MANILA, Philippines – Nicole Borromeo took home the title of Binibining Pilipinas International 2022 during the pageant’s coronation night at the Araneta Coliseum, which began late Sunday evening, July 31 and ended up running until the early hours of Monday, August 1.
The 21-year-old stunner from Cebu bested 39 other candidates to succeed Masbate’s Hannah Arnold.
Seasoned beauty queen
Although young, the interior design student is not an amateur in the pageant scene, having won the titles of Reyna ng Aliwan 2019 and Sinulog Festival Queen 2019.
Nicole has represented Cebu in different national pageants such as Miss Millennial Philippines, wherein she won the title in 2019, and Miss Teen Philippines, wherein she placed 2nd runner-up in the 2019 edition.
But Nicole’s pageant journey also had its highs and lows. A 2019 report by DZRH News Television, however, showed that Nicole was dethroned from her Reyna ng Aliwan reign as a consultant, citing that she was “unable to fulfill her commitments according to the terms and conditions of the contract which she and her manager signed.”
This obviously did not stop her from continuing her pageant stint – eventually joining the 2022 edition of the Binibining Pilipinas pageant where she took home the Binibining Pilipinas International crown.
Being a familiar face, Nicole easily caught the attention of pageant fans, eventually becoming one of the frontrunners as she delivered stellar performances in the pre-pageant activities.
For the talent show, Nicole showcased her impressive drawing skills as she made a sketch of what the Binibini Sisterhood meant to her. “Even [at] times when we feel most alone, there are often people wanting to walk through the darkness together with you,” she wrote.
She also made waves online with her perya-inspired national costume, which was designed by Axel Que – the genius behind the Bakunawa national costume worn by Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Beatrice Luigi Gomez and the Mayari avant-garde costume worn by Miss World Philippines 2020 Tracy Maureen Perez. Interestingly enough, Nicole, Bea, and Tracy all hail from Cebu City.
“With the colors of pride combined with sleeves forming the silhouette of Magellan’s Cross, it honors the grand Sinulog Festival and serves as an integral link to Cebu’s rich history. The bright and bold colors symbolize the dreamlike melody of carousels to the joyous revelry,” Nicole described her avant-garde ensemble.
During the coronation night, Nicole made a reference to Odette-stricken Cebu when she shared what she hopes to see in the Philippines in the next six years. “Last December, I experienced the worst typhoon in my life. Homes were destroyed and I hope, I wish, that in the six years, not only are we gonna get more resilient housing but also a more united nation,” she said when she was called as part of the Top 12 finalists.
For the question and answer portion, Nicole was asked by actor Donny Pangilinan: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate yourself as a responsible Filipino citizen, and why?”
Her winning answer was: “As a responsible Filipino citizen, I’d like to give myself a good 8, because I know there’s always room to improve; there’s so much I don’t know, but there’s so much I’m willing to learn. I hope to do that with you.”
Although she succeeded Hannah, it will be Hannah who will represent the Philippines in the 60th edition of the Miss International pageant this December 2022 given pandemic delays. Nicole will be joining the international pageant next year.
In an interview after the pageant, Nicole said that she sees that as an advantage for her. “I’m very proud because I have a lot more time to prepare, for one. Meaning, my reign will also be a little longer and I will get the chance to make a difference to partner up with organizations that Binibini has,” she said.
When she’s not wearing her beauty queen cap, Nicole is busy working as a model and pursuing her bachelor’s degree in interior design at the School of Architecture, Fine Arts, and Design of the University of San Carlos.
In her Binibining Pilipinas profile, she mentioned that her role models include interior designer Dianne Versoza and Filipina marine conservationist Anna Oposa. Her interests and hobbies also include furniture refurbishing, DIY projects, and photography. Some of her artworks were also posted on her Instagram account.
Nicole is also not afraid to show her quirky personality, sharing makeup and exercise tips, and also lip synching to audio content on TikTok. As of this writing, the beauty queen has 150,000 TikTok followers.
@nicole.borromeo still healing from the bruises #foryoupage #foryou #fyp ♬ original sound – Briar May Sion
A quick stroll through her Instagram page also shows that Nicole is in a happy relationship with Giles Benedicto.