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Philippines remains a pageant powerhouse

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A recap of triumphs in major pageants in 2023

A happy and prosperous New Year to all. Looking back, the Philippines remained a powerhouse country in global beauty competitions, earning good results in major international pageants the past year.

The year’s top story belongs to Michelle Dee’s Top 10 placement in the 72nd Miss Universe, held in El Salvador in November, which marked the country’s return as a semi-finalist in the world’s most popular pageant. 

Dee rocked the Miss Universe finals with show-stopping performance in swimsuit and evening gown competitions but failed to advance in the Top 5. Nevertheless, Dee made history as the candidate with multiple special awards at Miss Universe, to wit, Voice for Change Gold Award (for her advocacy on autism awareness), Fan Vote, Best National Costume, and Spirit of Carnival (given by pageant sponsor Carnival Cruise).

The other big story was Pauline Amelinckx, who almost walked away with the Miss Supranational 2023 crown, placing first runner-up to Andrea Aguilera of Ecuador, held in Malopolska, Poland in July. It was the country’s highest placement since Mutya Datul won the crown in 2013. Amelinckx won the Supra Chat Challenge award.

Pauline Amelinckx places first runner-up at the Miss Supranational 2023

Bb. Pilipinas Nicole Borromeo also made the country proud finishing a respectable 3rd runner-up in Miss International 2023, held in Tokyo, Japan in October. It was the first placement for the country, which had collected one 1st runner-up, two 2nd runners-up, and one 4th runner-up, since 1960. Andrea Rubio of Venezuela won a record 9th Miss International title.

The first quarter of the year saw Maria Luisa Varela winning the Miss Planet International 2023 crown, held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in January.

Miss Universe Philippines 2022 finalist Annabelle McDonnell nearly won the inaugural Miss Charm 2023, held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in February, finishing first runner-up to Luma Russo of Brazil. Then, Ashley Subijano Montenegro made it to the Top 21 of Miss Eco International 2023, won by Nguyen Thanh Ha of Vietnam, held in Cairo, Egypt in March.

Mutya ng Pilipinas beauty Shannon Robinson won Miss Environment International 2023 in Mumbai, India on June 15.

In November, Bb. Pilipinas Anna Lakrini did well ending up 2nd runner-up in Miss Globe 2023, held in Tirana, Albania. Aanavi Kher of Malaysia won the crown.

RJ De Vera secures a back-to-back win at Man Hot Star International 2023

Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism International 2022 Jeanette Reyes took home the Miss Tourism Metropolitan International 2023/24 in Miss Tourism International 2023/24, held in Sabah, Malaysia, won by Tia Li Taveepanichpan, also of Thailand. Reyes also bagged the subsidiary title of Miss Southeast Asia Tourism Ambassadress 2023/2024.

Elda Louise Aznar nearly made it back-to-back in Miss CosmoWorld 2023, finishing as 1st runner-up to USA’s Shelby Ann Howell, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Philippines’ Meiji Cruz relinquished her crown.

In December, Mutya ng Pilipinas 2022 Iona Violeta Gibbs was named in the Top 22 in Miss Intercontinental 2023, held in Sharm-El Sheikh, Egypt, won by Chatnalin Chotjirawarachat of Thailand.

Closing the year was Yllana Marie Aduana, who almost became the country’s 5th Miss Earth, finishing second to winner Drita Ziri of Albania. Aduana took the title of Miss Earth Air 2023 in the 23rd edition of the pageant, held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

In pageants for married women, Meranie Gadiana Rahman, a Filipina representing Hawaii, USA, won the 46th Mrs. Universe title, held in Okada Manila, while Eimee Edralin-Cragun was crowned Elite Mrs. Universe Official 2023, a different pageant, held at Newport World Resorts, Pasay City, both in October.

For the males, Robert Douglas Walcher IV, son of former actress Patricia Javier, brought home the Mister Teen International 2023 title, held in Bangkok, Thailand in June.

James Reggie Vidal was named 2nd runner-up in Man of the World 2023, won by Jin Wook Kim of Korea, held at Samsung Performing Arts Theater in Makati City in June.

Misters of Filipinas RJ De Vera achieved a rare back-to-back victory in Man Hot Star International 2023, succeeding fellow countryman Jovy Bequillo, held in Chon Buri, Thailand in November.

Others were Johannes Rissler made the Top 25 in Mister Supranational 2023, won by Iván Álvarez of Spain, held in Nowy Sacz, Poland in July; Jefferson Bunney who finished in the Top 10 in Mister International 2023, won by Kim Thitisan Goodburn of Thailand, held in Bangkok, Thailand in September; and Ivan Ignacio named 2nd runner-up in 1st Mister Cosmopolitan 2023, won by USA’s Blake Johnston, held in Malaysia in October. 

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