Miss Universe Philippines

Miss Universe Philippines 2021: Who will survive?

Pathrick Fernandez
Miss Universe Philippines 2021: Who will survive?

Miss Universe Philippines

Who's most likely to win it all on September 30? Pageant expert Norman Tinio weighs in.

This year’s edition of Miss Universe Philippines is something akin to a survival drama of a beauty pageant. For this story, I’ll be comparing it to the Netflix hit series The Squid Game, where the original participants were gradually eliminated through a series of games (read: virtual challenges and physical tasks conducted inside a bubble) en route to determining only one winner who will take it all in the end. 

At the onset, the 100 official delegates were like going through a “Red Light, Green Light” race where only the top 75 were quick enough to reach the determining marker that would signal another round of play in the second stage. Twenty-five aspirants fell by the wayside in the process. 

And when it was “Sugar Honeycomb” time, the ladies had to decide which route will make it easy for them to pass through the eye of a needle. The ones who were smart enough to trust their gut-feel went with fan votes, while the rest chose the difficult route – judgment from the organizers. When it was time to carve their own fate in the competition, only fifty (50) pushed themselves forward to keep their pageant dreams alive. 

At this point, the battle is now becoming a tug-of-war between the neophytes and the experienced pageant-joiners. Who are measuring up to the efforts of the front-runners? And who remained middling – relying mostly on popularity votes that would save them from getting wiped out before the most important cut of all? Pageant fans and supporters scrambled to save their bets up to the last minute. On the other hand, the delegates whose popularity reach were not strong prayed hard in hopes that they had done enough to level up.

Only thirty (30) from the original roster remain standing after pulling the long end of the rope to their side. These finalists – a good mix of familiar and new faces – moved on to the more exciting parts of the journey, traveling to Clark, settling down at the Hilton Clark Sun Valley Resort, coming together physically to meet their opponents face-to-face, doing endless sponsor shoots, walking the runway, and getting grilled for the crucial preliminaries before flying to Bohol for the final leg of the big event.

Twenty-eight finalists – net of the two ladies (Joanna Rabe of Zambales and Ybonne Ortega of Davao City) who had to withdraw for health reasons – are now billeted at the Henann Resort Alona Beach in Panglao Island where they excitedly await the much-anticipated denouement of it all.

Who will go for all the marbles?

The ultimate format will take on a 16-10-5 contest template before Miss Universe Philippines 2021 gets to be crowned by Rabiya Mateo on September 30.

So without further ado, my final forecast for the top 16 are listed as follows:

Miss Universe Philippines/Shein
  1. Katrina Jayne Dimaranan of Taguig
  2. Beatrice Luigi Gomez of Cebu City
  3. Steffi Rose Aberasturi of Cebu Province
  4. Leren Mae Bautista of Laguna
  5. Izabella Jasmine Umali of Manila
  6. Chella Grace Falconer of Misamis Oriental
  7. Victoria Velasquez Vincent of Cavite 
  8. Maureen Wroblewitz of Pangasinan
  9. Janela Joy Cuaton of Albay
  10. Mirjan Hipolito of Angeles
  11. Kisses Delavin of Masbate (who is likely to win the Lazada Fan Votes Fast-Track)
  12. Christelle Abello of Aklan 
  13. Simone Nadine Bornilla of Marinduque
  14. Ingrid Teresita Santamaria of Paranaque
  15. Maria Corazon Abalos of Mandaluyong 
  16. Rousanne Marie Bernos of San Juan

This writer came up with the names above based on a combination of their performances during the pre-recorded preliminaries, various social media guestings, virtual challenges (including the tourism videos, plus the interviews) and a personal assessment of their chances of doing well during the finals at the Henann Resort Convention Center.

From where the armchair judging begins, it won’t require a lot of thinking to determine who are likely to enter the Top 10. Based on how they delivered in the preliminary competition, the ten ladies ranked highest should make the cast after the swimsuit and evening gown portions. And from this smaller group, the casual interviews are likely to produce the ones in the upper tier and otherwise.  

The bridge to victory

My top five who will attempt to cross the final hurdle towards the crown are:

  1. Katrina Jayne Dimaranan of Taguig
  2. Beatrice Luigi Gomez of Cebu City
  3. Steffi Rose Aberasturi of Cebu Province
  4. Leren Mae Bautista of Laguna
  5. Izabella Jasmine Umali of Manila
From left to right: Katrina Jayne Dimaranan, Beatrice Luigi Gomez, Steffi Rose Aberasturi, Leren Mae Bautista, and Izabella Jasmine Umali in Shein, the pageant’s official clothing sponsor.
Miss Universe Philippines/Shein

The tougher question-and-answer segment should take centerstage at this point. And this is where presence of mind and nerves of steel will be of utmost importance. Predictions are open to an assortment of combinations. Whoever nails her answer/s (something that even this writer cannot accurately guess or read inside a crystal ball) with the confidence of a winner will be crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2021.

The judges will do their final rankings (and a possible deliberation on who really deserves to finish on top) and decide on the ones to fill up the runner-up positions and who will actually wear the now-iconic “Filipina” crown.

She is the one who will prepare for the bigger mission at the resort town of Eilat in Israel, where the 70th Miss Universe will be chosen in December.

Who will cross the finish line first?

Wrapping-up, Katrina Jayne Dimaranan of Taguig is the complete package – she’s tall, smart, with a beautiful face, sexy body, and an engaging personality. While she may not be perfect in the eyes of some, this 28-year-old could be the country’s best bet for another Miss Universe crown.

She has shown what wonders prior experience and training in both the national and international levels can do to a contender’s game plan. If she regrettably falters when it matters most, then one of the two highly-regarded Cebuanas – the openly gay Beatrice Luigi Gomez of Cebu City or the well-loved Steffi Rose Aberasturi of Cebu Province – can steal the limelight. Still, I am hoping for a welcome surprise from either Leren Mae Bautista of Laguna or Izabella Jasmine Umali of Manila. Making it to the Top 5, though, is no small achievement. 

Miss Universe Philippines 2021 will be the first national beauty pageant winner in the Philippines to have actually gone through a new hybrid of virtual and physical competitions. She’s bound to carry the organization’s catch phrases – #PhenomenalWoman and #InspireYou – all throughout her reign. – Rappler.com