Meet all 40 of the Binibining Pilipinas 2019 candidates

Alexa Villano
Meet all 40 of the Binibining Pilipinas 2019 candidates
The beauty queens talk about their beauty essentials and the causes they believe in

MANILA, Philippines — The Binibining Pilipinas competition continues to heat up and the 40 candidates are busier than ever with their sponsor visits, charity work, and their interactions with the media. (IN PHOTOS: The press presentation of the Bb Pilipinas 2019 candidates)

GETTING TO KNOW THE LADIES. The first batch of Bb Pilipinas candidates post for a photo during the talent competition last March. File photo by Dion Besa/Rappler Glam shots from Facebook/Bb Pilipinas


Their photos for the national costumes and swimsuits have been released, and they’ve also visited Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and Boracay.


Get to know the 40 contestants just a little bit more just before the coronation: 

Jessica Marasigan, Malabon

What is your beauty essential?

I have to say you got to have a really good eyebrow pencil for your kilay and self-confidence. Why? Because kilay or eyebrows really shape your face and really bring out your features forward. And who wouldn’t want kilay? Because kilay is definitely life. And joining a competition like this, you have to have self-confidence, you have to believe in yourself.

You’ve been in the entertainment industry [she was part of It’s Showtime‘s girl group Girltrends] and now you’re joining the pageant industry, what are the differences and what are the things that you had to leave behind?

Sadly, I had to leave a lot of the things I got used to which was like dancing, hosting, performing and a lot of my It’s Showtime family. The things that are kind of similar in both aspects in being an artista and being a beauty queen is physically, the early call time, getting interviewed, photo shoot, a lot of presenting yourself normally. So I feel like in a way I’m used to that, so physically I’m like I can do this.


Denielle Joi Magno, Pangasinan

What your beauty essential?

Maybe blush on because I think I have a pretty clear skin so to just lighten up and brighten my face, blush is one of my beauty essentials. And braveness because if you are a brave person, you can conquer the world – the universe, rather.

You run a small business back in Pangasinan, so what has running that business taught you in terms of finance and leadership?

Well yes, I have a milk tea shop back home and it was a struggle to build that shop, kasi no one from the family is a business-minded person. So I have learned to communicate with people well, with the connection kailangan with that shop and finances.

And I’ve learned to handle people from my job din because I was an employee for like 5 years already, and I was able to apply what I’ve learned from the company I was working for sa mga tao na katrabaho ko (for the people I work with) back home.


Martina Turner Diaz, Muntinlupa

What your beauty essential?

Beauty essential that’s tangible for me is I think lipstick kasi I can’t really go out na walang lipstick. I can go bare face pero lipstick kailangan talaga (I really need lipstick)Non-tangible for me is self-confidence… if you have self-confidence, you can carry yourself well sa lahat.

Let’s talk about your national costume and it says it all — Lady Justice.  For you, why was it important that you represent Lady Justice?

Aside from me being from Muntinlupa, we all know that the Bilibid is in Muntinlupa and Lady Justice, kasi it magnifies equality, justice not only in my city but also sa buong (the whole) Philippines.


Malka Shaver, Zamboanga Sibugay

What is you beauty essential?

My beauty essential would be first and foremost, health. Take care of your health, so everything that comes from health is like beautiful – your skin will glow, it will be super smooth, you have enough sleep.

I love coconut oil. I use it for everything. I use it as a makeup remover, moisturizer, you can also use it on your hair as well and even as a sunblock. It, like, has SPF and it’s also native to the Philippines.

Other beauty essential is a positive mindset because all that you can see around you is beautiful, than that’s what you’ll also see and reflect. If you choose to see the beauty in everything like Catriona [Gray]’s silver lining, then somehow you’re going to be more beautiful.

Can you please talk about your advocacy?

My advocacy is coming back home, coming back to basics. First come back home to yourself, realize that there’s an individual spirit inside of you that you have to attend to. And come back to your human family as well because I feel like we’re disconnected from each other, that we made ourselves apathetic to each other. In trying to protect ourselves from the outside world, we have also like cut ourselves from connecting to them, which has made us apathetic, isolated and depressed.

The third one is come back home to Mother Earth. So everything that we’ll ever need is here, God has provided it. Every beauty essential — the food we eat, the shelter we stay in, everything that you need is from Mother Earth. So that’s my advocacy really — to come back home to those 3 basic things because I believe that it’s a holistic approach and when you’re able to do that, you heal yourself as an individual and it will also evidently heal the entire human race.


Sigrid Grace Flores, Iloilo City

What is your beauty essential?

I think that a beauty essential is Vitamin E. You need to have good skin… and water. You need to hydrate every single time. I think that will really help you glow. Non-tangible I think is you really have to have that self-confidence cause it really makes your raidate and shine everytime.

You recently turned 27. Pageantry has evolved, so what changes are you happy to have seen in pageantry?

They have been adjusting the age and I think it’s because they are looking for girls who are mature, who all really knew what they want, find out what advocacies they want, causes to voice out and raise awareness about. And I think that’s what exactly the change that I really love — is beauty pageant incorporate advocacies and causes.

And I feel that beauty pageants now become more purposeful and more relevant to society. People now won’t stereotype beauty queens as beautiful faces and all that, but now they can see that we use our beauty to fight for something that we really believe in.


Jane Darren Genobisa, Davao del Sur

What is your beauty essential?

For me, it’s lipstick. I can’t go out without my lipstick because everytime I talk, I feel that the person who I am talking to is staring at my lips. Tht’s why I cannot have without my lipstick.

Second is being genuine. What comes from the inside, you will speak it by your mouth. Being authentic and genuine in everything you, everything you say.

You’re part of an indigenous tribe (Bagobo). How is important for you to represent an indigenous tribe in Bb Pilipinas?

It is important because most of the people think that if you’re from the indigenous [tribe], you’re just like that. You cannot go in the other line because you’re part of the indigenous, ganyan ka lang (you just stay like that). No we aren’t. Indigenous people are existing and we are equally talented, skillful, and smart like other people.


Joahnna Carla Saad, Dumaguete City

What is your beauty essential?

For beauty essentials when it comes to face, it’s really important to really take care of your skin. So for me, I always put moisturizer. I am not really a fan of so many cosmetics for the face… but I make sure that I have with me is a moisturizer to cleanse my face and to rehydrate.

And the other essential for me is peace of mind. It is really something that you really need in Binibini. You have to relax and to enjoy. It is really the key to enjoying Binibini. Just treasure every moment.

You mentioned in your bio that women empowerment is something that’s very close to your heart. Please expound on that.

I am a daughter of a social worker, my mom works for the Department of Social Welfare and Development. So I’m already exposed to this kinds of situation. I am always with her because I am the only daughter and I am the youngest, so I’m always with her on her activities and the programs of the DSWD.

I have seen how hard they have been through. Even before, I’ve already been a volunteer for the abused women and when I started working, I started donating toiletries for them. Because for me, this is a therapy for them to cleanse, to love themselves again. To treat themselves better  and that at the end of the day, they will be able to appreciate that they are beautiful inside not only on the outside.


Melba Ann Macasaet, Negros Oriental

What is your beauty essential?

I think the beauty essential I must have is my heart because with my heart, I will be able to spread love love, to spread kindness, and I think that is what a beauty queen should have  and should not be taken away and not taken for granted.

Another would I think is self-confidence. You can actually learn everyday, process people motivating you to be able to have that. So it’s something that you can build.

Given a chance, what one place in Negros Oriental would you like to promote?

That’s very hard. I don’t want to be biased but can I just promote Negros Oriental as a whole and not just one place? Because it is a province so every municipality, every city has beautiful places that I can promote  and I want to promote like the White Sand Bar In Bais and the Apo Island, and even the falls in Valencia, and the Hinakpan Hills in Guihulngan. The resorts also… that’s why it’s so hard for me to choose because Negros Oriental has everything


Marianne “Maan” Marquez, Marikina

What is a must have beauty essential for you?

One would be a smile just like always be happy and showing your smile, because I think that brings a lot of joy to other people. And another one would be just knowing who you are and just be able to spread that to other people —that genuine self that you have.

Please tell me more about your advocacy on sustainable food.

My mom taught me at a very young age na ubusin ko yung pagkain ko dahil marami ang nagugutom (to finish my food because a lot of people go hungry). So that really stuck with me. And learning about the food waste and how we can minimize it and also the benefits of a vegetarian diet can help a lot of people. Because there’s a lot of food in our country. It’s just how we distribute it from the supplier to the consumer that causes that problem.

So if we could find a way to minimize the food waste and locate that excess food to low income families, it would hit two problems that we have — which is food waste and hunger.


Honey Grace Cartasano, Rizal

What is a must have beauty essential for you?

I really cannot go out without my kilay because I really don’t have kilay. It really gives you that expressions that you really want and for me, it’s like the foundation of the face.  And positive outlook, because you need to have that positive thinking that whatever will happen, you know that it happens for a reason.

You recently graduated from school and you said it took a while. What has this journey taught you?

[It taught me] to be patient. To really have that faith. Before I thought of it as a negative experience, situation but you know, god turned it to something good. I am here right now in the Bb Pilipinas and it is really rewarding to be congratulated by the Binibining Pilipinas family and of course by thousands of people. For them to know my story, I believed I’ve inspired many.


Marie Sherry Anne Tormes, Polangi, Albay

What is your beauty essential?

One would be cheek and lip tint. I am really very much a simple girl lang. I don’t want too much foundation or anything. I really love my skin, so I really take good care of it… and mascara.

I am very much of a funny na tao (person). So really happiness lang and joy. I think when you’re happy, you glow. So that’s one of the most important things I have.

What is it about the province of Albay or being a Bicolana, a lot of ladies stand out in the pageant scene?

It’s their strength and confidence. You know these girls including me, I’ve been joining beauty pageants in Bicol, it’s like we are trained already. And they can already see that we have a future in the national pageant.

So that experience that we will be having in a national pageant, they allowed us to experience in the local pageant, experiencing the struggle, the challenges because that things that we are experiencing this is like a refreshment of what is happening in here including the venue, the mass, the people that will watch us. They are giving us a 100% experience.


Gazini Christiana Ganados, Talisay, Cebu

What is your beauty essential?

Beauty essential must have is confidence, presence of mind, and also a smile. All 3 of the combined, it can brightened up someone’s day.

What is about Cebu that produces a lot of beauty queens? What can you say about that?

As they say that Cebu is the Queen City of the South, and yeah, that’s not the first time I’ve heard that. When you say Cebu, there’s a lot of beautiful women in there. Maybe…I believe that it’s because of the people of Cebu. It’s the hospitality that they give. It’s already part of our culture to be known not just to be beautiful but also being nice and hospitable.


Maria Andrea “Aya” Abesamis, Pasig

What is your beauty essential?

It would be more of working out. You can see that in your body and also eating right and drinking a lot of water because it comes out in your skin. And then more of mascara as well because it also expresses your eyes, and lipstick.

And for the intangible, it’s more like training in the Q and A, being able to [do] public speak. And also being happy and loved.

What has this journey taught you compared to last year?

I think compared to last year,  I am more trained right [now] and that you really need that determination and time to be able to push yourself, and challenge yourself in everything that’s coming in. And that bring out the best in you every single day.


Leren Mae Bautista, Laguna

What is your beauty essential?

Lip tint and kindness.

Let’s talk about joining pageantry one more time (Leren was former Mutya ng Pilipinas 2015 and Miss Tourism Queen of the Year winner).  Why give it another try?

Maybe because I love to challenge myself. And Binibini is Binibini. So it’s a different experience, different organization, different challenges, different competition. It’s more of like me challenging myself and of course living the dream of my mom. Because she really want me to join Binibining Pilipinas. She wants me to see in that stage smiling and waving, and representing my province, myself and my family.


Maria Isabela Galeria, Sorsogon

What is your beauty essential?

I think one of the essentials is lipstick because it really brightens up your face and it really catches the attention of other people, which is really essential for a beauty queen like us.

You need to be confident with yourself. I’ve always said this, you need to know yourself and your worth for you to be able to smile and to confidently talk to other people.

Let’s talk about the national costume. Why was it important for you to put those specific elements in your national costume?

My national costume is actually about the butanding (whale shark) and the seas of Sorsogon. Sorsogon being an island and being the last part of Luzon going to Visayas, and we are known for the whale sharks. We are the whale shark capital of the Philippines and I think that having whale shark and the seas in my national costume will really represent Sorsogon.


Denise Omorog, Baras, Catanduanes

What is your beauty essential?

A beauty essential for me, number one is confidence. It really has to start from within. Because if you have confidence, then you are ready to take on anything.

Which towns in Cantanduanes would you like to promote?

I would say my hometown Baras kasi doon natatagpuan ang (because that’s where you will see) Binurong Point which is really a scenery like Batanes.


Bea Patricia Magtanong, Bataan

What is your beauty essential?

The number one beauty tip to have is to get 8 hours of sleep because you can see when you’re tired, when you’re haggard and when you’re fully rested, you take care of your body, you take care of your skin, and when you wake up, you will look radiant.

One of your advocacies or causes is about the rights of prisoners. How will you be able to use your profession in leveling up that cause and aside from that, what other causes are you looking forward to use your profession as a lawyer?

One of the things that inmates or persons deprived of liberty are lacking talaga aside from facilities or medical care is legal assistance. They really need legal assistance. We all know that PAO, the Public Attorney’s Office they have a lot of cases. They have more cases than they can handle. So these prisoners, these PDLs, they don’t necessary have an attorney who focuses on their case. So napapabayaan talaga yung mga kaso nila. (So their cases aren’t attended to.)

So now that I am a lawyer, I feel like I have more power to do these things. All I could do [then] was paralegal training or to just advice them but not in a capacity of an attorney.

Now I hope to help more people possibly set up a legal assistance program for them with volunteer lawyers. I am sure a lot of my friends would be open to joining me in that cause, especially because I was also part of the a Prison’s Service Organization in UP Law.

As a lawyer and hopefully a beauty queen if I win, I really wanted to advocate for the causes of  the marginalized sectors — so the poor, the elderly, the women, and the prisoners.  It’s just that I focus on the prisoners because that’s what I had experience in but in a grander scale, more power with the title, more influence comes more opportunity to help…I want to tackle poverty and the best way to do that in my experience or through my discernment is through changes in policy in the Philippines, and the best way to do that is through our legislators, through our lawmakers.


Hannah Arnold, Masbate

What is your beauty essential?

Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment, I use it all the time on my lips. It also makes me feel less nervous on what I have on my lips when they are moisturized.

Let’s talk about being one of the favorites to win a crown. Of course everybody is gunning for Miss Universe Philippines but for you, how do you now handle this type of pressure compared to the first few weeks that you were in the competition?

Actually, people were like rooting for me even before I even applied and during that time, that was a bit more pressuring because I felt like everyone created expectations even before they got to know me.

But now that everyone has heard me through interviews such as this, they’ve seen us through the Binibini page, through our social media, it’s not so much pressure as I feel love from all these people. Because they see my potential, so I’m really honored that they are all supporting me, and I just hope they also take time to listen to the other candidates. So I’m doing my best to share the girls’ stories as well.


Ilene Astrid de Vera, Mandaue City, Cebu

What is your beauty essential?

For me kilay because it empowers me.

Threre are 3 Cebuanas in the competition, so for you representing Mandaue City, what does it mean that Cebu is represented in Binibining Pilipinas?

I think this is a very nice thing that Binibini has done for us this year. Fo us in representing our hometown from our provinces, and being a representative of Mandaue is something that is…I really cannot find the term for it but I was born and raised in Cebu, I lived there my whole life and it has been a part of me —the people, the culture, the food and there’s nothing I want more than to represent my city, Mandaue City, my province.


Julia Saubier, Daraga, Albay

What is your beauty essential?

I think to have that aura, you have to have inner glow and this sounds a bit cheesy but it really comes from within. I think that when you’re happy and contented and when you’re confident than it shows and when you’re comfortable it shows. So just being confident and comfortable with who you are and having reflect that in your aura.

Oh, and lip gloss. I am obssessed with it and glitter.

Let’s talk about self-defense because it’s related to your advocacy on empowering women. Why do you think learning martial arts now is very important for a woman to defend herself?

I actually started learning martial arts because I was inspired by studies in Chinese cinema. So I grew up watching American movies because here in the Philippines we were a strategic market for America because we were a former colony and we spoke English…and I grew up not seeing myself fully represented and that really angered me because it told me to aspire something I wasn’t. And I studied film in college and I continued my master’s and when I finally started studying Asian cinema, that’s when I was like amazed and empowered because finally, there was an Asian woman who was strong, she was the lead, she was important, and she was bad ass. And I was so empowered.

So I started learning kung fu cause I was this was like amazed and I want to learn more about the craft, like I didn’t just want to appreciate the cinema. I want to learn the craft behind it and so I started learning kung fu and I took it really seriously…

I realized after that yes, it was this interest in cinema but it was also because my friend got raped. And when something that close happens to you, it really shakes you because you’ll realize oh my gosh, am I equipped to defend myself if something like that were to happen? It really brings it back home and I guarantee that if people will ask their friends, everyone has a story about sexual harassment, sexual assault and the under current of my martial arts journey was really feeling the need to protect myself and feeling the need to have the vocabulary to defend myself if something were to happen.


Anne Barker, Isabela

What is your beauty essential?

A must have is moisturizer kasi we always wear makeup, so moisturizer is something that can rejuvenate your skin. So I think that is a must have.

Another must have is lipstick because when you wear lipstick, you’re okay na especially the red one. Also I must say is eyeshadow.

You have been modeling for sometime. How was it for you to join the contest since it’s different from sashaying the catwalk?

If you are model kasi you always need to look glamorous, runway ready. But if you’re a beauty queen, you are judged based on your personality, your individuality.  So this gives you a bigger platform, a bigger audience to voice out your opinions.


April May Short, Zamboanga City

What is your beauty essential?

The must have beauty essential for me is first, lipstick. Because if you don’t have any makeup on and if you just have that red lipstick, you can go for it, you’re on the go. And the other one would be smize (smiling with your eyes). The eyes should be expressive so that you can represent yourself like you’re just talking with your eyes even if you’re not talking.

You’re one of the ladies that was more talked about in beauty pageant forums before joining the contest. I just want to know what you feel about the attention?

Like at first, I really don’t see myself as a beauty queen. Just last year, I won Ms Zamboanga and I had this responsibility to represent Zamboanga City. And that attention, it’s been crazy. Like my photos were everywhere and there have been messaing me you should join Binibining Pilipinas and now here it is… I really would like to win a crown for my city.


Larah Grace Lacap, Quezon CIty

What is your beauty essential?

A must have for me I think is red lipstick and confidence. Kasi if you are wearing red lipstick, parang if you are not wearing anything then you have red lipstick, ayon na yung confidence na meron ka na  (you have the confidence that you have) without putting too much makeup.

According to your biography, you are a tourism consultant. Can you explain more about it?

I am currently taking my master’s degree in Tourism Development and Management at the University of the Philippines Diliman. And even though I am still a student, we are already practicing on how to do a master plan for LGU or local government unit. So after I finish this course, somehow, you will end up as a tourism consultant. So basically, we do something for the local government like recommendations, suggestions of developing the area.


Jean Nicole Guerrero, Ilocos Sur

What is your beauty essential?

Brows because personally, I don’t have brows [and] on a good day, it frames your face. It’s a good essential to have and the other is confidence, especially in a beauty pageant, you need to believe in yourself. You need the confidence to own it on the stage and give it all you got and work it.

How would you differentiate your journey from Miss Philippines USA to your journey in Binibini?

My journey now with Binibini is a whole different level. Given that both organizations are great in their own way but Binibini is a stepping stone to, you know, an international pageant. So being here, being with these girls is like a whole another level. And it’s just been amazing, learning all about the girls, their differerent background, what we do on a day to day basis, it’s a learning experience. So I’m enjoying it.


Samantha Ashley Lo, Cebu City

What is your beauty essential?

Lipstick, its an item that can make a look versatile and is the fastest to change when you are on the go.

In you Binibini bio, you mentioned the importance of reading, especially in public schools. In a generation of gadgets, how do you encourage kids to pick up a book?

I know that as a Binibini people look up to us as role models and not only are they eager to see our beauty and talent but our communication skills as well and the feedback I have received is I have strong communication skills, and I want people to know that this didnt happen over night. I read a lot, I get excited to start a new book because its a “world experience” in your hands and I can then take this “experience” and incorporate it into my conversation and can pretty much talk about anything. This is what I urge people to do, educate yourself, read more, expand your conversations because essentially it expands your horizons.


Emma Mary Tiglao, Pampanga

What is a must have beauty essential for you?

Water. You have to hydrate yourself. And sleep. You need to rest kasi lahat tayo napapagod (because we all get tired).

It’s not a secret that you have been joining pageants. What has this journey taught you from the previous contests you’ve joined?

The journey itself is amazing. I started at a young age, 17 to be exact. And I’ve noticed that if you really want to join pageantry, you really have to know yourself, na dapat alam mo kung ano ang gusto mo kasi alam mo kung ano motivation, inspiration. Kasi kung hindi mo alam at basta ka lang sumali, you will not enjoy the journey (you have to know what you want bcause you know what motivates you, what inspires you. Because if you don’t know the reason why you’re joining, you will not enjoy th journey.) That’s why I am happy that I am in a pageantry that I call my home.


Samantha Mae Bernardo, Palawan

What is your beauty essential?

Lip tint. Without makeup, I cannot leave the house without lip tint. And a smile. It bring warmth to the people around you. So smile.

Let’s talk about your Project Malaria, which you have been promoting. What is the story in promoting the cause?

Malaria is a deadly disease but it’s preventable and curable. That’s why I want to be an advoacate for this. And last year we also had cases of 4,900. We are down from 40,000 cases to 4,900 but 4,670 of those came from my hometown in Palawan. And it’s also from Batak tribes and also Palawan tribes. And that’s something close to my heart at as Palaweno.

It’s also cultural differences that [makes it] really hard for them to inculcate to someone na hindi alam nila na malaria na ito (who does not know that it is malaria). For them, it’s just way of living. For them it’s not curable and God is punishing them.

So I want to spread more about awareness for malaria control and elimination and hopefully we can achieve a Malaria-free Philippines by 2030.


Cassandra Chan, Bacolod

What is your beauty essential?

I think first because I have Asian eyes, I’m half Chinese, I really think everyone should have eyeliner because i think when you have eyeliner, it will make your eyes pop and you know the eyes are the gateway to the soul. You want to emphasize that.

And the other one is definitely confidence. I know it sounds cliche, but if you don’t have confidence in yourself even with or without makeup, that confidence will show and make you beautiful [and] people will just be attracted to you.

When we talk about ballet in the Philippines in general it is a form of dance that it seems people find it to high or unreachable As a ballerina, how are you able to bring ballet to the masses?

In my ballet company, Philippine Ballet Theater, we do a lot of classical dance which is Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, those are all foreign dances. But during our seasons, we have dances that are like El Filibusterismo... we do a lot of Fiipino inspired classical ballet. And there’s a lot of companies that are doing that too so I think that’s one way to bring ballet is to integrate ballet with Philippine folklore, be integrated with Philippine literature. So it’s reallt a mix because ballet is really versatile.


Rubee Marie Faustino, Bulacan

What is your beauty essential?

Contour. It’s a must have for me because I have chubby cheeks. So I really use contour for my cheeks so my face will be smaller.  

And of course confidence. In everything I do, I think confidence is very important so I can express myself and I think it’s one thing that I need to feel more beautiful when you trust yourself and feel that you have the ability, the skills to believe in yourself.

Can you please tell more about your work with HIV/AIDs patients in your province and why you have a big concern for them?

It started last year siguro about November or December, I joined my first pageant which is Binibining Bulacan. And we had an activity there which is the HIV/AIDS awareness day which coincides with the LGBT community. I first noticed there are just some participants and that the gym is very big. There were little participants and they invited big names in the industry… and there was pre-testing. But I think the problem is that people does not want to participate in these kinds of activities. That’s why I chose this advocacy so that I can encourage people to participate because we already have these program.


Resham Ramirez Saeed, Maguindanao

What is your beauty essential?

Lipstick kasi sometimes even if I don’t wear makeup, I love to put on a little bit of gloss lipstick and it makes me feel complete. And then happiness or self-content. I do mediate everyday and so I think mediation helps me practice self care and I think that’s really essentially in a platform, in the media  when you have a lot of stress. So it’s a better practice for you to mediate, get in touch with yourself and give your best version possible.

It’s not new that there are ladies from Muslim provinces or countries competing in beauty contests. What does this mean for you personally?

When it comes to being a Muslim joining a pageant yes, there has been a lot of women who represent Muslim provinces. But there is a difference when you represent a Muslim province, being a Muslim, raised as a Muslim. Frankly, what I can appreciate about this is that I get to represent diversity and my religion. A lot of people make assumptions that Muslims or Islam is very strict with some of the rules, and what I’m doing is controversial. Yes, it’s controversial, but that’s why I’m doing it. There are many Muslim women who practice their faith according to how they practice their faith.

For me, I chose to represent my religion the way I’ve been practicing it and the way I believe my faith is because at the end of the day, the relationship you have with your God is between you and your God. And it’s a very proud and overwhelming defining moment for me in my life, because I’ve always been bashed and told that as a Muslim you can’t do this or as a Muslim, you can’t do that… and yet here I am, showing you that I am a Muslim woman whose empowered, bold, fierce, and still be a real Muslim.

So if theire is one word I can use to describe is empowerment because I feel empowered and I’m grateful for the girls who represented Muslim countries before us.


Danielle Isabelle Dolk, San Pablo, Laguna

What is your beauty essential?

Lipstick and food. We are girls and it is essential for us [the lipstick]. It actually defines out emotions on the color we wear. And happiness because each day, we need to be happy with the situation, we just smile, be confident with yourself.

You are the youngest in this year’s batch and it means you are the baby of the batch. What have you learned from your journey here in Binibining Pilipinas?

Being the youngest, you don’t really feel left out actually. You and your co-candidates, you just bond together like you are as one. You don’t even feel like your age at all. So it’s actually no problem at all.


Mary Faye Murphy, Tarlac

What is your beauty essential?

Concealer. Because we have a busy life and it’s inevitable that you won’t get much sleep at night. So I really use concealer to hide my under eyes.

But beauty comes from yourself so I say that you need inner peace. Inner peace in the sense that there’s no one concept of beauty. you can’t say that beauty is like this… everything is beautiful and that not ust everything is beautiful for you. So if you have inner peace and you know yourself, that this is me, and I accept that and that I am beautiful that no matter what anyone else says.

What would you like people to know more about Tarlac?

Tarlac is called the “Melting Pot of Central Luzon” because a lot of people from different places came to create Tarlac…and if you ask which one I am, I am everything. So you see, there are many kinds of people in Tarlac, so that comes with all the culture.


Jessarie Dumaguing, Puerto Princesa

What is your beauty essential?

For me is lipstick because I always put lipstick on even without anything else. Kasi it will make you look fresh. And the other one is a smile because I think it’s very important to wear a smile every day, every minute, every hour and it makes you feel mabait (nice) and friendly.

You’ve done some modeling before joining the pageant. What lessons have you learned in joining the contest, since modeling is different?

It is different but what I’ve learned is to be independent. Kasi ako dito (Because here) I’m just doing my own makeup and alam mo wala akong (you know, I don’t have) work here. I have to talk to other people and I am very grateful kasi ang daming tumutulong sa akin (because there are people helping me). And I don’t know them but they are all supporting me. And I think being here in Binibining Pilipinas helped me to become more independent, to be strong, and to believe in myself na kaya ko (I can do it).


Alannis Reign Binoya, Batangas

What is your beauty essential?

For me, my eyeshadow and my smile of course. My eyeshadow because ito napapakita kung gaano ka ka-fierce, gaano ka-strong, yung personality mo mapapakita mo sa eyeshadow. And then the second is smile. You always put a smile because doon makikita kung sino ka, kung ano ka, kung masayahin ka ba.

(For me my eyeshadow and my smile of course. My eyeshadow because this what shows how fierce you are, how strong you are, your personality can be shown through eyeshadow. And second is smile. You always put a smile because that’s where people see who you are and how happy you are.)

Given a chance to win a crown in Binibini, how will you promote Batangas? What else do you want to promote about Batangas?

Of course I’ll promote Matabungkay Beach because I am from Lian, Batangas. The people there is very welcoming and the foods are very delicious like kapeng barako, suman, and there’s an area there na gawaan ng alak (wine making area).


Kimberle Penchon, La Union

What is your beauty essential?

I would go for moisturizer kasi sobrang nakaka-dry ng skin yung stress (because stress really dries your skin) and everything. And sleep. You have to have sleep like a lot of sleep, if possible, just sleep like 5 minutes an hour. That’s what I do.

This is not your first time in Binibini. Let’s talk about representing La Union.

Before, I represented Cordillera but now I’m representing my second home which is La Union. And I would want to represent La Union this time because I fell in love with La Union. It’s not my first home but how the people accepted me, how beautiful La Union is, how warm their welcome is to me is an amazing feeling to be welcomed with that kind of characteristic. And what I love about La Union is the waves. I am such a beach person so I love surfing, I love camping around the beach.


Francia Layderos, Libon, Albay


What is your beauty essential?

Smile and high heels

Bicol region has produced a number of beauty queens. For you, what is it about the women of Bicol region that makes them stand out?

What really makes us stand out is the determination we have. I’m actually the first to represent Libon, Albay, that’s actually the last part of Albay. I’m just really honored to be part of Binibining Pilipinas, knowing that I am the first to shout in a national pageant Libon, Albay.

It really makes me happy. So I guess the determination that we have every Albayana to push through with what we want, what our heart desires. That’s really one thing that makes us stand out. And we know we want to represent our country internationally.


Samantha Poblete, Cavite

What is your beauty essential?

For me, I think facial wash because I believe that good skin care will give you good skin of course. And then your beauty will just radiate. The other one would be confidence.

Aside from the historic part of Cavite what is the one thing you would like to promote more about it?

Aside from the historical events and key figures, we also have historical tourist spots. We have churches and also important places that naging key din sa history natin (became keys also in our history).


Vickie Marie Milagrosa Rushton, Negros Occidental

What is your beauty essential?

I am not really into beauty products but what I can really say is sleep and water and I eat a lot of fruits. I don’t eat veggies so binabawi ko siya sa fruits talaga (so I really consume a lot of fruit). And siguro for the pageant is ang importante (what is important) is I have my eyelash curler and my mascara.

This is the second time for you to join Binibini. What has the journey been for you, since you and Samantha Bernardo are trying it again? [Both Vickie and Samantha were 2018 runner ups]

My second try is more fun compared to last year. Because last year it was a last minute decision. This time I decided to join a month before. So I am more prepared now compared last year. And I have a group who really helps me in everything, so I have a wider support compared last year also.


Dia Nicole Magno, Caraga

What is your beauty essential?

Red lipstick and confidence. Heels so I can travel the world.

Let’s talk about being sportswoman [she played competitive badminton] to a beauty queen aspirant. What made you decide to give the pageant scene a try?

I was able to meet Michele Gumabao (Bb Pilipinas Globe 2018 and volleyball player), and she’s an amazing woman. I may not know the reasons why she joined but my reason would be because I really want to help out other people. And I realized through the years, I was able to get good education through my sport and I can also be able to help the youth with it, especially children who don’t really have good education.


Joanna Rose Tolledo, Caloocan

What is your beauty essential?

Sa beauty essentials kasi very important sa akin moisturizer. Hinding-hindi pwede mawala ang moisturizer (When it comes to beauty essential it’s important for me to have a moisturize. I cannot not have moisturizer)... cause it’s very important for me as a morena na hydrated ng moisturizer ang skin ko. And for a beauty regimen, when I was a kid, my mom would be making coconut oil from scratch. And from that coconut oil, I would put rock salt. Tapos yung rock salt and yung coconut oil na iyon, that’s my scrub. Kaya ganito ang skin ko. (Then the rock salt and coconut oil that’s my scrub. That’s why I have this nice skin)

Smile because when you smile, everything follows — your eyes, your movement, everything follows.

There’s a lot of you in this year’s batch that are morena, with beautiful brown skin. There has been this connotation that white is beautiful in this country. How do you think the concept of beauty has changed?

When I was a kid, lagi talaga akong naasar na kulot (I always get teased for wavy hair)…as in super wavy hair and I’m very dark. Tinatawag nila akong kulot salot, if you know Kirara (a character with wavy hair and dark skin), yung ang inaasar sa akin nung bata ako. (They would call me curly bad omen…that’s how kids would tease me)

Now the kids in our community are looking up to me. Akala nila dati when you are maitim (They thought when you are dark), when you’re morena you’re ugly. But no, it’s not like thank you for giving me the confidence. Like there are people who are messaging me thank you so much for giving me confidence in my own skin. Because I am pure Filipina na they are very confident na they are pure Filipina, that they can be called beautiful as well.


Check out Rappler’s coverage of Binibining Pilipinas 2019 here

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Alexa Villano

Alexa is one of Rappler's Lifestyle and Entertainment reporters, covering local entertainment news to a wide range of topics from beauty pageants to reality shows.