Note: The story below first appeared on pageant writer Norman Tinio's blog. It is republished here, with his permission.
MANILA, Philippines – It is personally mind-boggling to come up with a theme for my annual Bb. Pilipinas predictions. I always need to exceed the last so it takes me weeks to actually settle with one that feels right. But when the vision of a hand holding a lottery ball suddenly entered my head, I knew right then and there that this is it!
So enough with the prologue! Here now are my initial “hard-to-filter” 18 potentially winning numbers from a field of 40 Binibinis.
God knows I tried to keep the winning numbers to just 15. But I had extreme difficulty removing 3 names in excess. So for the sake of recognizing their hardwork and commitment in meeting and performing the demands of BPCI from all Binibinis, I want to share the complete lineup (18/40 if you will) before starting with the dreaded cuts.
Below is the first elimination where I finally give you the 15/40 collection of probable winning numbers come April 17. It is with a sad heart that I bid goodbye to Binibinis 13 Joanna Eden, 18 Sheena Dalo and 39 Ria Rabajante at this point.
So why the confidence in showing a top-to-bottom placement of numbers in the list of my personal Top 15? It’s because I can feel that the 6 occupying the highest tiers would be the ladies who have made significant progress in the competition.
They are Binibinis 29 Maxine Medina, 31 Kylie Verzosa, 11 Nicole Cordoves, 28 Nichole Manalo, 27 Dindi Pajares and 14 Paula Rich Bartolome. This group showed consistency all around – the kind that never gets lost in the eyes of BPCI. And from any outsider’s point of view, you cannot argue with this field because they are indeed the most precious gems going into the homestretch.
Bear in mind as well that with 6 titles to be given away, 1-2 more candidates are likely to be accommodated as runners-up (as opposed to my original assumption that only one will be called as such). And in the same light, one of the comers in the next tiers could even spoil it for one of the first 6 based on recency, or the near-last-minute appreciation of one or two as deserving titleholders. I include Binibinis 36 Maria Gigante, 7 Angelique de Leon and 22 Apriel Smith. And why not make it a quartet? I will throw in a wildcard for good measure. Let’s factor in Binibini 38 Angelica Alita in the mix. And she completes a group of 10.
From where I stand, you cannot discount their effect on the competition. Call them middling, but they have the best chances of putting in good performances until the dust settles.
The other 9 candidates
So now that we have a Top 10 going, I am taking the probable winning combinations from among these numbers: 29, 31, 11, 28, 27, 14, 36, 7, 22 and 38.
It gets very complex from hereon now as there are many considerations that need my attention, with age and the profiles of each international competitions as prime prediction movers.
Possible Winning Combinations
Before I get to the task of giving my forecast on the titleholders, let me give you a quick assessment of the quartet I added to the six 6 Binibinis on top.
Binibinis 22 Apriel Smith and 38 Angelica Alita are my likeliest title-spoilers because I can see both ladies getting the halo from BPCI. If not for their young ages (both are 20 years old), I could easily assign them titles. But in the final analysis, they can still patiently wait while getting deeper into the good graces of the organizers.
As for the runners-up, my mind is settled with Binibinis 7 Angelique de Leon and 36 Maria Gigante. But beware! Even for these placements, a possible spoiler could be beckoning. And she is Binibini 23 Angela Gene Valdes.
THE LIKELIEST WINNING COMBINATION
I have three (3) contenders for Miss Universe Philippines 2016, 4 if I stretch it just a little more. One of them – Binibinis 11 Nicole Cordoves, 28 Nichole Manalo, 29 Maxine Medina and possibly 31 Kylie Verzosa – will definitely win the biggest prize. So whoever catches the biggest break on finals night will become the national successor of Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.
Binibini 28 Nichole Manalo is already 26 years old, so she could get some sort of an upper hand here, age-wise. But Binibini 29 Maxine Medina – at 25 – is now at her peak (and continuously doing so with a well-oiled gameplan behind her back) so the two consecutively-numbered opponents will be up for a thrilling one-on-one. The advantage of the latter is her warm, vibrant and relatively more articulate self, while the former has the arresting face and regal aura.
In the end, I went for Maxine because she has the Miss Universe package going for her. If we are dead serious in getting an excellent chance for either a 4th win (of which I am not too confident of achieving yet because of so many factors in consideration) or Top 3/5 placement, then this professional model could be the best bet.
For Bb. Pilipinas International, Binibinis 11 Nicole Cordoves and 31 Kylie Verzosa are the ones whom I feel will battle it out for this one. This is tricky in the sense that the latter wants to get Universe more than anything else. So if the judges and BPCI see it fit to give her that, then it is also likely that this pair will max out the top two titles. My gut feel is that the former Miss Chinatown Philippines can pull the Japan competition to her favor with an impressive Q&A and an over-all peg that is more tailor-made for Miss International.
And for the remaining 4 of the 6 titles, I can now make educated guesses with more clarity. Bb. Pilipinas-Supranational is now third in rank – with the corresponding contest in Poland having made great strides in organization and prestige. I can definitely see Binibini 31 Kylie Verzosa claiming it. She will be a mighty fine representative to Poland if ever.
As for Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental, Binibini 28 Nichole Manalo is where I would confidently see her doing well. After Christi Lynn McGarry’s 1st runner-up finish during the last, I can feel our first Miss Intercontinental crown finally having a successful Filipina claimant this year for as long as we send a candidate with the kind of strong presence that this dramatically transformed member from the Manalo clan has.
I assigned Binibini 27 Dindi Pajares to Bb. Pilipinas-Globe as early as last week. She could be the best bet to go for a back-to-back win in Canada. Her sunny disposition and unmistakable stage presence will definitely catch fire following the commanding presentations of Ann Colis in 2015.
How about Bb. Pilipinas – Grand International? Binibini 14 Paula Rich Bartolome is the one I feel who can be well-liked by the owner of Miss Grand International in the looks and height department. And with the 2016 edition said to be happening in Las Vegas, she will attract such a good Filipino community following there.
So that wraps up my predictions for another edition of Bb. Pilipinas. Who do you think will take the crowns this year? Let us know in the comments below. – Rappler.com