Anne Jakkapong Jakrajutatip, owner of the Miss Universe Organization, will be the special guest in the Miss Universe Philippines coronation night happening on May 13, while Miss Universe 2022 R’bonney Gabriel will attend a welcome parade.
Jakrajutatip and Gabriel arrived in the country on May 9 and 10, respectively, so that they were able to attend the gala night of the Miss Universe Philippines prior to the coronation night of Saturday, May 13.
They were joined by entrepreneur Olivia Quido, who served as one of the judges in the 2022 Miss Universe pageant, and whose skincare business is one the partners in this year’s Miss Universe Philippines competition.
In an interview, Quido said that she had been traveling with her for two months and they had been to key cities of Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. That was why she thought of extending an invitation to the Thai business mogul to visit the country, and the latter obliged her invitation.
“I am here to tour her. Tamang-tama si Jonas Gafud invited me to guest in the Ms. Universe Philippines event. It was like three events – my daddy’s birthday, Anne is coming and Ms. Universe Philippines,” she said of Jakrajutatip, who she said is now wont to calling her her “sister.”
Meanwhile, among the activities lined up for Gabriel were the forthcoming homecoming parade and the gala night, which was attended by who’s who in fashion, business, politics and beauty pageantry.
Quido described her presence as a judge in the 2022 Miss Universe as “surreal” and a “dream come true.”
“Kakaiba ‘yung experience. Ganoon pala mag-judge. In 2019, first time kong nanood as a skincare partner. After lumabas lahat ng audience, umupo ako doon sa judge’s table. Sabi ko, ‘Lord, gusto ko one day uupo ako dito as a judge,’” she recalled. (The experience is extraordinary. So that was how it felt like to be a judge. In 2019, it was my first time to watch as a skincare partner. After the audience left, I sat at the judge’s table. I said, ‘Lord, I want to sit here one day as a judge.’)
Four years later, Quido’s dream would come true as she would be asked to judge the same pageant, and she could only thank God for the experience.
“It was so surreal as being one of the judges gives you the ability to change the course of life of one of the most beautiful women in the world. I think that was very powerful. I am very grateful for that,” she said.
Celeste Cortesi’s loss
Quido further explained her role into the heartbreaking loss of Celeste Cortesi who was the Philippines’ bet in the 2022 pageant.
She pointed out that she was not a preliminary judge, which is composed of six persons, but was one of the eight final judges. She recalled that at that time, the judges were called and were told who were in the Top 16, a list that the Philippines failed to make — breaking its 12-year winning streak.
“I didn’t realize that it was in alphabetical order because it was my first time. And then it was in the letter P. Teka, parang nilagpasan ang Pilipinas, ah. Ang tagal mag-register (sa akin) na wala ang Pilipinas. Hindi ko ini-expect na wala kasi ang ganda ng representative natin, matalino. Kumbaga, marami siyang qualities na puwedeng manalo, eh,” she said.
(I thought, wait, it seems like the Philippines was skipped. It took a while for me to register that the Philippines wasn’t there. I didn’t expect that because our representative is beautiful and smart. She has many qualities that can make her win, you know.)
One of the organizers asked Quido if she wants to see the final answer in the preliminary event.
Since she couldn’t contain her curiosity, she asked one of the organizers why the Philippine bet lost in the Top 16.
“Sabi niya, ang daming sobrang galing sumagot, ang daming ang galing ‘yung presentation sa preliminary. Pero hindi niya ako sinagot why. Alam lang niya na nagtataka ako kung bakit,” she said. (I was told that there were a lot of other candidates who gave really great answers and great presentations during the preliminary round. But I failed to get an answer from the organizer, who only knew I was curious.)
So, since there was a non-disclosure agreement between the organizers and the judges, Quido kept it to herself.
During the coronation night, she noticed that there were a lot of Filipinos rooting for Miss Philippines, complete with banners.
“Nung tinawag na (ang Top 16) and hindi tinawag ang Philippines, kitang-kita mo ang pag-upo ng mga Filipino na nalungkot. After ten seconds, alam mo kung ano ang nangyari? Napalitan ng American flag ang Filipino flag. Ngayon, nagru-root naman sila kay R’bonney,” she recalled.
(When the Top 16 were called and the Philippines failed to make the cut, you could clearly see the sad Filipinos beginning to sit. After ten seconds, do you know what happened? The American flag replaced the Filipino flag. They began rooting for R’bonney.)
Gabriel is part Filipino due to her Filipino father, who came with her and her mom, Dana Walker, back the Philippines. EDV