MANILA, Philippines–Thirty courageous women are eyeing a historic win: a “three-peat” for the Philippines in the Miss Tourism International pageant.
Aspirants from all over the country and from overseas Filipino communities are vying for the 2014 Mutya ng Pilipinas title, which will take them to the Malaysia-based global tilt which crowned two Filipino queens in its last two editions.
Mutya ng Pilipinas winners Rizzini Alexis Gomez and Angeli Dione Gomez (not related), bagged the international title in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Maria Esperanza Manzano was the first Filipino to win the crown in 2000. No country has scored three consecutive wins in the pageant’s 20-year history.
But Mutya ng Pilipinas President Jacqueline Tan said she is confident that the Filipino winning streak will continue.
“The 30 girls are all so beautiful. We searched really hard for ladies with the total package, who are also smart,” she told the Inquirer during the candidates’ presentation at the Hotel H2O at the Manila Ocean Park on Wednesday afternoon.
“Our winners undergo a comprehensive training regimen, and we have gained the support of more partners who will provide additional improvement to our Mutya ng Pilipinas,” she added.
Last year’s winner, Koreen Medina, supported Tan’s statement.
Medina, who placed fourth in the 2013 Miss Intercontinental pageant in Germany, told the Inquirer: “Mutya ng Pilipinas changed my life. I gained a lot of confidence, especially when I talk to a lot of people. From being ‘super girly,’ I was molded into lady. I got out of my comfort zone and learned how to think like a mature woman.”
The outgoing titleholder said she would forever cherish the opportunity of being a Mutya ng Pilipinas winner. “I was only 18 when I won. People are telling me that I was able to accomplish a lot at a very young age. Being a Mutya ng Pilipinas gives a lifetime prestige that I will bring with me for as long as I live. I am not just a normal girl, I am Mutya ng Pilipinas 2013, and I’m grateful for that,” Medina said.
Tan said “Mutya ng Pilipinas is looking for a woman who is not only beautiful but also empowered. She must have a plan for herself and should love the Philippines, because this is the only pageant that truly promotes the beauty of the Philippines.”
A busy year awaits the winner. “She will tour the country’s different tourist destinations because she will promote the Philippines to other nations,” Tan explained.
During the presentation, three contestants got a head start when they received special awards.
Tabuk City’s Glenifer Perido, who was a Binibining Pilipinas contestant and a former Miss Philippines-Air titleholder, was proclaimed “Miss Ivana Fragrance” by Tupperware Brands Philippines, while Nueva Ecija’s Maria Jackielyn Dulay earned the “Mutya ng Hotel H2O” title.