More than a year after they were crowned as the queens who would raise our country’s flag as representatives in various international pageants, Binibining Pilipinas 2018 titleholders took their final walk on-stage as they relinquished their crowns to their respective successors during the Binibining Pilipinas 2019 coronation night held last June 9 at the Araneta Coliseum.
Flashing their brightest smiles and enthusiastically waving to the huge crowd, the reigning queens paraded one-by-one in their dazzling and gorgeous evening gowns as the pre-recorded audio of their poignant and gratitude-filled farewell speeches were played.
First off was BB. Pilipinas-Globe 2018 Michele Gumabao, a renowned professional volleyball player whose participation in the contest was indeed remarkable as she surprised and amazed everyone with how she triumphantly fared on her first try.
As her successor marked the beginning of her reign, here’s her message for her: “Know that it’s not just the crown that makes the queen, but the heart that lies within. Love yourself, love our country and all its people. May you raise our flag with pride and confidence knowing that you have the support of every single Filipino. With passion, faith and hardwork, anything is possible.”
Misty-eyed, Bb. Pilipinas-Grand International Eva Psychee Patalinjug expressed how being part of the competition has paved the way for her to serve her purpose as a proud Pinay and how the momentous event would not be a ‘goodbye’ but a ‘hello’ to a new beginning for her.
“Crowns and titles are not the measurement of one’s capability to do great things. I have served my purpose and that purpose is to show courage, determination, beauty, and substance as a Filipina – to be an inspiration to all people from different walks of life and to never give up in life every time you fall,” she eloquently stated.
After ending the longest drought the Philippines have had in an international beauty pageant, Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental Karen Juanita Gallman brought home the first-ever Miss Intercontinental crown for the country in the staging of the competition last January 27 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Thus, she had nothing but gratitude to the wonderful experience participating in the Binibining Pilipinas had brought her.
“Joining Binibining Pilipinas is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. This incredible journey has taught me so much and has contributed in making the woman and queen I am today. It’s such an honor to represent Philippines in the Miss Intercontinental pageant. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my KF Family, mentors, and the Philippines,” the Filipino-Australian beauty from Bohol imparted. She then shared a piece of advice to those dreamers like her, “And lastly, to those that dream – dream big, work hard, and make it happen. Anything is achievable.”
Fresh from tying the knot with her PBA player beau Peter June Simon last May 28, Bb. Pilipinas-Supranational Jehza Mae Huelar described her journey in three words – fulfilling, exciting, and rewarding – that represented her three attempts in the local competition.
“My experience as Miss Supranational Philippines is extraordinarily fantastic and it takes a village to get to this point. And thank God for showering me an amazing circle of support system and experiences I will cherish forever,” the proud Davaoeña said. She also went on to advise her successor regarding the huge opportunity that awaits her and everyone to be greater than our fears and doubts and never be afraid to try again.
Sashaying in her voluminous and glittery Michael Cinco red ball gown, Bb. Pilipinas-International Ma. Ahtisa Manalo, who won first runner-up in the Miss International 2018 pageant held last November 9, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan, bade farewell to her Binibining Pilipinas journey as she’s off to chase her next dream.
“Binibining Pilipinas is the best first job anyone could ever get. At 20, the crown opened up my eyes in experiencing different cultures and how the world works. I got to be part of organizations, make a difference in people’s lives, and I had the honor to represent my beloved country, the Philippines, in the international stage,” she shared.
Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 2018 Catriona Gray was welcomed by the deafening cheers and applauses from the crowd as she stepped out the stage wearing her waling-waling-inspired violet Mak Tumang gown and the precious Mikimoto crown she got after winning Miss Universe 2018 last year.
Unlike her queen sisters, Catriona delivered her heartfelt farewell speech impromptu that arguably tugged everyone’s hearts and left us all teary-eyed.
“Philippines! My heart is overflowing with gratitude, because here, on this exact stage, I was given the chance to pursue this dream. This journey has been made even more meaningful because every single step of the way, I felt each and every one of you right there with me,” she tearfully started off.
“I am so humbled and immensely grateful to each and every one of you who has given true meaning to feeling the love and support of the Filipino people. I knew that I had a big role to step up to once the Miss Universe Philippines sash was placed across my heart. And along the way, I had to surmount three mountains, to conquer three Mayon Volcanoes.
“The first one was conquering myself. Like every single person, I had to overcome the fear that comes from within. The fear of falling short, the fear of failure, the fear of not measuring up. But I conquered my fear with faith – faith that God had purposely set me on this path and that He would not give me a burden too heavy to carry. And faith in myself, because I knew that I wasn't, I am not perfect. But I knew I'm determined. And I knew that out of all 95 women that I was to compete with in Miss Universe, I would be the one and only Filipina, and that gave me strength.
“The second was conquering others. There were so many times that people told me that I would fail. I was told that it was too soon for another Miss Universe from the Philippines, I was body-shamed, and I was put down. But I conquered others by surrounding myself with people who uplifted me, supported me, and mentored me. My Team Catriona were my backbone and my safe place and I wouldn't be standing here if not for every single one of them, and for all of you. And as an only child whose family was away for the entirety of this journey, they also gave me a family.
“The third and most important was conquering for a purpose. What was the point of all these? Who was I doing this for? I looked down at the lettering over my heart, and it said Philippines. I felt its weight knowing the history, challenges, and triumphs of the Filipino people. I thought of the children of Tondo and of my country.
“I may only be one person, but now I have the opportunity to serve a hundred and four million Filipinos, and I knew that I was doing this para sa Pilipinas. Inside each and every one of us is a king or queen with the ability to conquer the universe, whatever that may be for you. But we must first conquer ourselves, conquer what others perceive of us, and finally, conquer with a purpose. To conquer our dreams.
“Philippines, I will forever raise our flag. Thank you for choosing me as your queen. Forever a Miss Philippines, forever a Binibini. Love, Catriona Magnayon Gray, your Miss Universe 2018,” the 25-year-old beauty queen emotionally stated.
The Binibining Pilipinas 2018 queens converged on-stage at the end of their farewell parade and received a standing ovation from the live audiences, including Binibining Pilipinas Charities Incorporated Founder, Chairman, and matriarch Stella Marquez Araneta.