Binibini # 1 – Vickie Marie Milagrosa Rushton
This model-actress is one of two former Mutya ng Pilipinas titleholders hoping to finally earn a shot at competing globally. She’s also one of two Binibinis who appeared in the same season of Pinoy Big Brother (she placed 4th to Daniel Matsunaga in 2014). Her experience and previous exposure will both likely serve her well. And her back story of having a visually-impaired mother and brother with Down’s syndrome will probably be additional aces up her sleeve.
Binibini # 2 – Katherine Jane Ventura
Her appealing pan-Asian features make her look like a younger, softer version of perennial Miss World host Angela Chow. Not much is expected about her prospects in here, but she should be commended for taking the extra mile: being one of very few who joined the Talent competition this year.
Binibini #3 – Murielle Adrienne Orais
It remains to be seen if she can attain or surpass her Miss Philippines-Earth 2011 elemental finish, but she still has the charisma to be a semi-final lock. Her winning a sponsor award (Miss Ever Bilena Advance) hints as much.
Binibini #4 – Ana Patricia Asturias
She was one of the surprise benefactors of last year’s new format (expanding the placement field to 25) and she seems to stand a fair chance at improving that finish. Her national costume presentation, where she wore a stunning hijab gown as an ode to Muslim women, was one of the most memorable of the bunch.
Binibini #5 – Rose Marie Murphy
Apart from her national costume, where she paid tribute to the Manobos of her native Agusan del Sur, this registered nurse hasn’t been generating much buzz.
Binibini #6 – Janice Roman
Her being a reporter and marketing associate for UNTV explains her eloquence, which could be her ticket to pulling a shocker.
Binibini #7 – Sigrid Grace Flores
The fact that she’s a missionary and that she started a foundation in 2014 will certainly earn her attention. It also helps that she’s a great speaker who’s no slouch in the looks department. She’s a sleeper Top 15 possibility.
Binibini #8 – Marie Sherry Ann Tormes
We wonder if she has Indian blood because her features appear vaguely South Asian. Her experience in last year’s Miss Philippines Earth – albeit unsuccessful – appears to have served her well. She also delivered one of the best Talent performances with her take on Aretha Franklin‘s (You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman. She might ease her way into the quarter-finals.
Binibini #9 – Agatha Lei Romero
With a competitive field such as this, this civil engineer could go from sneaking into the Top 15 to being shut out of the Top 25 altogether. Being a female professional in what used to be a traditionally male-driven field could be her ace. Take it from Nelda Ibe.
Binibini #10 – Kayehsa Clauden Chua
She’s an attractive Chinese-Filipina with the gift of gab to boot and seems poised to secure a spot in the Top 15, probably even beyond.
Binibini #11 – Maria Andrea Verdadero Abesamis
There are murmurs about this PMAP member being the most applauded by Madame Stella, and we all know how far that could go. And clearly, she inherited the fierceness and striking duskiness of her mother, Miss Universe 1984 3rd Runner-Up Desiree Verdadero. Suffice to say, she seems to be the most formidable threat to what many aspire to be sure-shot victory for Catriona Gray. And whichever side of the debate you’re on, she seems destined to be part of the winners’ circle either way.
Binibini #12 – Janette Roanne Sturm
This Dutch-born lass has a compelling backstory about how she overcame being bullied for her towering height and fair complexion. It’s great that she managed to parlay those traits into pageantry, even if she’ll likely replicate her Miss World Philippines showing.
Binibini #13 – Kristie Rose Cequeña
Like Bb#4, this girl was also fortunate to place in last year’s Top 25. In her case, though, her lack of buzz this time around makes a repeat placement, much less an upgrade, far from guaranteed.
Binibini #14 – Samantha Mae Bernardo
She won Miss Talent in Miss World Philippines 2013 and stands a good chance of winning the same award in this pageant with her folk-gymnastics mash-up routine. Replicating her overall showing is also a possibility, though she will have to fight for a spot.
Binibini #15 – Juliana Kapuendl
This Fil-Austrian penetrated last year’s Top 15 via fan vote, so she enters this race with an upper hand. Although something tells us she will be one-upped by her batchmate Patrik Asturias in this go-round.
Binibini #16 – Annalita Vizcarra
This model is the only Mutya ng Pilipinas crossover in this batch to not place in her previous stint. The same will probably happen here.
Binibini #17 – Maria Ahtisa Manalo
90s kids who watched the youth-oriented ABS-CBN gag show Ang TV might notice her passing resemblance to one of that show’s mainstays, Lindsay Custodio. Heck, this girl might as well even pursue that route once all this is over. For now, though, she seems en route to securing a Top 15 finish.
Binibini #18 – Rosantonette Mendoza
She gained extra traction when she posted before-and-after photos that revealed she was once overweight. She’s projects well, especially in her shortlisted Sarimanok-themed national costume, which makes her a worthy quarter-final bet.
Binibini #19 – Michele Theresa Gumabao
Much as we’re accustomed to seeing her on the court, this former DLSU Lady Spiker dolled up quite nicely for this pageant. Yes, she committed one misstep: her Talent act, where her dogs refused to cooperate. Luckily, that category won’t cost her precious points and she’s now using her comely looks, statuesque frame, and eloquence to her utmost advantage. She seems to be a lock for a title.
Binibini #20 – Catriona Elisa Gray
We intend to write about her more extensively after the coronation night, because right now, the general consensus is that the Miss Universe Philippines crown is hers to lose. And history will be made if things swing on her favor. Our only wish for now, aside from what virtually every pageant fan is wishing for at the moment, is that, whatever happens, her rabid fans keep it classy.