Pageant World

Bb. Pilipinas pageant crowns new set of winners after ‘pandemic pause’

QUEZON CITY, Philippines—The Binibining Pilipinas pageant has finally crowned its new set of queens after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the organizers to postpone the contest last year.

The longest-running national beauty pageant in the country mounted a three-hour program at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at the Araneta City in Quezon City on July 11, more than two years since it last staged a competition in June 2019, with 34 of the original 40 delegates remaining to fight for four crowns.

When the dust settled, Hannah Arnoldcfrom Masbate inherited the Bb. Pilipinas International crown from lawyer Bea Patricia Magtanong, who finished in the Top 8 of the 2019 Miss International pageant in Japan.

Arnold will now represent the Philippines in the 60th edition of one of the most enduring global tilts, the Miss International pageant, which was also postponed last year, and is now set to be staged in Yokohama after the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The Bb. Pilipinas Grand International title went to Samantha Panlilio from Cavite, who now has the insurmountable task of surpassing Samantha Bernardo’s impressive second-place finish in the 2020 Miss Grand International pageant held in Thailand earlier this year.

The Bangkok-based global tilt is set to stage its 2021 edition later this year.

Binibining Pilipinas winners (from left) Bb. Pilipinas Globe Maureen Montagne, Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental Cinderella Obeñita, Bb. Pilipinas International Hannah Arnold, Bb. Pilipinas Grand International Samantha Panlilio, first runner-up Gabrielle Basiano, and second runner-up Meiji Cruz. (Photo by ARMIN P. ADINA / Contributor)

Aya Abesamis inherited the Bb. Pilipinas Grand International crown when Samantha Lo abdicated the title after her failed bid in the 2019 Miss Grand International pageant in Venezuela, which was also marred by her fake passport controversy.

But Abesamis, daughter of 1984 Miss Universe runner-up Desiree Verdadero, had already exceeded the Miss Grand International pageant’s age limit, so the global assignment went to Bernardo, who was second runner-up in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Bb. Pilipinas pageant.

Meanwhile, the Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental crown went to Cinderella Obeñita from Cagayan de Oro City, who will attempt to bring home the Philippines’ second Miss Intercontinental crown in Egypt in October.

Obeñita inherited the title from Emma Mary Tiglao, who finished in the Miss Intercontinental pageant’s Top 15 in 2019.

Miss Globe second runner-up Leren Mae Bautista, meanwhile, relinquished the Bb. Pilipinas Globe crown to Maureen Montagne from Batangas.

Gabrielle Basiano from Borongan, Eastern Samar was first runner-up, while Meiji Cruz from Valenzuela was second runner-up.

This year’s ceremonies saw the pageant’s first all-female hosting tandem of 2016 Miss Grand International first runner-up Nicole Cordovez and 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray.

Because of the restrictions imposed by the inter-agency task force against COVID-19 on the staging of live events, this year’s coronation night was not open to the public. Only a select few — pageant officials, guests, jurors, staff members, and members of the media — witnessed the selection of winners.

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