Second time is worth the wait.
A 25-year-old fashion model, who was disqualified from the pageant in 2012 due to conflict with an endorsement contract, was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2016 at the Bb. Pilipinas beauty pageant held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City early Monday morning.
Crowd favorite Maria Mika Maxine Medina of Quezon City bested 39 other candidates to represent the Philippines at the 65th Miss Universe beauty pageant later this year. She was crowned by outgoing Miss Universe Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, now reigning Miss Universe.
It would be recalled that Medina has been named as one of the official candidates for the 2012 Bb. Pilipinas beauty contest. But organizers decided to disqualify her when they found out she had existing contract for an endorsement.
After four years, Medina decided to give the Binibining Pilipinas another try with the support of her family and friends. She succeeded.
Medina, who’s a dead ringer for actress Lovi Poe, is a member of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines. She took up interior design at both De La Salle-College of St. Benilde and the Philippine School of Interior Design and later graduated. Now she also works as an interior designer of residential condominiums.
The very Asian-looking beauty queen, who has been modeling since eight years old, is the girlfriend of model-actor Marx Topacio. Her first modeling gig was a cover for a magazine. She stands 5’9, weighs 125 lbs. and body measurements 33-24-34.
Medina is the second child of Maximo Guillermo Medina, a former commercial model and a flight attendant for Philippine Airlines, and Maria Fe Medina, also a former model and a senior bank manager for Metrobank. Maxine also won the Miss Philippine Air Lines special award.
During the question-and-answer portion, Medina was asked by ABS-CBN chief operating officer Cory Vidanes: “Even if her parents want to send her to school, a 15-year-old girl wants to stop her studies, what would be your advise to her?”
Medina said: “I would tell the girl to study hard, no matter what their parents would tell them. Because having an education is something that… something that… cannot have that anybody else. Education can make you an even better person.”
MB READER’S CHOICE
Versoza, who has been named Manila Bulletin Readers’ Choice, waited for a second try before she won a title.
The Ateneo de Manila University business management graduate was crowned Bb. Pilipinas-International and will soon compete at the 2016 Miss International beauty contest.
Aside from Manila Bulletin Readers’ Choice Award, Versoza also won the Miss Photogenic and She’s So JAG special awards.
The Manila Bulletin Readers’ Choice Award was presented by Badette Cunanan, Public Relations Manager, Manila Bulletin; and Barbie Atienza, Head of External Affairs, Manila Bulletin.
Versoza recalled the first time she visited the Manila Bulletin office in Intramuros as part of the corporate visit of the 2015 Bb. Pilipinascandidates.
“We toured the Manila Bulletin compound and it was fun! The history that goes with the newspaper is very interesting,” she said.
Versoza, 24, of Baguio City, first competed in the 2015 Bb. Pilipinas beauty contest. She only placed then in the Top 15.
Asked about lessons learned in her first try, Versoza said: “One of the lessons learned was to be aware and be present on stage. This time I know I’m more prepared what to do. I went on diet, watched videos, and read for current events.”
At the question-and-answer round, Versoza was asked: “Why do you deserve to win a Bb. Pilipinascrown tonight?”
Versoza answered: “The person who deserves to win Binibining Pilipinas crown tonight is the person who has worked hard for it and is willing to do everything to continue the legacy of the Philippines. She is confident with an attitude and has a personality and I believe I am her.”
The 5’9 stunner has been a commercial model for three years now. She is the daughter of Raquel Buenaventura who competed in Bb. Pilipinas in 1983, now a writer and professor at the University of the Philippines.
6 ‘BINIBINI’ TITLES
Aside from Bb. Pilipinas Universe and Bb. Pilipinas International crowns, four other girls won titles at the 53rd edition of the beauty contest.
They are Jennifer Hammond, Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental; Joanna Eden, Bb. Pilipinas Supranational; Nichole Cordovez, Bb. Pilipinas Grand International; and Nicole Manalo, Bb. Pilipinas Globe.
First runner-up honors went to Angelica Alita while Jehza Huelar, second runner-up.
Other winners of special awards were Vina Openiano, Bb. Congeniality and Bb. Talent; Hammond, Best in Evening Gown; Eden, Best in Swimsuit; and Angela Fernando, Best in National Costume.