MANILA, Philippines - On March 18, the 50 Binibining Pilipinas 2013 candidates met the press in an invite-only event at the Rizal Ballroom of the Makati Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City.
The stage glittered as lights were beamed upon the 50 beauties who emerged onstage in stylish swimwear.
The number “50” was made even more significant by the commemoration of Binibining Pilipinas’s 50th-year anniversary, hence the Twitter hash tags #50beautifulyears, #binibinigold, and #bbp2013 used by the organization's social media team.
Rappler's hash tag is #bbpilipinas2013.
Binibini 19 Hannah Ruth Sison has reason to be proud of her body
Miss Universe first-runner-up and reigning Binibining Pilipinas-Universe Janine Tugonon led the bevy of beauty queen hosts.
Binibining Pilipinas president Stella Marquez-Araneta led the panel of judges. Jonas Gaffud, the man who trained Miss Universe placers Janine Tugonon, Venus Raj, and Shamcey Supsup was also in the audience.
Although every candidate brought their unique brand of beauty to the stage, there were some crowd favorites like Camille Carla Nazar and Zandra Flores.
According to Rappler's Kai Magsanoc, most of the beauties were morena. Interestingly, the most recent Miss Universe placers from the country — Janine Tugonon, Shamcey Supsup, and Venus Raj — are also all morena. (Candidate number 33, Parul Shah, is also half-Indian like Raj.)
The second half of the whole-day event showcased a national costume competition during which 49 of the contestants (Binibini 7 Maria Ivy Kristel Gonzales did not join) lit up the stage in their dazzling, intricately-designed costumes.
Imelda Schweighart is the youngest Binibining Pilipinas candidate at 17
Binibini 45 Imelda Schweighart, the youngest of the bunch at 17, glowed in an all-gold gown with headgear. She was one of the only two candidates in the competition whose national costume came with pants.
Ariella Arida, Binibini 41, amazed the crowd with a spectacular all-bead ensemble that must've taken weeks to finish.
Binibini 41 Arielle Arida amazes with her all-bead gown
Binibini 3 Zandra Flores wore a costume inspired from the many Philippine festivals honoring the Santo Niño. She even had a grass skirt, an image of the Santo Niño, and a giant rosary.
Among the judges for the national costume portion were Stella Marquez-Araneta and Miss Universe 2011 3rd-runner-up Shamcey Supsup.
The winners of the national costume competition will be revealed during the Binibining Pilipinas coronation night on April 14.
Crowd favorite Zandra Flores wore a costume inspired by Santo Niu00f1o festivals in the Philippines
The pageant will crown 3 women: Miss Universe-Philippines, Binibining Pilipinas-International, and Binibining Pilipinas-Tourism.
The National Costume portion wrapped up the day
The candidate to be crowned Miss Universe-Philippines will compete in the Miss Universe pageant.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.