific World again in this year’s contest.

Won by Miss Myanmar May Myat Noe, all the other six finalists were from AsiaMiss Korea (1st Runner-Up), Miss Macau (2nd Runner-Up), Miss Philippines (3rd Runner-Up), Miss India (4th Runner-Up), Miss Singapore (5th Runner-Up) and Miss Thailand (6th Runner-Up).

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Rounding up the Top 15 were two more AsiansMiss Pakistan and Miss Sri Lanka – while the rest come from countries situated along the Pacific Ocean: Trinidad & Tobago, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Honduras and Slovakia.

(See related story Miss Myanmar is Miss Asia Pacific World 2014; Miss Philippines 3rd Runner-Up https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/miss-myanmar-is-miss-asia-pacific-world-2014-miss-philippines-3rd-runner-up/)

Only a total of 47 entrants came to Seoul, Korea out of the expected 70 candidates.

The male English-speaking host averred that this year’s production is a lot better compared to last year’s. However, there’s so much to be desired of in this modelling and talent contest cum beauty pageant which originated in Korea.

(Miss Asia Pacific World is entirely different from and no connection at all with the defunct Miss Asia Pacific International or Miss Asia Pacific Quest organized by Filipinos held in Manila until its last staging in 2005 in Guangzhou, China.)

The first Miss Asia Pacific World held in 2011 was marred by various controversies – the sex-for-placement scheme as claimed by Miss Wales, Miss Guyana and Miss Costa Rica, the non-existent prize which made winner Miss Korea immediately resign the following day with Miss France taking over but was dethroned a month before the new contest with Miss Ukraine proclaimed as successor, no food provision for the candidates and poor hotel accommodation that made some of them sleep on the floor, giving awards to delegates even without the benefit of showing their mettle in the categories and candidates assured of top ranking way before the contest started.

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(See related story Miss Philippines Hillarie Danielle Parungao top pick to win Miss Asia Pacific World 2014 crown in Korea https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/miss-philippines-hillarie-danielle-parungao-top-pick-to-win-miss-asia-pacific-world-2014-crown-in-korea/)

On Sunday, a day after the contest, Miss Philippines posted a cryptic message on Facebook.

“I celebrate only for what is fairly judged… Thank you to everyone who believed and supported me all the way!;)”

On Monday, a copy of the program flow showing a Final Interview segment for the Top 7 was also posted on social media. That Q & A portion was the deciding factor as to who should win the crown. As everyone knows (those in the venue and those watching the proceedings via live stream), that did not happen.

Analyzing the situation, it could be because of communication barrier—only one of the four hosts spoke English, and most probably out of the Top 7 only Miss Philippines and Miss India could speak English fluently.

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The question is, how can the finalists share about their advocacies or just simply share their thoughts on any issue if the Final Interview was scrapped? Apparently, the scrapping of the portion was done at the last minute, otherwise it would have not been in the program flow at all.

Hillarie prepared for that moment. As shown in the transcript of her Missosology interview, the Filipina beauty is an advocate of children’s causes and was very excited to share to the Asia Pacific World her platform.

One of the judges was allegedly the national handler of Miss Macau and Miss Hong Kong. Out of the five, three placed Miss Philippines as #1, the other two did not. Was it right for the organizers to put a judge in the panel when he’s the handler of two contestants?

(Click link for details https://www.facebook.com/PageantsExpose)

The supposed-to-be Asia Pacific expanse was confined to the Korean peninsula at that very moment. No, it should be even a smaller area – around the streets of Seoul or even just within the four walls of Grand Hilton Hotel.

For the organizers, why go through the tedious process of staging an international beauty contest when you can do it the way where you are good at, like K-Pop Star search? That will surely erase the stigma of biased judgment as you can say it is done the Korean way and not according to international standards.

There are no complaints yet of sexual harassment, hunger or candidates being peddled to judges and sponsors (or maybe the girls just don’t want to talk) like what happened in 2011.

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So if the organizers want to continue with this “noble endeavor” they should shape up to put credibility to their contest or the Interpol will be secretly watching next time.

Interestingly, the people of Myanmar are now the most active online voting participants, eclipsing the Philippines. Aside from the crown and title, May Myat Noe also won Missosologists’ Choice Award by garnering 223,133 votes as against Miss Philippines’ 151,971 and far third placer Miss Ecuador’s 23,645.

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Myanmar first showed its strength online when Htar Htet Htet was declared winner of Miss Popular Award in the first Miss Grand International pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand last November 19, 2013. She was ahead by 2,000 votes to second placer Miss Philippines Annalie Forbes, who eventually ended 3rd Runner-Up. Miss Puerto Rico Janelee Chaparro was proclaimed the first-ever Miss Grand International.

First Runner-Up was Miss Dominican Republic Chantel Martinez (who also won Best in Evening Gown), Miss Slovak Republic Denisa Pacesiakova 2nd Runner-Up, and Miss Australia Kelly Louise Maguire 4th Runner-Up.

(See related story Miss Puerto Rico is first-ever Miss Grand International, Miss Philippines 3rd Runner-Up https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/miss-puerto-rico-is-first-ever-miss-grand-international-miss-philippines-3rd-runner-up/)

Miss Venezuela is Miss Earth 2013; Austria, Thailand and Korea as Misses of the Elements

Miss Venezuela Alyz Henrich was proclaimed Miss Earth 2013 in eco-friendly ceremonies at the Versailles in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Philippines Saturday night. The 22-year-old beauty bested 87 other candidates from all over the globe to be this year’s queen of female earth warriors. In her bio she said, “Taking care of our water is taking care of ourselves, water is life. Let’s keep it clean.”

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Crowned Miss Air was Miss Austria Katia Wagner, while Miss Thailand Punika Kulsoontornrut was declared Miss Water and Miss Korea Catharina Choi as Miss Fire.

Rounding up the Top 8 were Miss Philippines, Miss Mexico, Miss Poland and Miss Serbia. The remainder of the group that advanced to the  semi-finals were Misses Turkey, Chile, France, China, Mauritius, Spain, Poland and USA.

In her answer to the question, “How does eco-tourism contribute to the protection of the environment?” Miss Venezuela said, “Because we people are responsible also for destruction (of) our nature, we need to be aware and take care of Mother Earth.”
 
Favorites Miss India and Miss Ukraine did not make it to Top 16. The surprise was Miss Austria who was not mentioned a lot in the predictions but almost got the main title.
 
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As the host country’s representative, Angelee delos Reyes did her best in the Q & A. Her question, “It’s been a month since Haiyan hit the Philippines, how do you think Mother Earth feels now?”
 
She answered: “It feels like Mother Earth is very sad of what’s happening, that’s also in the song I wrote about what’s happening to our environment nowadays, environmental problems… I think typhoon Yolanda didn’t just happen to devastate Philippines and other countries but a wake up call or to make us realize that we must take care of one another, take care of the Earth, environment, so that it will take care of us in return. So together, let’s save our Earth not just for the people of today but the generations to come.”
 
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Miss Earth 2012 Tereza Fajksova of Czech Republic ended her reign with a serenade by singer-recording artist David Pomeranz who rendered his hit song, “Got To Believe.”
 
Venezuela, having won two titles in the Big 4 Pageants (with Miss Universe Gabriela Isler) has dislodged the Philippines as the Country of the Year (with Miss World Megan Young).
 
The Philippines, though, can reclaim the glory if Bea Rose Santiago wins Miss International in Japan culminating on December 17. Miss Supranational 2013 Mutya Johanna Datul has added to the Philippines’ hold as a beauty powerhouse. Ariella Arida was third runner-up in the Miss Universe. In the debuting Miss Grand International in Thailand won by Miss Puerto Rico Janelee Chaparro, Ali Forbes placed third runner-up, too.
 
Live stream was on http://www.rappler.com and http://www.missearth.tv and shown live on TV on Star World. Delayed telecast on ABS-CBN Sunday before ASAP.
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Miss Earth 2013 favorites: Philippines, India, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Venezuela, Ukraine, Kosovo

Ninety girls vie for Miss Earth 2013 and the winner will be crowned on Saturday, December 7 at Versailles Palace, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Philippines with live telecast on Star World at 8:00 p.m. Manila time and live stream on http://www.missearth.tv.

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Beauty pageant aficionados have their favorites, and this early the frontrunners are the delegates from host country Philippines (Angelee Delos Reyes), India (Sobhita Dhulipala), Brazil (Priscilla Martins), Mexico (Kristal Silva), Thailand (Punika Kulsoontornrut), Venezuela (Alyz Henrich), Ukraine (Anatasia Sukh) and Kosovo (Donika Emini).

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Not far behind are the candidates from Nepal (Rojisha Shahi Thakuri), Martinique (Rani Charles), Macau (Ashley Qian), Indonesia (Nita Sofiani), England (Chloe Othen), Dominican Republic (Maria Eugenia Vargas), Colombia (Diana Carolina Ortegon), China (Lisa Xiang) and Canada (Sofiya Chorniy).

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Special award winners (each have 3 for gold, silver, bronze) have been announced and the important ones are the Evening Gown Competition (won by Venezuela, Nepal, Philippines), Swimsuit Competition (Ukraine, Brazil, Venezuela), Miss Photogenic Online Voting (India, Macau, Philippines), Talent Competition (Kazakhstan, Russia, China), Resorts Wear Competition (Thailand, Ukraine, France) and Eco-Beauty (India, Macau, Turkey).

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In this pageant, Brazil ranks 1st with 2 winners (2004, 2009) and 5 finalists, followed by Philippines with 1 winner (2008) with 4 finalists and 5 semi-finalists. 3rd in the ranking is India with 1 winner (2010), 2 finalists and 3 semi-finalists.

Others in the winning circle are Ecuador (2011), Venezuela (2005), Denmark (2001), Kenya (2002), Honduras (2003), Chile, (2006), Canada (2007) and Czech Republic (2012).

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There has been history of dethronement in Miss Earth. In 2002, Džejla Glavović of Bosnia and Herzegovina was dethroned. Winfred Adah Omwakwe from Kenya took over the title being the 1st runner-up. In 2010, Jennifer Pazmiño of Ecuador was dethroned. Viktoria Shchukina from Russia as Miss Air took over the title.

Drama before the finals

The delegate from Trinidad and Tobago withdrew from the pageant a day before the finals. Per Missosology, the organizers in the said country sent Carousel Productions this message:

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“It is with deep regret to formally inform you that the Board of ONENESS ENTERTAINMENT TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, producers of the Miss Oneness Trinidad and Tobago Beauty Pageant, announces that Miss Ariana Nadene Rampersad, Trinidad and Tobago’s delegate at the prestigious Miss Earth pageant in the host country of the Philippines for this year, has been WITHDRAWN effective today 5th December 2013 @ 2:18pm, due to circumstances beyond our control.

“Thank you for your time.”

In the show after all

Miss Earth Pageant posted on their Facebook page today, December 7, around 3:30 p.m. Manila time this: “Trinidad and Tobago will be on tonight’s show.”

About four hours earlier (Manila Time), Missosology Trinidad and Tobago posted, “Although our country will not be participating in the show tomorrow, I would like to wish all the contestant (sic) the best .”

Updates and full coverage of the contest can be accessed at https://www.facebook.com/MissEarthPageant.

Brainy and sexy Angelee delos Reyes contends for Philippines’ 2nd Miss Earth crown

Miss Earth is one of the big four pageants in the world–in terms of prestige, number of contestants and media mileage. The pioneers and most prestigious are Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss International. A fifth one is Miss Supranational.

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The Philippines is, so far, the only country that won all five crowns–2 Miss Universe (Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Margie Moran in 1973), 1 Miss World (Megan Young only this year), 4 Miss International (Gemma Cruz in 1964, Aurora Pijuan in 1970, Melanie Marquez in 1979 and Precious Lara Quigaman in 2005), 1 Miss Earth (Karla Henry in 2008) and 1 Miss Supranational (Mutya Johanna Datul, also this year).

Not only is the Philippines a beauty powerhouse in Asia; it is by far the only country that placed in the Miss Universe Top 5 the last four years–Venus Raj as 4th runner-up in 2010, Shamcey Supsup as 3rd runner-up in 2011, Janine Tugonon as 1st runner-up in 2012 and Ariella Arida as 3rd runner-up in 2013.

In the new Miss Grand International held in Thailand, Ali Forbes placed 3rd runner-up to Miss Puerto Rico Janelee Chaparro. In the Mister International held in Indonesia, Gil Wagas Jr. was 4th runner-up to Mr. Venezuela.

On December 7, the new Miss Earth will be crowned at the Versailles Palace in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Philippines.

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The host country is strongly represented by 24-year-old Angelee Claudett Francisco delos Reyes of Olongapo City. A past Miss Bikini Philippines winner, Angelee is also a registered nurse, events host, model, performer and seminar speaker. Along with Miss India, she was presenter for Team Asia in the Environmental Seminar for Miss Earth 2013 participants (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fsqj-rX4Igs).

Prior to her Miss Philippines Earth 2013 win, Angelee was with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) as Public Information Officer. She composed the song and sang it herself in her eco video for Miss Earth and had already been declared winner of the Miss Eco Tourism special award.

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As of this writing, Angelee is running third in Photogenic Voting. She’s also bronze winner in the Preliminary Evening Gown Competition, coming after gold winner  Miss Venezuela and silver winner Miss Nepal. She’s among the Top 5 in her group in the Swimsuit Competition.

Organized in 2001 by Carousel Productions, Miss Earth actively promotes the preservation of the environment. Participants are involved with humanitarian and environmental causes. They also take part in tree planting ceremonies, environmental and cultural immersion programs, sponsor visits and tours.

It used to be that Miss Air was the equivalent to 1st runner-up, Miss Water to 2nd runner-up and Miss Fire to 3rd runner-up but with the elements being of equal importance the organizers declared the runners-up to be of equal ranking starting in 2010.

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There are still three other pageants left for this year whereby the Philippines has also strong chance of winning the crowns–Miss Intercontinental 2013 in Germany on December 14 (Koreen Medina), Miss International in Japan on December 17 (Bea Rose Santiago) and  Miss Tourism International 2013 in Malaysia on December 31 (Angeli Dione Gomez). Reigning Miss Tourism International is Filipina Rizzini Alexis Gomez. There’s hope that it will be a back-to-back win for the Philippines.

To vote for Angelee and other Miss Earth 2013 candidates, click or copy paste the following:

Photogenic Voting Page Link: www.statictab.com/n7pd2mc
Eco-Beauty Voting Page Link: www.statictab.com/5cygtvw

Photos courtesy of Miss Earth.

Miss Venezuela wins Miss U, Philippines proud of Ariella’s 3rd runner-up finish

Miss Venezuela Gabriela Isler was crowned Miss Universe 2013 last Saturday night in Moscow, Russia. She is the seventh Venezuelan Miss Universe. Declared first runner-up was Miss Spain Patricia Rodriguez; second runner-up was Miss Ecuador Constanza Baez; third runner-up was Miss Philippines Ariella Arida; and fourth runner-up was Miss Brazil Jakelyne Oliveira.

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Of the many predictions to make it to the Top 5, three made it–Miss Philippines, Miss Spain and Miss Venezuela. International Business Times missed on Miss Australia and Miss Russia to enter Top 16. Miss USA made the cut until Top 10. Very few placed their bet on Miss Ecuador to barge into the finals. Three of the touted Trump Card six candidates did not advance to the semi-finals–Miss Russia (as host country), Miss Italy (by virtue of swimsuit sponsor Yamamay being an Italian brand) and Miss Turkey (by virtue of hair sponsor CHI).

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The 86 candidates were judged during the preliminary competition on November 5 in three areas–swimsuit, evening gown and interview. Fifteen were chosen: Costa Rica, Ukraine, China, Ecuador, Great Britain, Indonesia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain, USA, Nicaragua, Switzerland, India and Brazil. The 16th candidate was for winning the most Fan Votes online and it was Philippines.

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The 16 candidates then strutted in their swimsuit and 10 were chosen: Spain, Philippines, Great Britain, India, Brazil, USA, Ukraine, Ecuador, Venezuela and Dominican Republic. Five–Ecuador, Brazil, Spain, Philippines and Venezuela–advanced to the final question-and-answer portion, where only Miss Philippines did not engage the services of an interpreter to answer Tara Lipinski‘s question.

“What can be done about the lack of jobs for young people starting their careers around the world?” the Olympian and NBC host asked Ariella.

“For the people who have lack of jobs, I do believe that we people should invest in education and that is my primary advocacy, because we all know that if everyone of us is educated and well aware of what we are doing, we could land into jobs and we could land a good career in the future. Education is the primary source and ticket to a better future,” she said.

As the last finalist to be asked, Gabriela got Steven Tyler‘s question, “What is your biggest fear and what is your plan to overcome it?”

Through an interpreter, the beauteous Miss Venezuela answered:  “I believe that one may have a lot of fears, but nonetheless, this is nothing negative. I believe that we should all overcome our fears, and this in turn, would make us much stronger. And thus(ly), we can become stronger persons. As soon as we overcome our fears and we’re sure of ourselves, we can face any challenge.”

To some, the answer was not really an answer to the question, and many were surprised that after Miss Brazil was called as fourth runner-up, Miss Philippines was immediately called as third runner-up. Many believed that the crown was a toss between Miss Spain (who answered her question better) and Miss Philippines. But then, as the Miss Universe Organization is a business under the Trump conglomerate, along with Telemundo (what NBC is in Latin America), Mr. Trump preferred a Latin beauty to win and not an Asian or European (who already competed in the rival Miss World).

Ariella’s third runner-up finish continues the Top 5 streak of the Philippines in the Miss Universe the past four years–Venus Raj (4th runner-up) in 2010, Shamcey Supsup (3rd runner-up) in 2011 and Janine Tugonon (1st runner-up to USA’s Olivia Culpo) in 2012.

Janine, by the way, was online host for this year. Her “On The Scene With Janine” had her interviewing, annotating and following the contestants in the red carpet, during the evening gown competition and chatting with performers Panic! At The Disco. She did this year what Shamcey did last year.

For Filipinos and her fans and supporters all over the globe, third runner-up finish is not at all bad and they are proud of Ariella’s achievement in this year’s ultimate pageant of goddesses in the Universe.

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She has this posted in the Miss Philippines Universe Facebook page:

“I may not have brought home the crown, but I hope I have given my best to exceed my people’s expectations. The winning streak continued –2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.

And that makes us a powerhouse of beauty and intelligence in the entire universe. And you, my dear kababayans, are the true heroes of this pageant. Thank you for the love and support up to the last hurdle of my intense battle. It was a competition with discriminating judges with all their personal choices and that we have to accept. I have accepted my fate, I have given my best, and that makes me a beauty queen till the last day of my life.

Mabuhay ang lahing magaganda.
Mabuhay ang bansang PILIPINAS!”

–Ariella Arida, Miss Universe 2013 3rd Runner-Up

Photos from http://www.missuniverse.com