MANILA, Philippines–The Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) masterfully executed a one-two punch in the international beauty contest arena, effectively asserting the country’s dominance in global pageants, when Maureen Montagne snagged the Miss Globe crown exactly a week after Cinderella Faye Obeñita captured the Philippines’ second Miss Intercontinental victory.
The 2021 Bb. Pilipinas queens’ back-to-back triumphs also came just weeks after their batchmate, Alexandra Faith Garcia, became the first Filipino woman to win the Miss Aura International title. A separate group appointed her to be the Philippines’ first entrant to the 16-year-old global tilt after she missed the semifinals in the national pageant in July.
Montagne bested 49 other aspirants in ceremonies staged in Tirana, Albania, on Nov. 5 (Nov. 6 in Manila) to become the second Filipino woman to clinch the Miss Globe title under the current international organizers, Deliart Association. Ann Lorraine Colis won in 2015, igniting an impressive campaign for the Philippines that year, highlighted by Bb. Pilipinas Pia Wurtzbach’s Miss Universe victory.
Colis also started a winning streak for Bb. Pilipinas beauties in the Miss Globe pageant, with all the succeeding representatives cracking the Top 5, except for volleyball player Michele Gumabao who only finished in the Top 15 in 2018.
Pageant observers had already touted Montagne as a frontrunner ahead of the finals. She finished second in preliminary competitions—Miss Bikini, People’s Choice, and Head-to-Head Challenge—and was among the early qualifiers for the talent award.
During the final round of questions, Montagne was asked if beauty is a merit, and how to enrich it with other values.
She responded: “[T]rue beauty comes from within. To be a Miss Globe is to be a beauty that inspires. What makes us beautiful is our smiles, it is what we do for our community, it is how we give back to others, and it is how we carry ourselves through lives.”
Montagne added, “I believe that everyone has beauty inside of them, and I believe it is our duty to share it with the world and to give back and to truly inspire others.”
On social media, BPCI congratulated Montagne and said Chair Stella Marquez Araneta and the organization “are thrilled with your latest pageant achievement. We never doubted that you will represent our country so well internationally.”
The Miss Globe crown serves as a glorious culmination to Montagne’s long and colorful journey in beauty contests which commenced in 2013 when she was proclaimed first runner-up in the Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant, where she joined as the delegate from the Filipino community in Arizona.
She returned to the United States and won the 2015 Miss Arizona USA pageant, which qualified her for the Miss USA pageant where she finished in the Top 15. In 2017, she placed second in the Miss World America contest.
In 2018, Montagne came back to her Batangueña mother’s home country to establish a modeling career, and scored a lucrative campaign after winning the female division of the Century Superbods contest.
She also joined the 2018 Miss World Philippines pageant, where she won the Miss Eco Philippines crown. She flew to Egypt for the 2019 Miss Eco International pageant, and finished second.
The Miss Eco International organizers offered Montagne the crown after dethroning Peruvian winner Suheyn Cipriani.
But Montagne declined the title because she had already signed up for the Bb. Pilipinas pageant at that time. The national contest later got sidetracked by the COVID-19 pandemic and would be postponed for over a year.
When the Bb. Pilipinas pageant resumed in January 2021, Montagne found herself in a crisis. Signing up as a 26-year-old contestant in 2020 qualified her for all the four titles at stake. But the extended suspension of the competition, and with the coronation date scheduled a day after her 28th birthday, would mean that her options have been narrowed down to just two crowns—Bb. Pilipinas International and Bb. Pilipinas Globe.
Australian-Filipino forensic scientist Hannah Arnold took home the Bb. Pilipinas International crown, with Montagne taking the Bb. Pilipinas Globe title, along with the Miss Cream Silk and Miss Ever Bilena awards.
Arnold will try to become the seventh Filipino woman to bring home the Miss International crown in the global tilt’s 60th edition scheduled next year. The international organizers have already postponed the contest for two years now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Philippines scored its first Miss Globe crown in 2001 when it was still helmed by its founder, the late Charlie See. Bb. Pilipinas sent runner-up Maricar Balagtas, who became the first Asian to win the crown.
She joined the Bb. Pilipinas pageant anew in 2004 and earned her ticket to the Miss Universe pageant.
Earlier this year, another Bb. Pilipinas beauty made waves in the global pageant arena. Perennial runner-up Samantha Bernardo carried the country’s colors in the 2020 edition of the Miss Grand International pageant staged in Thailand in March. She finished second.
Succeeding her is Samantha Panlilio, who will try to bring home the Philippines’ first Miss Grand International title in the global tilt’s 2021 edition slated in Thailand in December.