Binibining Pilipinas, Miss Philippines if translated in English, is the most prestigious beauty pageant in the Philippines. Since its formation in 1964, this spectacle has produced two Miss Universe winners. Namely, these two are Gloria Maria Aspillera Diaz, who became the first Filipino crowned as Miss Universe in 1969, and Maria Margarita Moran Roxas-Floriendo, granddaughter of former Philippine President Manuel Roxas was crowned in 1973.
BPCI founded by former Miss Columbia
Who would have ever thought that this national beauty pageant was formed because of a love between a man and a woman? Well, it’s sort of that way.
The Binibining Pilipinas Charities Incorporated, the non-stock and non-profit organization responsible for the annual pageant, was founded by Stella Marquez Zawadski-Araneta. She is a Colombian beauty of Spanish and Polish heritage. She certainly knows more than a thing or two about beauty pageants. She was crowned Miss Colombia, locally known as Señorita Colombia, in 1959. And on July 9, 1960, she proudly finished in the top 15 of the Miss Universe pageant. A little more than a month later, she competed in another major competition. She was crowned the first Miss International on August 12, 1960.
So, why would she form an organization which donates all the profits earned from the annual pageant to orphanages and day care centers in Manila? Why did she choose to help the Philippines? I asked myself these very questions. And the answer is, because she married a Filipino businessman named Jorge Araneta. They met, they fell in love, and they got married. If she had not met this man, BPCI would not exist.
Contribution to the pageant industry
This pageant chooses the representatives of the Philippines for two of the four major international pageants in the world, Miss Universe and Miss International. The other half of the “big four” in pageants is made up of Miss Earth and Miss World. Contestants for two minor global pageants, Miss Tourism Queen International and Miss Supranational, are also chosen through this national pageant.
Before Binibining Pilipinas was formed, the Miss Philippines pageant was responsible for choosing the country’s representative in Miss Universe. Don’t get confused. Miss Philippines and Binibining Pilipinas are two different pageants, although they are the English and Filipino equivalents of each other. The former was held before BPCI was formed. The latter is the current pageant that chooses the representative of the Philippines for the Miss Universe and is organized by BPCI.
Miss Philippines started in 1952 and ended after eleven fine years. Sorry to say, this competition did not produce any Miss Universe winners. But it did produce one Miss International, Gemma Teresa Cruz-Araneta in 1964. Binibining Pilipinas acquired the local franchise for Miss International in 1969 and has produced three winners since. These are Aurora McKenny Pijuan in 1970, Mimilanie “Melanie” Laurel Marquez-Lawyer in 1979, and Precious Lara San Agustin Quigaman in 2005. The Philippines has the second most number of wins in the Miss International pageant with a total of 4 wins, just behind Venezuela which has 6.
In 1964, only the Binibining Pilipinas-Universe title was given whenever the pageant was held. The title was renamed Miss Philippines-Universe in 2010. The Binibining Pilipinas-International title debuted in 1968 and has been consistently awarded ever since. Another title was added in 1987. The Binibining Pilipinas-Tourism title has been given inconsistently since its introduction. Due to this inconsistency, there are less than 10 Binibining Pilipinas-Tourism winners.
1. Marie Avon Boyle Garcia (1987)
2. Maritoni Judith Macariola Daya (1988)
3. Marichele Lising Cruz (1989)
4. Milagros Javelosa (1990)
5. Jeanette Fernando (1993)
6. Sheila Marie Dizon (1994)
7. Wendy Valdez (2005)
8. Isabella Angela Catipunan Manjon (2011)
9. Katrina Jayne Rivera Dimaranan (2012)
Binibining Pilipinas-Tourism and Supranational
BPCI acquired the local franchise for Miss Supranational on March 7, 2012. This beauty pageant is turning four years old on September 15 and it is run by the World Beauty Association. Since its formation in 2009, it has always been held in Plock, Poland. This year, it will be held in Poland once again. The first Filipina who competed for the Miss Supranational crown in 2011 was model Lourenz Grace Remetillo from Iligan, Lanao del Norte. BPCI has not yet confirmed its first representative for the pageant.
Binibining -Tourism and Binibining Pilipinas-Supranational will become as consistent as Binibining Pilipinas-International. Having four titles up for grabs instead of just one or two or three means more opportunities for the contestants.
Past titles being awarded before Binibining Pilipinas
If there were titles being added to the competition, there were also titles that have been removed. From 1992 to 2010, the Binibining Pilipinas-World existed. But in 2011, BPCI lost that franchise. Miss World is the oldest surviving major international beauty pageant. It was created by Eric Morley in 1951, which makes it a year older than Miss Universe. It is based in the United Kingdom and the winner traditionally lives in London during her reign.
Julia Morley, Eric Morley’s wife, has been the president of the Miss World Organization since 2000. This was due to the passing of Eric Morley. Last year, a separate national pageant was granted the franchise for Miss World; this new pageant is called Miss World Philippines and is headed by Socorro Alicia “Cory” Quirino Rastrollo. The first Miss World Philippines was Filipino-French national Gwendoline Ruais. She finished as 1st runner-up.
Other past titles that were given by the Binibining Pilipinas pageant are:
1. Binibining Pilipinas-Maja International (1972-1992; 1995; 2004)
2. Binibining Pilipinas-Young International (1970-1985)
3. Miss World Peace (1973)
4. Binibining Pilipinas Press Photography (1984)
Binibining Pilipinas Qualifications of Candidates
There are a few requirements that aspiring candidates have to meet to qualify for the pageant.
1. You must be aged between 17 and 26 at the time of the pageant
2. You must be single.
3. You must have good moral character.
4. You must be at least a high school graduate.
5. You must be at least 5 feet and 5 inches tall.
6. You must have a pleasing personality.