GREAT things come in small packages, as proven by the two new Mutya ng Pilipinas titleholders who stood tall in the competition even though they were among the shortest contenders.
Ganiel Akrisha Krishan of Manila and Justin Mae San Jose, 1.66 meters (5 feet, 5.5 inches) tall, bested 28 other aspirants during coronation ceremonies at Resorts World Manila’s Newport Performing Arts Theater in Pasay City on Saturday night.
They even amassed most of the special awards in activities leading to the finals.
Krishnan received the Mutya ng Pilipinas-Asia Pacific International. She was earlier proclaimed Darling of the Press, Best in Talent, Mutya ng Sheridan Beach Resort, Mutya ng Rain or Shine, Hannah’s Best in Swimsuit, Mutya ng Hotel 101, Mutya ng Camera Club of the Philippines, Mutya ng Inglot and Mutya ng Mags.
She will represent the country in the revival edition of the Miss Asia Pacific International pageant later this year.
San Jose took home the Mutya ng Pilipinas-Tourism International crown. She was also proclaimed Best in Swimsuit, Best in Evening Gown and Mutya ng Skyjet Airlines.
“It was really hard for me to compete against 1.75-meter (5-foot-9) girls. Being one of the shortest, I guess I just had to play up my confidence,” Krishnan told the Inquirer after her coronation.
“At the end of the day, height will only matter if you know how to carry yourself. Being tall wouldn’t matter if you cannot carry yourself well. With confidence, you can stand tall even if you are short,” she added.
San Jose agreed: “We proved, Ganiel and I, that height doesn’t matter. As long as you have confidence and determination, and you are strong-willed, you’ll get noticed even if you’re one of the shortest.”
The two also gave impressive answers during the interview round, in which the Top 10 contenders were asked to share their thoughts about issues concerning “millennials.”
Tourism, inner beauty
Discussing “tourism,” San Jose said: “We all know that this is important in every country, especially the Philippines. It will help raise the standard of living because of its effects on the economy. It also shows how we [are seen by] other countries. Like me, I am an ambassadress of my region. I exemplify the beauty, charm and warmth of Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon).”
Krishnan talked about “inner beauty.”
“In today’s society, people objectify beauty through good-looking people and a perfect body. But let us be reminded that inner beauty is true beauty. We should all know that beauty of the face can last for years, but beauty from within, like our personality, can last a lifetime,” said Krishnan, a sportscaster for ABS-CBN Sports & Action channel.
For bagging the top plum, Krishnan took home P150,000. San Jose became P120,000 richer.
Both beauty queens received a two-year modeling contract from Viva Communications Inc. and unlimited flights for one year from Skyjet Airlines.
They also earned the distinction of wearing the new crowns designed by Hoseki and valued at P220,000 each. The huge ornate pieces, crafted in gold and embellished with pearls, were introduced in this year’s edition.
The Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant also recognized its overseas partners by awarding the Mutya ng Pilipinas-Overseas Communities title to Michelle Thorlund from the Filipino community in California.
Lynette Bradford, sent by Melbourne-based Filipinos, finished first runner-up.
Five other overseas-based candidates participated—Cassandra McDonald from Australia, Mayu Murakami from Japan, Ann Lauren Ose from Scandinavia, Maeryhnella Umayam from the United Kingdom, and Jurice Encarnacion from Canada, who was voted Miss Friendship by fellow candidates.
Central Luzon’s Ashley Nicole Singh completed the winners’ circle and finished second runner-up. She was earlier proclaimed Best in Terno and Mutya ng Informatics.
Actors Richard Gutierrez, Arci Muñoz and Bela Padilla hosted the ceremonies, with 2013 Miss International Bea Rose Santiago, former Mutya ng Pilipinas Kristine Caballero-Aplal and Samantha Rodriguez as anchors.
Inquirer Lifestyle columnist Tessa Prieto-Valdes was one of the judges. The Philippine Daily Inquirer is a media partner of the 2016 Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant.