MAKATI CITY, Philippines—Seldom do we find competitors in the same field belonging to a wide age bracket, with some aspirants young enough to be their co-contestants’ children.
But for this year’s edition of the Mrs. Philippines International pageant, the roster of candidates includes 20-year-olds as well as those in their 40s.
Among the most notable of this year’s bevy of beauties is Leona Andersen from Olongapo City, who found fame via the “ReINA ng Tahanan” contest in the noontime show “It’s Showtime” on the Kapamilya Channel and A2Z Channel 11.
The 27-year-old multi-talented entrepreneur became a fan favorite in the competition for mothers across the country. She earned a slot in the wildcard round, where she won a spot in the final competition. She eventually finished second.
Andersen told the Inquirer in an interview at Lé Gastro at the Citadines Millenium Ortigas in Pasig City that she believes competitions for mothers and wives are relevant because “as a mother, either married or single, you are able to empower more, share wisdom. Wisdom is better than knowledge.”
She co-owns Lé Gastro, a unique restaurant concept offering diners an on-call chef who can whip up any dish from a menu of ingredients of the customer’s choosing.
The single mom of a young daughter said she is glad that there are competitions for mothers and married women now, giving those who are no longer qualified to participate in conventional beauty pageants the opportunity to become a queen.
“It gives us another window to belong to an organization that makes mothers become more belonged in society,” added Andersen, who was crowned Miss Olongapo first runner-up when she had not had her daughter yet.
Competing with Andersen in the 2021 Mrs. Philippines International pageant is entrepreneur and philanthropist Christel Bulabon from Rizal, who already has an international pageant experience.
She told the Inquirer in a separate interview at Dilingers 1903 at Greenbelt 3 in Makati City that she feels delighted to be competing among women who are young enough to be her daughter. Her eldest son, an engineer, is 27 years old, she shared.
Andersen and Bulabon are among the 16 candidates to this year’s edition of the Mrs. Philippines International pageant, which is staging a comeback after a “pandemic pause” in 2020 because of the global health crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19.
The previous edition was held in 2019, and the winners have yet to participate in their respective international contests.
Organizers told the Inquirer that the reigning queens will compete abroad first, while the 2021 winners will join the succeeding international competitions.
There have been reports that the global tilts will stage two contest in 2022 to make up for the cancellation of the competitions in 2020 and 2021.
The coronation ceremonies will be held at Okada Manila in Parañaque City on Dec. 18.
Nine representatives to international competitions will be crowned—Mrs. Philippines International, Ms. Philippines International, Elite Mrs. Philippines International, Mrs. Philippines Planet, Mrs. Philippines National Universe, Mrs. Philippines Grand International, Mrs. Philippines Grand Classic, Mrs. Philippines World Universal, and Mrs. Philippines World Universal Classic.