Hashtag: Beyond Beauty

For pageant-crazy fans, the long wait ends on June 9 when six beauties from all over the Philippines will be named the country’s fairest. During the Bb. Pilipinas 2019 coronation night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the next set of Filipina beauty queens will be chosen to represent the country in six different competitions abroad, including the Miss Universe and Miss International beauty pageants.

Interestingly, Bicolandia is well represented with at least six of the 40 official candidates coming from this region. Probably the influence of Catriona Gray, the reigning Miss Universe, who traces her maternal roots to Oas, Albay. Ms. Gray has clearly upped the standards for missosology not only with her beauty of face and form, but more importantly with her wit, confidence, and social awareness. And yes, her lava walk.

Wanting to follow Catriona’s footsteps, these Bicolanas are out to prove that beauty contestants can also be relevant and essentially ‘woke’ to current local and global issues.


Events host Shane Tormes, 27, from Polangui, Albay is currently working as an events host and singer. She, however, wants to use her voice for more important causes such as HIV-AIDS awareness.

Aside from her interest in films, Daraga, Albay’s Julia Saubier is also into martial arts. The 24-year-old Master’s student says she is now working with a group that teaches Filipino martial arts to enable women, children and LGBTQ members to protect themselves.


Raised by her father who is a farmer, travel show host Francia Layderos feels strongly about the role of farmers and agriculture in the country’s economy. She says that if farmers were appreciated more and respected, the country’s progress will be sustained.


Online English teacher Hannah Arnold of Masbate has a degree in Forensic Studies. This 23-year-old wants to be able to move people to provide educational supplies to students so that they will be motivated to study hard and pursue their dreams.
Representing Sorsogon, Maria Isabela Galeria is a 20-year-old Registered Nurse. As a Binibini, she wants to convince people to take care of those suffering from mental health issues and realize that they can still be productive citizens.

And of course, our local bet from the Happy Island!


Denise Omorog, 24, from Baras, Catanduanes is a recent graduate of Consular and Diplomatic Affairs and dreams of becoming an ambassador in the future. For now, she wants to use her voice to protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

Two other contestants, Sigrid Grace Flores and Joanna Rose Tolledo, also have their origins in Catanduanes, but are representing Iloilo and Caloocan City, respectively.


An entrepreneur and missionary by profession, 26-year-old Sigrid Grace Flores from Iloilo likes that she gets to inspire people through her work. She has joined a movement called Sons and Daughters, which motivates people.

A guidance counselor by profession, Joanna Rose Tolledo says that she has always had a soft spot for children with special needs. This 25-year-old from Caloocan City aims to raise awareness about their condition and urge people to become more accepting of them.

I feel inclined to ask the question again: Do Bicolanas have more fun? Please click here for some insights.

(Photos and captions sourced from https://www.bbpilipinas.com/2019-official-candidates.php)

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