I was already working as a reporter for a TV network when Manila
played host to 77 delegates in the 44th Annual Ms. Universe Beauty
Pageant. It was then an awesome experience for me seeing the
world’s loveliest ladies sashaying in their loveliest gowns and
flashing their winning smiles to everyone who attended that
appreciation ball sponsored by an airline company. Seeing the
ladies up close somehow gives you a better view who really has the
most complete package among a field of equally gorgeous rivals.
When India’s Sushmita Sen won that year’s crown, I wasn’t at
all surprised. The only time I met her personally, she was all
over the hotel ballroom, shaking hands and making friends with
Several years later, I experienced attending my second
international pageant. Sheryl Moraga was then representing the
Philippines in the Miss Asia Pacific Beauty Pageant and a friend
literally dragged me to attend the talent night. It was an
altogether different experience. After all the talents have
been performed, the night ended with some disco dancing. I had
the privilege to dance with Misses Korea, Australia, and Macau.
The last even apologized for not being a good dancer since,
according to her, there are not too many discos in her country.
I was able to predict that year’s winner. Emma Savanalat
of Thailand, who played a native musical instrument for the talent
competition, exuded grace, charm and confidence all throughout the
pageant. She was a winner right from the very start.
It had to take four years before I got my third invitation to
attend an international beauty contest. Manila is again
playing host to a large number of delegates from all over the world.
After my two previous pageant experiences I said: well, Miss
Earth’s just going to be like the other two. Just when I
thought that a beauty pageant is a beauty pageant is a beauty
pageant, I was proven wrong.
Last Thursday, thanks to my friend Gerry Diaz of Mabuhay
Pageants, I was able to attend the press presentation of the very
first Miss Earth Beauty Pageant. The thought that this was
Miss Earth’s first year gave me a good feeling. I knew I was
witnessing beauty pageant history unfolding right before my very
eyes. That afternoon, 35 lovely ladies paraded before a very
appreciative media. All the girls were simply spectacular.
Everyone had something very special to offer. Among those who caught
my attention were, in no particular order:
1- Estonia 2- Ethiopia 3- Kazakhstan 4-
Argentina 5- Denmark 6- Latvia 7- Kenya 8- Philippines 9- India 10-
I also wouldn’t be surprised if Brazil,
Croatia, El Salvador, Malaysia, USA and Zanzibar would
pull off surprises - but I guess it’s just too early to tell. The
pageant has only been ongoing for barely a week and, come to think
of it, the roster of delegates isn’t yet complete so let’s not
get too carried away with initial trending. As they say, “it
ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” I would love to see the
girls some more in the next few rounds of competition. In the
final analysis, however, the big winner here is none other than the
world of pageantry. The launching of Miss Earth truly heralds
a new chapter in beauty pageant history as we see it serving as a
catalyst of change - bringing significance to what used to be a mere
contest of physical loveliness.