The Philippines is a beauty pageant powerhouse. In the four most important pageants, we have four Miss Universe titleholders namely Catriona Elisa Gray, Pia Wurtzbach, Maria Margarita Moran, and Gloria Maria Diaz plus two first runner-ups, Janine Tugonon and Miriam Quiambao.
For the second most important title Miss World, we have our very own Megan Lynne Young, as the first Filipina to grab the crown. Sharmaine Ruffa Gutierrez was declared second princess. Evangeline Pascual became first runner-up.
We have six Miss International winners and the most beloved are Kylie Verzosa, Bea Santiago, Precious Lara Quigaman, Mimilanie Marquez, Aurora Pijuan, and Gemma Cruz.
The last most coveted pageant title, Miss Earth, our winners include Karla Henry, Jamie Herrel, Angelia Ong, and Karen Ibasco.
These ladies, as described in the most iconic pageant song lyrics are “The perfect symbol of a nation rich in heritage and love,” and yes, we can no longer deny the fact that becoming a beauty title holder is a dream that the majority of young misses and kids want to achieve.
One fine example of a kid who has become a title holder is Marianne Beatriz Bermundo, crowned Little Miss Universe a year ago, which happened at the transcontinental country at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Georgia.
The Little Miss Universe pageant happened during the celebration of the 16th season of the Children’s International Festival of Culture, Style & Arts which transpired during the last week of October. The organizer of the event is the international production company, Universal Productions.
Per its official Facebook page, the motto of the competition is: “Beauty without any standards!” The organizers give the opportunity to everyone who wants to be a representative of their country, who wants to stand out and show their best side, learn to work on themselves, share invaluable experience and grow internally, overcome complexes and become better—the best version of themselves!
This Grade 9 student, an academic achiever at the Pasay City Adventist school says: “Being in a pageant, which was held at Georgia, was an amazing experience. We were more than 30 candidates, bright-eyed misses who were absorbing all the amazing experiences like sponges. It was a new path and journey for me and the rest of my co-candidates and I must be lucky, I guess, to be able to bring home the crown.”
What made her win? Bermundo answers “I think more than the physical beauty, what made me win is the kindness in my heart. That desire to make a difference in the world and the lives of others is not lip service to me. Ginagawa ko po talaga ang pagtulong sa kapwa ko at sa aking komunidad in the best way I can.”
With her great facility in English and her winsome smile and charisma, it is no longer bafflement why she bested the competition in the postcard-perfect country of Georgia.
She carries on: “To become a beauty queen has been a little girl’s dream of mine. Realizing it did not happen overnight. It was a product of determination, hard work, prayers, of course, the love and support from my parents.”
For fun, Marianne likes: “Reading is fun for me since it transports to another place and time. I like to read classic books and other contemporary stuff. It is also my way of improving my vocabulary. I know this seems so old-fashioned. When I encounter a word for the first time, I immediately search for its meaning in the dictionary. I also look for its synonyms or antonyms para mas madali ko siyang ma-grasp at maunawaan.”
Of the many stars in showbusiness, she idolizes Daniel Padilla, “Because he is kind and I love the way he interacts with his fans. And the way he acts, magaling po siya, he is one of my idols talaga, one of my favorite actors,” and of course, Kathryn Bernardo, “I find her beautiful po and napaka-sincere niya po, especially in giving the right emotions of the characters or roles that she portrays.”
To become part of the showbiz industry is also Marianne’s aspiration: “I want to give it a try and if opportunities come my way, I believe I must grab it. I always put my heart and passion into what I do. Kaso, after my reign, I want to do teenage stuff po muna and concentrate on my studies. There is a right time and season for everything. When the time is ripe, and right, to become an actress is another little girl’s dream that hopefully, I realize.”
The future is indeed bright for our very own Little Miss Universe Maureen Beatriz Bermundo. In a few more seasons, she might be the Philippines’s fifth Miss Universe.