Reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach relinquished the Bb. Pilipinas-Universe crown to top model Maria Mika Maxine Medina at the Bb. Pilipinas 2016 Grand Coronation Night before a jam-packed crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday night.
A stunning beauty from Quezon City, Medina, a 25-year-old, 5-foot-7 interior designer and part-time model, was predicted to take the top title in this year’s Bb. PiIlipinas pageant, giving high hopes for a back-to-back Miss Universe crown. She had previously entered the competition in 2012 but backed out due to contract conflict issues.
But the real star of the night was Wurtzbach who took a break from her hectic duties as Miss Universe to be in the country and crown her successor. Deafening cheers and screams from the audience greeted her entrance for the traditional farewell speech.
Glowing in a white gown that wowed the crowd, including Miss USA and Miss Universe second runner-up Olivia Jordan, who sat as one of the judges, Wurtzbach took some moments before she could start her message. Her voice breaking while trying to fight back tears, she thanked God, her countrymen, her friends, and Bb. Pilipinas family led by BPCI’s Stella Marquez-Araneta. “I am trembling and I feel like I’m graduating from the class of Bb. Pilipinas, this is the stage where I started,” Wurtzbach said with mixed emotion.
“I would tell the girl to study hard no matter what her parents would tell her because having an education is something that can [(n)ever be taken (away) by] anybody else. Education can make you an even better person,” Medina, who also bagged the Miss Philippine Airlines ((PAL) special award, answered when she was asked, Even if her parents can afford to send her to school, a 15-year-old girl wants to stop her studies. What would be your advice to her?
Kylie Versoza, a 24-year-old, pre-school teacher, and a graduate of Management at Ateneo de Manila University, was named Bb. Pilipinas International and was crowned by last year’s titleholder Janicel Lubina.
Versoza, who hails from Baguio City, took home the Miss Photogenic (Face of Binibini), Manila Bulletin Reader’s Choice, She’s So Jag Jeans, and Ms. Fashionista special awards.
During the Q and A portion of the pageant, Miss USA 2015 Jordan asked Versoza, “Why do you deserve to win a Bb. Pilipinas crown tonight?”
She answered, “The person who deserves to win Bb. Pilipinas crown tonight is the person who has worked hard for it and is willing to do everything to continue the legacy of the Philippines. She is confident with a positive attitude and personality and I believe I am her.”
Jordan, well-remembered by Filipino fans for her warm support when Wurtzbach was announced as the real winner in last year’s pageant in Las Vegas, was well-applauded and was visibly enjoying the program and the popularly regarded world’s best pageant fans. She arrived with Miss Universe Organization Paula Shugart and was joined by Pia’s Miss Universe roommate and close friends Miss Malaysia Vanessa Tevi Kumares and Miss Myanmar May Bayani Thaw. Jordan, who expressed appreciation for the Filipinos’ kindness and hospitality, received a token from pageant fans, a necktie which featured her lovely Miss Universe image.
Others who earned Bb. Pilipinas titles were: Jennifer Hammond, a 20-year-old model and nurse from Laguna who won Best in Evening Gown and succeeded Miss Inter-Continental 2015 first runner-up Christie McGarry; Joanna Louise Eden, a 19-year-old student at De La Salle majoring in International Studies won Best in Swimsuit and succeeded Rogelie Catacutan as Bb. Pilipinas-Supranational 2016; Nicole Manalo, a 26-year-old nurse (sister of Bb. Pilipinas winners Bianca and Kate Manalo) took the title of Bb. Pilipinas Globe succeeding Miss Globe 2015 winner Ann Lorraine Colis and bagged the Miss Creamsilk award; and Nicole Cordoves, a 23-year-old Department of Finance employee, was crowned Bb. Pilipinas Grand International succeeding 2015 Miss Grand International 3rd runner-up Parul Shah.
Angelica Alita, a 20-year-old Oriental Mindoro lass and 21-year-old Jehza Mae Huelar of Davao were named 1st and 2nd runners-up, respectively. Angela Lauren Fernando won the best in national costume award.
In the panel of judges were Paolo Roxas, son of Presidential candidate Mar Roxas and Miss Young International 1971 semi-finalist and Miss Photogenic Maricar Zaldarriaga, Lauren Dyogi, Ian Veneracion, Cory Vidanes, Ambassadors Igor Anatolyevich Khovaev of Russia, Roland Van Remoortele of Belgium, Jan Top Christensed of Denmark, former ambassador Lani Bernardo, Trade and Industry Secretary Adrian Cristobal Jr., BPCI Executive Commissioner Betsy Westendorp and Marquez-Araneta.
The Bb. Pilipinas 2016 pageant was hosted by KC Concepcion and Xian Lim with Laura Lehmann, Bianca Guidotti and Kris Tiffany Janson.