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IN PHOTOS: Samantha Bernardo's journey to the Miss Grand International Philippines crown

After 3 years of waiting, Samantha Bernardo is finally getting the chance to compete in an international pageant. On Friday, February 5, the Miss Grand International organization confirmed on its Facebook page that Samantha, 28, will represent the Philippines in Thailand on March 27.

Samantha, who was Binibining Pilipinas 2nd runner-up twice (in 2018 and 2019), will vie for the gold crown, which the Philippines has yet to win. The highest placement thus far was courtesy of Nicole Cordoves, who was 1st runner-up in 2016.

Bb Pilipinas has yet to issue a formal statement of Samantha's appointment but already shared the confirmation of her participation on its social media accounts.

In an interview with Rappler Monday, February 8, the Palaweña beauty queen said she will definitely miss the friendship between the contestants from 2020-2021 batch of binibinis.

"I will miss all the ladies but I know I can still see and bond them after this year," she said. "I can say that I got closest in this batch because of the pandemic."

As she prepares for the competition, let's look back at Samantha's journey to the Miss Grand Philippines crown.

2018: A good start

Samantha was among the candidates who joined the screening for the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 pageant alongside heavy favorites such as Catriona Gray, Aya Abesamis, Karen Gallman, and Vickie Rushton.

Catriona went on to win Miss Universe, Karen as Miss Intercontinental, and Vickie as Binibining Pilipinas 2018 1st runner-up.

Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Samantha during the press presentation in 2018. Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Official Bb Pilipinas portraits

Here are some of Samantha's photos taken by Bb Pilipinas and Raymond Saldaña.

Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Pre-pageant activities

Samantha took part in the pageant's activities, such as a visit to the Art Gallery, the Parade of Beauties, the national costume, and fashion show and the talent competition.

Samantha showcased her gymnastic and dance skills during the talent competition. Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Samantha during the Jag Jeans fashion show in 2018. Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Samantha during the national costume portion in 2018

File photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Samantha during the 2018 Parade of Beauties

File photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

Pageant night

During the 2018 edition, Samantha showed why she was considered a threat to many heavy favorites. She ended as 2nd runner-up in the contest.

Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Samantha during the swimsuit round. Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Samantha during the evening gown competition. Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Photo from Bb Pilipinaas

2019: Taking the risk

In 2019, Samantha decided to give another shot in Bb Pilipinas. The same year, Vickie also gave up the 1st runner-up crown to compete again.

Samantha once again ended up as the 2nd runner up.

Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Samantha during the 2019 press presentation

Photo by Dion Besa

Samantha in her national costume by Patrick Isorena

File photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

Samantha during the World Balance fashion show

File photo by Rob Reyes

Samantha during the 2019 Parade of Beauties

File photo by Rob Reyes/ Rappler

Samantha during the fashion show sponsored by Miss Universe Philippines and Bb Pilipinas

Photo by Dion Besa/Rappler

Samantha showcases her dancing skills during the talent competition in 2019

File photo by Dion Besa/Rappler

Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Samantha during the swimsuit competition in 2019

File photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Samantha during the evening gown competition in 2019

File photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Photo from Bb Pilipinas

2020: The last shot at the crown

In 2020, Samantha once again gave up the 2nd runner-up position and joined screenings one more time. She was able to take part in some of the activities, until the pandemic happened.

Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Photo from Bb Pilipinas

Photo by Raymond Saldaña/Bb Pilipinas

Photo by Raymond Saldaña/Bb Pilipinas

Photo from Bragais/Bb Pilipinas

Her national costume created by Patrick Isorena was among those featured in a photo exhibit that opened at the Gateway Mall. The photo was shot by Raymond Saldaña.

Raymond Saldaña/Bb Pilipinas

After news came out she was set to represent the Philippines in the pageant, Samantha posted a short message on her social media accounts. In a series of photos, Samantha wore the Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2020 sash.

"Isang karangalan, Mahal kong Pilipinas." (It's an honor, my beloved Philippines.)

– Rappler.com

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.

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