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Bb. Pilipinas Marks golden year

Manila, Philippines – GOLDEN YEAR – Highspeed’s beauty expert Jay P. Delgado sends this update on Bb. Pilipinas.

MARIEL De LeonBINIBINING Pilipinas, the country’s premiere beauty pageant, is celebrating its 50th year this year with the grand coronation night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on April 14 being anxiously awaited by pageant aficionados. For sure, Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) and ABS-CBN will not leave anything to chance to make it the grandest and most spectacular pageant yet.

Begun in 1964 to choose the country’s representative to the Miss Universe Pageant, Bb. Pilipinas quickly grew in prestige and following and its international pageant franchises now also include Miss International, Miss Supranational, and Miss Tourism Queen International. It has also previously sent delegates to Miss World, Miss Globe and the now defunct Maja International and Miss Young International tilts.

50 CANDIDATES — Fittingly, Bb. Pilipinas selected 50 official candidates this year to make up the “golden” batch of the pageant, the biggest number of contestants in decades. This Highspeeder remembers as many as 60 or 70 contestants parading in swimsuits and long gowns at the finals at the Big Dome in the early 70s with the winners finally being crowned at 2 or 3 in the morning.

This year’s contestants include professionals and students as well as showbiz personalities. Two of the most photographed contestants in recent events are Imelda “Imee” Bautista Schweighart, a Filipino- German beauty from Puerto Princesa City; and Maria Angelica “Mariel” Andolong de Leon, the lovely daughter of actors Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong.

Imee, a.k.a. Imee Hart, a Viva talent, previously co-hosted “Will Time Big Time” on TV5 and has appeared in several MTVs and teleseryes. Only 17, Imee was born in Cyprus and schooled in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Mariel, 19, on the other hand, is making a name for herself in modeling; she also studied Professional Cookery in New Zealand. Representing Las Pinas City, Mariel is also into swimming, surfing, and opera singing.

At the recent talent competition at the Gateway Mall, Imee and Mariel both displayed their talents in singing.
But what caught this Highspeeder’s total attention was candidate No. 10 Anna Carmela Zacarias Aquino, 22, of Taytay, Rizal, who balanced six honest-to-goodness clay pots on her head as she chanted and danced gracefully in an Ifugao costume. Carmela is an educator who has travelled with a dance troupe that won in international dance competitions abroad. Truly, this year’s ‘binibinis’ got talent.

Last week, the contestants assisted in building homes at the Julio Iglesias-Araneta Center Gawad Kalinga Village in Tanay, Rizal. The beautiful ladies traded in their high heels and elegant dresses for rubber shoes and denim jeans as they assisted in sifting sand from gravel, mixing cement and making pre-cast cement beams; they also entertained the children of the home beneficiaries who are calamity victims. The P20-million project hopes to complete building 160 homes early next year.

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