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‘What will you choose: love life or Wi-Fi?’

/ 07:30 AM July 13, 2018

Miss Manila 2018 Kathleen Paton (center)with Agatha Lei Romero, fourth runner-up; Kristi Celyn
Banks, third runner-up; Malka Suaver, first runner-up; and Paulina Labayo, second runner-up

The beauty pageant industry in the Philippines is not just advanced, it’s very advanced.

One realizes the extent of the evolution—if one could call it that—of beauty pageantry in the country when one not just watches it, but also sits as judge.


The Miss Manila 2018, staged June 26 at Philippine International Convention Center, was produced elaborately, approximating the scale of Binibining Pilipinas.

Put together by the Mare Foundation, which conducts charitable and medical missions for the city government of Manila, the pageant drew more than 30 candidates who were impressively polished, no neophytes to beauty slugfests, obviously.

The Foundation, headed by Jackie Ejercito, worked in tandem with Viva Entertainment to stage a grand show with a powerhouse performance: James Reid and Nadine Lustre, and Sarah Geronimo, easily the jaw-dropping performance of the show hosted by Xian Lim, Yassi Pressman and Edu Manzano. (Honestly speaking, nobody hosts a beauty pageant as candidly well as Edu, still.)

Miss Manila 2018 Kathleen Paton—PHOTOS FROM VIVA LIVE INC.

Without skipping a beat

The candidates knew not only how to preen and parade, they also knew how to answer well—and without skipping a beat.

Vice Ganda, head of the panel of judges, asked a candidate during the interview: “What will you choose: love life or Wi-Fi?”

How on earth does one begin to answer that? The candidate, however, knew how to wing it. She chose “Wi-Fi” because one needed technology. (Just like that. No sweat.)

It turned out many of today’s candidates hone their “pageant skills” by doing the rounds of beauty contests. They train in beauty camps and join the beauty jousts regularly, much like battle-scarred soldiers. “Contesera,” a perennial joiner is called, according to our friends who are avid beauty pageant-watchers.

Apparently, Miss Manila is a good lead-up to the Binibining Pilipinas.


Aside from Vice Ganda and Alice Dixson, the judges included lifestyle trailblazers makeup artist Patrick Rosas, photographer Raymund Isaac, fashion designer Cherry Veric, stylist Bang Pineda.

The diplomats made time to judge: Brazil Ambassador Rodrigo de Amaral Souza, Greece Ambassador Nikolaos Kaimenakis, Panama Ambassador Rolando Guevarra Alvarado. While waiting for the pageant to start, guess the hot topic in the diplomats’ corner: the World Cup, but of course. —THELMA S. SAN JUAN

Miss Manila 2018 Kathleen Joy Paton (second from right), with Miss Manila 2017 Gail Tobes, Vice Ganda, Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito-Estrada

Former finance secretary Jose “Titoy” Pardo, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Dr. Loi Ejercito,Manila
Mayor Joseph Estrada, chair of MARE Foundation and pageant director Jackie Ejercito, Viva
Communications Inc. CEO and chair Vic del Rosario

Panama Ambassador Rolando Guevarra Alvarado

Greece Ambassador Nikolaos Kaimenakis

Brazil Ambassador Rodrigo do Amaral Souza

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TAGS: Beauty Pageant, Miss Manila 2018
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