Binibining Pilipinas

Binibining Pilipinas’ legacy in Philippine pageantry: A look back 

Ysa Abad

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Binibining Pilipinas’ legacy in Philippine pageantry: A look back 

ONCE A BINIBINI, ALWAYS A BINIBINI. The Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. marks its 60th anniversary in 2024.

Rappler file photos

Throughout its 60-year history, the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. has produced at least 14 crowns across several international pageants, including Miss Universe, Miss International, and Miss Globe

Helming the longest-running beauty pageant in the Philippines, the huge role Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) has played in establishing the country as a pageant powerhouse can’t be denied. 

Since its inception in 1964, BPCI, under the leadership of Stella M. Araneta, consistently championed the Filipina beauty through its annual pageant, helping produce at least 14 crowns across several international pageants, as well as numerous runners-up and semi-finalist placements. 

Many of their winning queens – Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973), and Melanie Marquez (1979) for example – have become household names, still remembered decades after they competed. 

Even those who fell short in taking home the crown for the Philippines – Miriam Quiambao (1999), Ruffa Gutierrez (1993), and Maria Venus Raj (2010) to name a few – have won the hearts of many Filipino fans. 

Several Binibining Pilipinas queens have also used their pageant background as a jumping point to enter the showbiz scene. Alongside the pageants, the BPCI run humanitarian missions as well with their candidates, listing on its website its partners and beneficiaries including the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine General Hospital Pediatric Cancer unit, and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society. 

The BPCI marks their 60th year in 2024. Here we take a look back at the organization’s highlights, its early successes, its strong run in the 2010s, and the franchises it has held and lost through the years.

The crowns under BPCI

It was on July 5, 1964 when the first ever Binibining Pilipinas coronation night took place. Only 15 candidates participated, with Myrna Panlilio Borromeo winning the Binibining Pilipinas Universe title. At the time, only the Binibining Pilipinas Universe crown was up for grabs. 

In 1968, BPCI acquired the Miss International franchise. For its 1969 edition, Gloria Diaz was crowned Binibining Pilipinas Universe while Margaret Rose Montinola was named the first Binibining Pilipinas International. 

Even in its infancy, BPCI proved that they were a pageant organization to watch out for. 

In a span of 10 years from 1969 to 1979, they produced two titleholders each for the Miss Universe and Miss International pageants. 

Gloria Diaz became the first Filipina to win the Miss Universe crown in 1969, with Margie Moran following closely with another win in 1973. Having two crowns within four years was a huge feat for the Philippines as at that time, only two other countries had reached that milestone: the United States and Brazil. 

Meanwhile, Aurora Pijuan won the Miss International crown in 1970 while Melanie Marquez took home another Miss International title for the Philippines in 1979. 

BPCI’s first decade of handing both huge pageant franchises were, indeed, remarkable. 

Aside from the two Miss Universe crowns, there were also one runner-up (1974’s Rose Marie Brosas-Hahn finished as 4th runner-up) and three semi-finalist placements (1965’s Louise Vail Aurelio and 1966’s Maria Clarinda Soriano both entered Top 15 while 1972’s Armi Barbara Crespo finished in the Top 12). 

As for the Miss International pageant, it was only in 1974 and 1978 when the Binibining Pilipinas representative didn’t make it to the semi-finals during its first 10-year run. 

Notably, there were also consecutive runners-up finishes from 1971 to 1973 – Evelyn Camus and Yolanda Dominguez both earned the 2nd runner-up title while Maria Elena Ojeda finished as 4th runner-up. Philippines finished as part of the Top 15 during the 1969, 1975, and 1976 editions. 

While Miss Universe and Miss International were the biggest titles under their belt, BPCI also awarded minor crowns during its early years. From 1970 to 1985, they sent representatives to the Miss Young International pageant. BPCI also held the franchise to the Miss Maja International competition from 1973 to 1992, 1995, and 2004. 

Before the Miss World Philippines competition became a standalone pageant, the franchise was also under BPCI from 1992 to 2010. With this, the BPCI had held the Philippine franchises for three out of the so-called “big four” international pageants for women: Miss Universe, Miss International, and Miss World. 

Unfortunately, no representative from BPCI won the Miss World title, with 1993’s Ruffa Gutierrez the closest one to the crown, having finished as 2nd runner-up.  As of writing, the Philippines has only won the Miss World title in 2013 through Megan Young, a time when the franchise was no longer with BPCI. 

After losing the Miss World Philippines franchise, BPCI started acquiring more pageant franchises in the early 2010s. 

In the 2011 to 2014 editions, the Miss Tourism Queen International crown was under their roster. They had the Miss Supranational crown from 2012 to 2019. They acquired Miss Intercontinental in 2014 and Miss Grand International in 2015 but lost both in 2022. Since 2015, BPCI has been fielding the country’s representatives to the Miss Globe pageant. 

From 2016 to 2019, the Binibining Pilipinas competition was, arguably, the most highly-anticipated pageant for candidates and fans alike. During these editions, BPCI were handing out six titles: Binibining Pilipinas Universe, Binibining Pilipinas International, Binibining Pilipinas Supranational, Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental, Binibining Pilipinas Globe, and Binibining Pilipinas Grand International. 

A big setback came in December 2019 when BPCI lost the Miss Universe franchise, 55 years after it acquired it. The franchise was transferred to the Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) Organization, which has been choosing the country’s representative for the Miss Universe pageant since 2020.

Aside from the Miss Universe title, BPCI also lost the Miss Supranational franchise in 2020 to the Miss World Philippines organization, but was later placed under the MUPH franchise. For both of its 2022 and 2023 editions, the MUPH organization has been in charge of sending the Philippines’ delegate for the Miss Supranational competition. 

Throughout its 60-year history, it was only during its 2020/2021 edition that the annual pageant had to delay its coronation night. Due to the global pandemic, BPCI had to postpone its initial 2020 edition and only held the coronation ceremony a year later, in 2021. It’s considered to be the longest edition of a national pageant in the Philippines in recent pageant history. 

For its 2021 and 2022 editions, candidates vied for any of the four titles: Miss International, Miss Grand International, Miss Globe, and Miss Intercontinental. 

Later in 2022, BPCI withdrew from the Miss Grand International franchise, while  the Miss Intercontinental pageant forged ties with Mutya ng Pilipinas instead, leaving BPCI with just two titles since then: Binibining Pilipinas International and Binibining Pilipinas Globe

And while this might be the fewest number of crowns in the pageant’s history in recent years, the legacy that the Binibining Pilipinas competition has built make them still one of the highly-anticipated pageants in the country.

The mark of a Binibini

The Philippines’ status as a pageant powerhouse wasn’t earned overnight. From starting as an underdog, the country’s long and winding journey to being a heavyweight in the international pageant scene also included sporadic wins and consecutive years of non-placements. 

And the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. bore witness to that. 

Through BPCI, Filipina representatives captivated the international pageant scene with their wit, poise, and charisma – easily making them among the candidates to watch for. 

All in all, over the years of handling several franchises under their belt, BPCI produced four Miss Universe wins, five Miss International wins, two Miss Globe wins, one Miss Supranational win, and two Miss Intercontinental wins. 

For the Miss Universe pageant, the four titleholders from the Philippines – 1969’s Gloria Diaz, 1973’s Margie Moran, 2015’s Pia Wurtzbach, and 2018’s Catriona Gray – were all from BPCI. The country ranks fourth in the list of countries with the most Miss Universe crowns after the United States, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico. 

BPCI also produced eight runners-up and 11 semi-finals placements in Miss Universe.

Many of those came in the decade from 2010 to 2019, starting from Venus Raj’s 4th runner-up placement in 2010 to Gazini Ganados’ Top 20 finish in 2019. In that span of time, BPCI had the two crowns, four runners-up, and four semi-finals placements. (RELATED STORY: LOOK BACK: Filipina queens at the Miss Universe pageant)

BPCI produced even more wins in the Miss International pageant. The Philippines is home to six Miss International crowns – five of which are queens from Binibining Pilipinas. Gemma Cruz Araneta was the first Filipina to win the Miss International crown in 1964, but she wasn’t a product of the Binibining Pilipinas pageant as the franchise was under Miss Philippines at that time.

Over their 55 years of fielding candidates to the Miss International pageant, BPCI produced five crowns, five runners-up, and 22 semi-finalist placements. 

Aurora Pijuan was the first Binibining Pilipinas International queen to take home the crown in 1970 followed by Melanie Marquez in 1979.

Coming from a successful decade, the Philippines would undergo several decades of mediocre performances. From 1980 to early 2000s, all Filipina representatives would only have a semi-finals placement, only entering the pageant’s Top 15 or Top 12. 

It was only in 2005 when Precious Lara Quigaman ended the drought by securing the Philippines’ fourth Miss International crown (and third under BPCI). Since then, the majority of the country’s delegates in the Miss International pageant have also landed semi-finals placements. Only candidates in 2006, 2007, 2014, and 2017 had their pageant stints ended early. 

The Philippines also didn’t have to wait for another decade before taking home another Miss International crown. In 2013, Bea Rose Santiago won the title, with Kylie Versoza being the latest Filipina to do so in 2016. (RELATED STORY: LOOK BACK: Filipina queens and the Miss International crown)

As for their other recent pageant franchises, BPCI had the following: 

  • Miss Globe: two crowns, four runners-up, two semi-final placements
  • Miss Intercontinental: two winners, three runners-up, and three semi-final placements
  • Miss Supranational: one winner, one runner-up, six semi-final placements
  • Miss Grand International: four runners-up and one semi-final placements

Moreover, the BPCI has also been known for producing “successful batches,” which means several delegates from the same year secured semi-final placements in their respective pageants. Some of these successful batches in the past 15 years include: 

  • 2013: Miss International Bea Rose Santiago, Miss Supranational Mutya Daul, and Miss Universe 3rd runner-up Ariella Arida
  • 2015: Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Globe Anna Lorraine Colis, Miss Intercontinental 1st runner-up Christi Lynn McGarry, and Miss Grand International 3rd runner-up Parul Shah
  • 2018: Miss Universe Catriona Gray, Miss Intercontinental Karen Gallmen, and Miss International 1st runner-up Ahtisa Manalo 
  • 2021: Miss Globe Maureen Montagne and Miss Intercontinental Cinderella Obeñita

The BPCI’s legacy is a well-decorated one, and as it celebrates it 60 years, pageant fans are looking forward to more successful campaigns. – Rappler.com

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