MANILA, Philippines – The top 12 candidates of Binibining Pilipinas 2022 took the Smart Araneta Coliseum stage on Sunday, July 31 during the Q&A portion of the pageant’s coronation night to share their thoughts on various issues.
The women received questions from celebrity and guest judges on topics ranging from body positivity to the rewriting of history. They were given 30 seconds each to answer. Here’s how each of the candidates answered:
Karen Laurrie Mendoza, Iloilo
Body positivity has taken huge strides in today’s society, and people have started recognizing beauty in all forms, shapes, sizes, and even color. Do you think beauty pageants have adapted and kept up with the diverse beauty standards that we have in the world right now?
“For me, yes. You know what, before, I have been struggling, and people have been criticizing me for my body. When Catriona passed her crown to the next Miss Universe, she told us about the three mountains that she conquered, and that inspired me. Conquering others. And then I joined Binibining Pilipinas last year, and this night, I am here standing in front of you, telling you that no matter size, shape – you are beautiful.”
Herlene Nicole Budol, Angono, Rizal
A beauty pageant is a place of transformation. What was the most important transformation that has happened to you while you were at Binibining Pilipinas? (Ang beauty pageant ay isang place for sa transpormasyon. Anong transpormasyon na important ang nangyari sayo habang nandito ka sa Binibining Pilipinas?)
“Maraming salamat po. For sa akin, isang karangalan na nakatungtong dito sa Binibining Pilipinas bilang isang binibini na hindi inaasahan, for sa akin, ang sarap pala mangarap. Wallang impossible. Isa pong komedyante na laki sa hirap. At ang aking transpormasyon ay magbigay ng inspirasyon. Because I know for myself that I am beautiful, that I am uniquely beautiful with a mission.”
(For me, it is an honor to be in Binibining Pilipinas, and as a young lady who isn’t rooted for, for me, it actually feels so good to dream. Nothing is impossible, being a comedian who grew up in poverty. My transformation is to give inspiration.Because I know for myself that I am beautiful, that I am uniquely beautiful with a mission).
Chelsea Lovely Fernandez, Tacloban City
A previous quiz segment in a reality competition revealed that many of our young kababayans (Filipinos) are not anymore aware and familiar of our own national heroes. For you, how important is it to look back at our history and learn more about the personalities about our past in order to build a better future?
“I believe it is really important and we should not disregard our history. Because why? It is part of our culture, and it is part of our past, and it is part of who we are today as Filipinos. Daghang salamat.“
Nicole Borromeo, Cebu
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate yourself as a responsible Filipino citizen, and why?
“As a responsible Filipino citizen, I’d like to give myself a good 8. Because I know there’s always room to improve; there’s so much I don’t know, but there’s so much I’m willing to learn. I hope to do that with you.”
Gabrielle Camille Basiano, Borongan, Eastern Samar
Pageants are a celebration of beauty and goodwill. However, there’s also a lot of toxicity online and offline that fails to empower us women. If you win as our Binibini, how will you deal with fake news and other negative comments criticizing your looks, intelligence, and the way you live your life?
“I’ve been receiving a lot of opinions from other people, and I’m not complaining about it, because people are entitled to their own opinion. As for me, I will always remind women that we are strong, independent, and courageous. Because these are the traits that are very critical to the complicated roles that us women play in today’s society.”
Yllana Marie Customs, Laguna
What are your thoughts and feelings on the advocacy ‘My Body, My Choice?’
“I believe that all women should always be entitled to our own opinions and we should have the most autonomy on whatever decision we have towards our body. Because us women, we are a tower of strength, a pillar of hope, and a champion of purpose. And we should always believe that all our choices should always come right into our hands.”
Diana Mackey, Nueva Ecija
A pageant crown can give you fame and influence but so can social media and other online channels. So how can a pageant still attract young women to its platform when the internet can make instant celebrities out of content creators?
“I know that both platforms can give you fame and give you influence. You can influence people on both platforms but through pageants, you can be your own person. You could use your voice, voice about your opinions, your advocacies, that is the exact reason why I joined Binibining Pilipinas because I was an influencer before. Yo hice Pinoy Big Brotherbut then I decided to join this pageant because I want to use my voice, my advocacy.”
Jasmine Omay, Tarlac
Studies say that Filipinos are one of the happiest people on earth. Why is this so, despite the huge challenges Filipinos face every day?
“I personally experienced such difficulties during the past three months of Binibining Pilipinas, traveling all the way from Tarlac to Manila in split hours. And I know that Filipinos are happy because we love to do our passion, our purpose in life and that is the greatest reason why we are happy. And I know I am happy right now and I hope you are too. Thank you so much.”
Roberta Angela Tamondong, San Pablo, Laguna
Nowadays, we often hear the word “essentials.” At this point in your life, what are the missing essentials and why do you say so?
“I think one of the missing essentials nowadays especially you came from generation X is maybe old telephones. Because the reason why I remember my dad and I going to a vintage shop and buying a vintage telephone. And with that, I can really see the importance of our history and what we came from in the past. Thank you.”
Annalena Lakrini, Bataan
Becoming a beauty queen is a pursuit of fame. What are you willing to give up for fame?
“Well, actually a couple of months ago, I just moved to the Philippines. My whole life changed. But for me that wasn’t a sacrifice because it was my dream and I always wanted to be in the Philippines, not only to join Binibining Pilipinas, but also to be closest to my family and to my Filipino heritage. And today, I am living the dream on this stage.”
Anna Carres De Mesa, Batangas
What would your rather be – a person who leads, or a person who innovates?
I would rather be a person who innovates, especially nowadays, that is what we need. We need innovators, we need people who would push us further in our future because what we need is people who would help us to have a more progressive future. Especially now that we’re under a pandemic, we need people who would help us. That’s why I would love to encourage everyone to become innovators, to push for your decisions in life, and don’t be scared to take risks.
Stacey Daniella Gabriel, Cainta, Rizal
Personally, how do you distinguish a historian from a Marites?
A historian is one who recognizes our painful past with factual evidence, looking back at our rich, vibrant history, and as well at the times that our humanity was trampled on that and our heritage was almost erased. If we look at our past, we can surely move onward and upward and rebuild, rise from this pandemic, and dream for a safer, healthier, and happier Philippines.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism