Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ms. Quezon City wins Ms. Philippines Earth 2012

Ms. Earth Philippines 2012 and her court
I've just returned from the grand finals of the Ms. Philippines Earth 2012 beauty pageant, that resulted in Ms. Quezon City, a porcelain German-Filipina beauty named Stephany Stefanowitz who reminded everyone of the actress Sunshine Cruz, winning the top title which will allow her to represent the country in the international arena.

I was asked to be one of the judges for the grand finals. Of course, I said yes, as it's quite an honor to be asked to judge a prestigious beauty pageant. What I didn't count on was that it would be so much fun to be a beauty contest judge.


Let me take you through the whole process. First you have to get dressed up pretty nicely as it's a tuxedo and long gown event. Guys have it easy because there's no competition. But if you're a female under a certain age and with even a tiny amount of vanity, of course you want to look good as a beauty contest judge even if you probably won't look as good as the contestants. At least that's how I felt.

Unfortunately I didn't really have much time to think about beauty logistics. If you've been reading this blog, you'll know that the entire Travelife team was in Malaysia until late Wednesday night and then it's been a very busy few days after that. But on Friday afternoon, just before our end-of-the-day sales meeting and just as I was teasingly playing the song "All About The Money" by Meja to inspire my sales team further, I suddenly remembered that I had to look pretty good on Sunday -- today.

All About The Money
by Meja

It just so happened that I had a very nice gown I'd just ordered as a trial from a young and talented Filipina designer who sells her dresses overseas. She's not very well known in Manila but apparently Hollywood celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lopez have worn her creations. Well, my order from her for a copper Grecian-style gown had just arrived, and I'd tried it on and loved it.

This designer, Pia Gladys Perey, was brought to my attention by someone on the Travelife team. Well, Pia Gladys Perey is a genius at making regular women look good. No kidding. I've just made up my mind to order all the colors of the models of gowns and dresses I like.

Then it was time to think of hair and makeup. I usually never wear makeup or at least much of it, but I certainly had to do so tonight. For events, I've tried lots of makeup artists and I have a couple of favorites but none of them were free at such short notice.

This was when my managing editor suggested a young girl named Cielo Fronteras who actually designs jewelry and does hair and makeup for shoots. We contacted her and she was free, so this afternoon, she appeared at my doorstep at exactly 230 pm with all her gear. I loved what she did today, and it was perfect for the dress I chose.


I got to the venue just in time for the dinner for the judges, and that was the only time that I realized what a fun and interesting group of judges the Ms. Philippines Earth organizers had assembled.

The judges included the Ambassador of Indonesia, Senator Koko Pimentel (who quipped that this judging was going to prepare him for another judging on Tuesday), SM Supermarkets CEO Joey Mendoza, Counselor Shalani Soledad-Romulo, and Business Mirror VP Ricky Alegre, among others. We enjoyed having dinner and comparing notes together. In hindsight it was very interesting that there was an almost unanimous decision regarding the top three winners of the pageant.

Second place as Ms. Philippines Air went to Ms. Tabuk, a lady with a winsome smile named Glenifer Perido, and third place went to San Juan's Samantha Purvor, who became Ms. Philippines Water.


Three great hosts tonight
I think the pageant also got a boost from the great hosting job of Mark Nelson, Rovilson Fernandez and Ginger Conejero, who incidentally was once a Ms. Philippines Earth runner-up herself. They all had a great sense of humor and their side comments and on-screen banter really made us all laugh.

I've just watched part of the show on television now as I was writing this blog out. On-screen the show looks so polished and seamless. And I can tell you that even behind the scenes -- or rather from the front row -- the show was equally polished, seamless and professional. How very interesting it was to watch the actual production and taping of the show, and to see how all the different components were combined live.


The swimsuit category

The candidates in long gowns

There were three segments: the swimsuit segment, the long gown segment and the dreaded Q&A. For the Q&A, each judge got to ask one of the ten finalists a question and they had 30 seconds to think of an answer and I think one minute to answer as intelligently as possible.


Finally, participating as a judge in the Ms. Philippines Earth 2012 really made me more aware of the importance of being environmentally conscious. The pageant's gotten me over to their side -- watching the videos of the candidates participating in various environment activities and hearing their answers to our questions got me to think about the need for each one of us to do something for the environment, part of our legacy to future generations. And how wonderful to have all these beautiful women acting as ambassadors of the environment from hereon.

Congratulations to Ms. Quezon City -- the new Ms. Philippines Earth 2012 -- and her court, and best wishes from all of us at Travelife Magazine.


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