Mutya ng Pilipinas candidates to watch

Joyce Burton-Titular
Hours before finals night, find out who among the candidates are commanding attention

PINAY BEAUTY. Who among these lovely ladies will win one of two crowns on July 26? All photos by Arnel Cometa

[Writer’s note: I sat on the board of judges during the 3 Metro Manila screenings where we selected 14 contestants. Because of that, I hesitate to share my favorites…delicadeza for the girls and all. Instead, I’m going to write about which girls are getting the most attention based on their previous experience, early awards and fan following. This article does not reflect my personal choices. I’ll be keeping my list of favorites a secret for now.]

MANILA, Philippines – Pageant fever continues with Mutya ng Pilipinas getting ready to crown two winners tonight, July 26, at the NBC Tent in Bonifacio Global City.

READ: Meet the Mutya ng Pilipinas 2013 candidates

With fashion designer Renee Salud at the helm of the pageant’s search for new Filipina beauties, Mutya ng Pilipinas is reaching new heights. To refresh your memory, last year’s Mutya ng Tourism winner Rizzini Gomez went on to win the crown at the Miss Tourism International held in Malaysia on New Year’s Eve, besting 55 other contestants from all over the world. 

READ: Philippines bags Miss Tourism International crown

Pageant organizers hope that out of 31 contestants tonight, judges will choose two girls who can repeat what Rizzini accomplished last year. The two winners will represent the Philippines abroad, one in the Miss Tourism International 2013/2014 in Malaysia and the other at the Miss Intercontinental 2013 in Egypt.

READ: Miss Tourism International Rizzini Gomez to dance in Sinulog

Let’s look at the landscape of beauties in this year’s bumper crop.

Out of 31 contestants, 7 girls are from Filipino communities abroad: Canada, Arizona, California, Iceland, Maryland, Germany and Scandinavia; two will be representing Mindanao; 5 are from the Visayas and two from the National Capital Region. The remaining 15 hopefuls are from different cities in Luzon.

Mutya #31: Nazita Reyhanian


Fil-Scandinavian representative Nazita Reyhanian is 6 feet tall sans shoes. With the next tallest girls being just 5 feet 8.5 inches tall, Nazita is sure to stand out. Keep an eye on this 24-year-old “giantessa” because, in the world of pageants, height is might.

Mutya #21: Koreen Medina


The most famous face in Mutya ng Pilipinas 2013 is Mutya #21 Koreen Medina who stands 5 feet 6.5 inches. She is a “Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2” contestant, as well as the grand prize winner in the Coca-Cola Music Talent Search in 2011.

The 18-year-old Quezon City resident also happens to be the grand winner of “My Girl,” a pageant-like search on ABS-CBN. So far, she has won 5 special awards in Mutya ng Pilipinas pre-pageant events, including Miss Talent.

Could these early awards be a sign of a crown to come? Hard to tell because the competition is tough. 

Mutya #9: Zandra Flores


Speaking of tough competition, one girl to beat is Mutya #9 Zandra Flores who is an alumna of Bb Pilipinas Gold 2013 and Miss Philippines Earth 2012.

Bb 3: Zandra Flores, 24, Pangasinan

Although the 5 feet 5.5 inch Pangasinense lass did not place in either national pageant, her star is suddenly shining if we are to go by the two major awards she has already received: The Mutya Press Favorite award and the Mutya Photogenic. 

Mutya #6: Angeli Dione Gomez


Another familiar face is Mutya #6 Angeli Dione Gomez whom pageant fans first saw in Bb Pilipinas Gold 2013.

Bb 48: Angeli Dione Gomez, 19, Cebu City

Unfortunately, she did not place in that pageant but perhaps she’ll do better this time around in Mutya ng Pilipinas. So far, the Cebuana charmer has won one early award given by a pageant sponsor.

Mutya #11: Marichat Evaristo


One of the most important awards in any Pinoy pageant is the Best in Long Gown. Although the winner of that award does not always win the crown, it’s a strong indication that she might.

This year’s Mutya Best in Long Gown was given to Mutya #11 Marichat Evaristo from Bacolor. The 5 feet 6 inch Kapampangan also reaped the Mutya Best in Philippine Costume.

Mutya #29: Vina Openiano


While the Best in Swimsuit Award is not as hard-hitting as the Best in Long Gown, it’s still an award that indicates a strong chance at winning or placing high.

This year’s Mutya Best in Swimsuit is Mutya #29 Vina Openiano. Add more points to this Laguna lass for being one of the tallest contestants at 5 feet 8.5 inches.

Mutya #13: Maureen Ann Montagne


There was a time when the Mutya contestants representing Filipino communities abroad were feared by locally-bred contestants. But in recent years, the locals have usurped the queendom.

This year, though, we might see an upset with the girl from Arizona, Mutya #13 Maureen Ann Montagne, who seems to be getting lots of attention from fans. After going through the lists of the wisest pageant pundits online, it seems Maureen is a Top 4 favorite.

So far, the 5 feet 6.5 inch desert rose has won one sponsor award in Mutya ng Pilipinas 2013.

Mutya #15: Asdis Liza Karsdottir


Close on Montagne’s heels is the Icelandic queen Mutya #15 Asdis Liza Karsdottir who stands 5 feet 6 inches. Pageant followers adore her for her ultra-feminine beauty.

Could the two winners be among the above mentioned girls?

One can never tell in something as subjective as a beauty pageant. You also need to give margin for that last-minute bloom that often happens on coronation night, when one of the lesser-noticed girls suddenly dominates the stage. This is why beauty pageants are such a thrill!

But the goal is crystal-clear: to select two Pinays who can represent the Philippines on the international level and win. They’ll be looking for a girl with height, a fierce catwalk, a stunning face (with or without make-up) and a good head on her shoulders.

The coronation night of the 45th edition of the Mutya ng Pilipinas will take place on the evening of July 26 at the NBC Tent and will be televised on Sunday, July 28, 10am on GMA 7. –

Joyce Burton-TitularJoyce Burton-Titular is a Filipina beauty queen with two Binibining Pilipinas titles: Miss Young Philippines 1980 and Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 1985. She currently keeps a beauty queen blog called Adventures of a Beauty Queen.

Joyce has more than a decade of experience as a news presenter. Her main work today is voicing — hers is the voice that reminds you to fasten your seatbelt and turn off your cellular phone when you fly Cebu Pacific.

Joyce is a mother of two, wife of one and the slave of 7 dogs and 7 cats.

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