PALAWAN’S Angelica Lopez was crowned the new Binibining Pilipinas International – Philippines and she will go on to represent the country at the Miss International pageant in 2024.
Representing the country at this year’s Miss International, to be held in Tokyo, is Bb. Pilipinas – International Nicole Borromeo, who won in 2022.
Ms. Lopez was crowned at the Araneta Center on Sunday night by the reigning Miss International, Jasmin Selber from Germany, while Ms. Borromeo presented her with her sash.
Another crown was won that night by Anna Valencia Lakrini from Bataan, who will represent the Philippines at the Miss Globe pageant. Katrina Anne Johnson of Davao del Sur, and Atasha Reign Parani of Cavite won First Runner-up and Second Runner-up, respectively.
The candidates were selected from a pool of 40 women from all over the country. That evening, the initial 40 were cut down to 11. Ms. Lakrini also won the JAG Denim Queen Award and Best in Swimsuit.
Other special awards included Bb. Pizza Hut (April Barro of Cagayan de Oro), Bb. Ever Bilena (Trisha Martinez of Laguna — who also won Bb. Philippine Airlines, and Best in Evening Gown), the Manila Bulletin Readers’ Choice Award (Sharmaine Magdasoc of Ortigas, Pasig), Bb. BingoPlus (Loraine Jara of Bulacan), Best in National Costume (Jeanne Bilasano of Albay), Bb. Friendship (Mary Balana of Hermosa, Bataan), Miss Talent (Candy Vollinger of Catanduanes), and Face of Binibini (Julia Mendoza of Roxas City).
The pageant was hosted by former Miss Universe Catriona Gray and former Miss Universe Philippines Mary Jean Lastimosa. The pageant featured performances by singer Darren Espanto and entertainer Vice Ganda.
The panel of judges was made up of Golden Globe Best Supporting Actress-nominee Dolly de Leon, vlogger and socialite Small Laude, Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, Tatler Philippines editor Anton San Diego, actor Piolo Pascual, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse co-founder Peter Zwiener, SB19 member Josh Cullen, and Manila Mayor Honey Lacuña.
It was Ms. Lacuña who asked Ms. Lopez the question that saw her winning in the question-and-answer round. The question was, “What makes you a Binibini who walks the talk and who is beyond mere self-promotion?”
Ms. Lopez answered, “I stand here tonight because it is my mother [who] instilled [in] me the values and the morals that I’m using to be the woman that I am today: a woman who has the strength, courage, and tenacity; the strength to decide for herself what she wants, really works hard to achieve it; to also have the courage to face any obstacles [in] life; and tenacity to hold on to her wisdom of choice.
“I believe it is always a dream come true to be here, and that is why I’m a Binibini that I’m always meant to be.” — J.L. Garcia