The newly chartered city of Mandaluyong played
host to the evening gown competition for the candidates of Miss Earth
2001 last October 25, 2001. It acted as a culmination of the various
cultural and civic activities the Miss Earth delegates performed in
the fledgling city during the day.
The event was held in the long-established
Mandaluyong City Gym, an open-air gymnasium beside the City Hall on
Boni Avenue. People from all ages, sizes, religions (I saw a couple of
two old Moslem ladies in the front rows of the audience), and social
standings gathered at 7 PM to await this event. It was a lengthy
two-and-1/4-hour wait before the show began, and the organizers filled
up the time by playing repetitive video clips (featuring the Miss
Philippines – Earth candidates) of the Miss Earth theme song, while
a few at the rafters decided to peer at a night tennis match held
beside the gym. The people were generally very patient waiting for the
show to begin.
After the arrival of Mandaluyong’s mayor
Ben-Hur Abalos and his wife at 9:15 PM, the show promptly commenced
with the National Anthem. This is followed by a flag parade by local
cadets, who circled around the gym three times as a martial anthem
touting the virtues of the city played (to the accompaniment of a
marching band that didn’t march but played at the side of the
gymnasium). The fey yet lively and irrepressible local personality
Nolan Vicente Angeles acted as emcee for the non-competition portion
of the show. His first duty was to introduce a dance number by local
all-boy dance group called First Attraction, who gave an energetic
interpretation of Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca”. After
that number, Nolan introduced the beloved mayor of the city to make
his opening remarks. Mayor Abalos’s remarks are fortunately
substantial and mercifully brief, touting the economic strides his
city took over the past 15 years and thanking the delegates for
gracing his city with
presence. This was then followed by another speech, this one by the
wife of the head of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Mrs.
Corazon de Castro-Abalos (I presume she is Ben-Hur’s mom), who spoke
about her development programs for the women of Mandaluyong. What I
noted most was that she referred to the pageant as “Miss Earth
After that display of “local flavor”,
Nolan turned over the hosting chores to the regular Miss Earth
preliminary competition emcee, Charlie Ysmael. Charlie wasted no time
in presenting the ladies, all bedecked and bejewelled in a colorful
array of (mostly) exquisite evening gowns. No Minka Alagic-style
disasters in the bunch [for non-pageant enthusiasts, Minka Alagic was
Miss Slovenia at last May’s Miss Universe pageant who was notorious
for wearing this monstrous blue-and-yellow “superhero” disaster of
an evening gown]. Almost all of the delegates introduced themselves
with a greeting delivered in Filipino, then of course a message about
Now, here is the rundown of the gowns the
– Daniela Stucan. With Daniela around, this year’s Miss Earth
competition always open on a high note as she made an excellent
impression with her shiny, sexy, and elegant red halter gown. Daniela
announced that she designed the dress herself. She carried herself
impressively with her regal bearing.
– Christa Anderson. Another lady in red, though it’s a little too
simple and the hairstyle was tousled.
– Catherine Villaroel. If Venezuelan contestants in Miss Universe
tend to like white evening gowns, Bolivian delegates tend to favor the
color yellow. Catherine wore a shiny yellow gown, with dangling gold
accessories around the dress. It’s a like-it-or-hate-it proposition
(I personally liked it), but she carried it well with her beauty and
her sweet charm.
– Simone Regis. It was a mixture of old-fashioned regal elegance and
spicy Brazilian sensuality as Simone sported a sexy, low-cut
bejewelled yellow gown. Generated a lot of appreciative gasps from the
5. CANADA –
Michelle Weswaldi. As an antidote to the preceding display of flesh,
Michelle was the picture of debutante innocence in her white petticoat
– Natalia Botero. It’s a beautiful yet simple bustiered white gown
with a tasteful amount of sequins framing the bodice.
CROATIA – Ivana Galesic. Ivana
strutted like a serious-looking Paris / Milan runway model in her
stylishly printed lilac-grey gown with matching shawl. She somehow
reminds me of Felicity’s lead actress Keri Russell in her
controversial shorn-hair phase.
– Catharine Svensson. Catharine wore a simple, yet elegant, white
(though Kyle sees it as powder blue) bodiced gown (similar in design
to Miss Colombia’s) with sexy strings at the back. After introducing
herself she tripped a bit on her way backstage.
9. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
– Catherine Nuñez. The other Catherine wore a flouncy green
ballgown decked with lots of flowers. She accessorized it with an
Egyptian-style tiara on her curly haired head.
10. EL SALVADOR
– Grace Marie Zabaneh. Grace wore a very flattering sequined purple
gown. Simple, yet elegant.
– Evelyn Mikomägi. I thought Evelyn’s going to recycle the gold
Hillary Swank-esque gown she wore at Miss Universe and Miss
Mesoamerica. Thank goodness that is not the case. This is the best
Evelyn has ever looked. The white, sequined gown she wore transformed
her into a regal Audrey-Hepburn-esque European princess -- if Audrey
had a healthier-looking figure. Love the impeccably-styled upswept
hairdo. As usual, also, she gave one of the best speeches, talking
about learning to love oneself and finding your own inner peace. The
results of the presentations (not in the Top 5 in the swimsuit
presentation, for instance, and see below for the outcome of this
competition) do not do justice to her actual performance, in my
12. ETHIOPIA –
Nardos Tilahun. She was the first of only two delegates (the other is
Miss Japan) to appear in a gown with sleeves. She wore a white
short-sleeved see-through gown. If a Hollywood actress wears this
number, she might go without underwear or be bra-less with thong
panties. The modest white bra and panties Nardos wore underneath this
gown actually made the gown more stylish and classy in my opinion. Of
course Nardos continued to strut the stage with aplomb.
– Martina Kortelampi. She wore a very well-designed and sleek black
gown with a sheer midriff that has an opaque diamond pattern at the
– Charlene Figueras. With the forehead jewelry on her head and her
long, long locks parted at the middle and tied loosely and draped on
her right shoulder, Charlene brought an exotic Indian vibe to her dark
fuchsia number. Very unique.
– Carmina Elizabeth Paz. Carmina sported a blue-green sequined and
bejewelled number with a butterfly pattern at the back.
16. HUNGARY –
Krisztina Kovacs. This statuesque six-footer caused a stir with her
va-va-voom sexy extremely low cut glittering dark-gray gown showcasing
her ample upper assets and emphasizing her hourglass figure. She and
Miss Brazil made jaws drop and temperatures rise in this competition.
17. INDIA –
Shamita Singha. Shamita cribbed a bit from the Aishwarya Rai / Lara
Dutta guidebook as she sported an elegant, flesh-colored number that
looks similar to Miss World 1994’s winning gown. The twist on this
gown is that there is no discernable pattern (it’s a solid flesh
color) except for the flower on her right shoulder. Almost as regally
elegant as Aishwarya’s number.
– Monica Rosetti. While Simone and Krisztina capitalized on their
upper portions, Monica showcased her lower extremities with her
glittery white gown with high-cut fishnet slits along both legs.
– Misuzu Hirayama. The chic and stylish Ines Legron regime at Miss
Japan-Universe aside, it seems that the Japanese people’s notion of
glamor and elegance consist mainly of humongous ballgowns and hoop
gowns like Misuzu’s pink and yellow number apparently inspired by
– Margarita Kravtsova. When it comes to catwalk skills Margarita is
peerless. She wore a diagonally striped dark green ballgown that she
dexterously navigated across the stage. The best catwalk of the
KENYA – Aqua Bonsu. Aqua was a
picture of elegance in her simple, flesh-colored strapless gown. Her
self-effacing charm won over the audience even as she mispronounced
the host city as “Malanduyong”.
22. LATVIA –
Jelena Keirane. Jelena sported a shiny blue ballgown that she manages
to carry very well.
– Adelle Boustamy. Adelle was clad in a very simple rubber white
gown accessorized with a necklace with a star dangling on it.
– Joey Eng Li Tan. A sexy dark blue bra-and-skirt ensemble that
showcases Joey’s taut abs.
– Jamie-Lee Huismann. Jamie-Lee sported a two-toned green-and-grey
slim and sheer sequined gown. I bet that if the klieg lights were
brighter we would’ve seen a lot more of Jamie-Lee.
26. NEW ZEALAND
– Abbey Flynn. It’s a full-glitter dark silver metallic gown that
gives a sexy, mermaid-like effect.
27. NICARAGUA –
Karla Jose Leclair. Karla projected her sweet image to the hilt with
this baby blue ballgown that has some silvery patterns along the bust
line going down to the hem.
– Aliana Khan. It’s a mango yellow gown with multi-colored sequins
along the bustier.
– Paola Barreda. It’s a pink and silver bustier gown with an open
midriff. It’s a sexy number framed by an unconventionally-styled
coif (hair sticks out around her head).
– Carlene Aguilar. We have to hand it to our local girl – she is
second to Miss Kazakhstan in catwalk skills this evening. The gown
itself is also very dramatic – a black gown filled with glittery
multi-colored leaf sequins and framed by a billowing sheer red cape.
Exotically accessorized with coral jewelry and crystal beads. The most
sensational presentation of the night.
31. PUERTO RICO
– Amarcelis Reyes. Amarcelis shows a little spice in her elegant
lacy white number with opaque patterns.
– Victoria Bonya. If in most presentations Victoria tends to project
jacked-up-to-11 sensuality, this time she’s in her best behavior as
she’s demure in her royal blue ballgown. Well, there is still a bit
of her sensuality as the gown has a slit down the middle framed by a
–Calista Ng Poh Li. She sported a pink fluffy ballgown with a rose
hanging on the right side.
34. SOUTH AFRICA
– Inecke Van Der Westhuizen. Inecke was a picture of serenity in her
burgundy-maroon sequined and bejewelled gown. The photos don’t seem
to do her justice as she looks exquisitely beautiful this evening –
the camera tends to show harsh lines when in person those features are
actually soft and subtle.
– Noemi Caldas. Noemi sported a yellow gown with gold flowery
– Hsun Yun Chao. She was draped in a blue gown with zig-zag sequined
– Hilda Bukozo. Hilda wore a velvet burgundy number with a shawl.
– Victoria Wachholz. Victoria made a strong impression with her
elegant shimmering white ballgown. Thai ladies, especially back in the
1960s, are often impressive in this category and Victoria continues in
TURKEY – Gozde Bahadir. She
sported a red gown with a sheer shawl, but the highlight was her
slicked-back straight long hair framed by a jewelled headband. She
also gave one of the best catwalks that evening.
40. U. S. A. –
Abigail Royce. Abby looks like a princess in her shiny blue strapless
ballgown. Simple in design, but very, very elegant. Abby glides here.
– Lirigmel Ramos. Lirigmel wore a strapless, busty white gown
accessorized with a pearl choker.
42. ZANZIBAR –
Fatima Sheena Nanty. Fatima typically looks like a teenage ingenue,
but this time she was a picture of polished elegance with her beehive
hairdo and her simple yet exquisite black number.
While the judges submit their votes and the
results were being tallied, the audience were treated to a song number
by one of Mandaluyong’s councilors, Cheche Pablo-Santos, who sang
Basia’s “Promises”. Then, the First Attraction came back to do a
more impressive, high-energy dance number to Missy “Misdemeanor”
Elliott’s “Get UR Freak On” (I didn’t know you can do a
high-energy number to such a song, which boasts an unconventionally
After the two numbers, Charlie Ysmael came
back to announce some special awards. First was the Mabuhay Pageants
Miss Internet prize and it went to Miss India, who got a trophy,
bouquet, sash, and a nice prize. Gerry Diaz was on hand to present the
award. Then, the Miss Friendship prize was announced, and it went to Miss
Japan. Carousel Productions’ EVP Lorraine Schuck, with her
husband Ramon Monzon, were on-hand to present the award. As Misuzu
received her award, her fellow delegates chanted in unison: “Mi-su-zu!
Mi-su-zu! Mi-su-zu!” Of course the finale was the Best In Evening
Gown award. Carousel Productions’ President Ramon Monzon announced
the top five in reverse order, and they are:
4th runner-up: BOLIVIA
3rd runner-up: BRAZIL
2nd runner-up: ARGENTINA
1st runner-up: INDIA
Best In Evening Gown:
Photo ops then ensued, though that lasted a
mere 15 minutes and the Mandaluyong police stepped in to whisk the
winners away. The affair ended at 11:15 PM.
It’s not because I am Filipino, but I do
believe Carlene deserved her award. Her gown might be a bit busy to
some tastes, but she carried it with great aplomb – she delivered
her outfit with the sense of high drama and exoticism that it
deserved. I’m also satisfied with India, Argentina, and Brazil’s
standings, but in the case of Bolivia, well, it’s a good gown, but I’m
more impressed with Miss Estonia’s gown, and it’s such a shame
they ignored Miss Kazakhstan’s command of the catwalk – probably
the diagonally-patterned ballgown wasn’t to the judges’ tastes
(though I personally liked it better than her Miss World gown).
Now, it’s on to the grand finale at the UP
Theater this Sunday!