|Miss Universe Philippines 2004, 2014, and 2015|
"Never Say Die" must be the favorite theme song of these three strong-willed Binibinis who navigated the ever dubious route in pageantry for three years. Their unflinching determination and unwavering faith have finally been rewarded with a remarkable victory on that momentous eve when their respective names were proclaimed as the sole heiress to the most sought-after crown of Miss Universe Philippines.
Now let's go back a bit and take a closer glimpse of their inspiring journey towards the crown:
|Maricar Manalaysay Balagtas - Miss Universe Philippines 2004|
|Miss Philippines in her national costume|
during the Miss Universe pageant
Maricar Manalaysay Balagtas from Plaridel, Bulacan first competed in 2000 but wasn't lucky enough to place even as a semi-finalist. She joined again in 2001 and was able to snatch a Second Runner-Up spot. That same year, Maricar was appointed as the country's representative to Miss Globe International pageant staged in Istanbul, Turkey where she won the crown and made history as the first Filipino as well as the first Asian Miss Globe International titleholder.
Three years after her victorious stint in the global pageantry, Maricar enlisted for the third time in Binibining Pilipinas 2004 and finally bagged the Binibining Pilipinas-Universe title now known as Miss Universe Philippines. Her pageant career ended at the conclusion of the 2004 Miss Universe finals held in Quito, Ecuador where she was unplaced despite a stellar performance all throughout the competition.
|Mary Jean Ramirez Lastimosa - Miss Universe Philippines 2014|
|Philippines' national costume|
during the 63rd Miss Universe
Exactly a decade after Maricar's 3-peater win, another Binibini stunner duplicated her feat when Mary Jean Ramirez Lastimosa from North Cotabato successfully clinched the Miss Universe Philippines crown in her third attempt. Lastimosa placed Second Runner-Up when she first joined Binibining Pilipinas in 2011 but failed to advance to the magic circle during the 2012 edition. Fiercely determine to reach her dream, she tried again one more time and luckily nabbed the Miss Universe Philippines 2014 crown. In a hotly contested 63rd Miss Universe pageant in Doral, Miami, Lastimosa landed in the Top 10 (6th overall) but was unable to continue the Philippines' Top 5 winning streak which started in 2010.
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of Cagayan de Oro was just behind Lastimosa clapping her hands and smiling still as the latter was proclaimed Miss Universe Philippines 2014 on that fateful eve. It was a devastating loss for the Fil-German Star Magic artist turned beauty queen who only made it to the semi-final round after faithfully serving her runner-up duties in 2013. She was expected to do a Janine Tugonon feat who inherited the MUP crown after a First Runner-Up placement however destiny boldly revealed that the 2014 crown had already been sealed for another Binibini 3-peater. The 2015 edition proved to be a good year of vindication for Pia when she finally grabbed what she dearly aimed for since the time she dipped her toes in the vacillating waters of pageantry. A three-peater crowning a three-peater Binibini made Pia's win a historic one in the book of Philippine beauty derby.
|Mary Jean Lastimosa's crowning moment as Miss Universe Philippines 2014 with Pia Wurtzbach just behind still in graceful composure while gazing at the crown she had just lost.|
|Pia's national costume during|
the Bb. Pilipinas 2015 Fashion Show.
Her fate in the 64th edition of Miss Universe has yet to be unfolded though. But knowing how determine and strong our girl has become after going through life's arduous challenges and even harrowing failures, I am confident that whatever might be her appointed destiny, it'll be graciously embraced with arms wide open and head held high.