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Controversial RP bet to Miss World quits


The beauty queen, who earned fame (or notoriety, if you like) for winning a title even after fumbling during the question and answer portion of the country’s biggest beauty contest, has quit as Philippine rep in an international pageant.

Reigning Bb. Pilipinas-World Janina San Miguel, who became an Internet sensation after her answer in Bb. Pilipinas contest early this year was uploaded on the video-sharing site YouTube, is no longer representing the country in Miss World 2008 to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa sometime this December.  

According to a statement released last September 29 by the Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc., “Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) regrets to announce that Ms. Janina San Miguel has resigned as official representative to the 2008 Miss World beauty pageant.

“The untimely demise of her grandfather, among other personal reasons, has caused her undue stress, thus hindering her from fulfilling her duties for the said title... BPCI wishes to express its gratitude to Ms. San Miguel for this act of graciousness and concern for the country. They also wish her well in her future endeavors.”

According to a source, however, “Janina was actually technically fired, but not dethroned.” Dethroned would be the ultimate disgrace for any beauty titleholder as it meant that she has been stripped of her title. The same source told The Freeman that the latest development could prove to be good for Janina and the organization as she wasn’t ready, owing to the fact that she never became serious about her training for Miss World from the very start. “In fact, she couldn’t imagine that after winning in Bb. Pilipinas, she still had a bigger competition to contend with. She still had to absorb the idea,” the source said.

Sought out for a reaction, her trainer, former Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Karen Loren Agustin, refused to comment if Janina had indeed proved to be a headache to the organization these past months, only saying that if “she isn’t comfortable joining Ms. World, so be it.”

“I admit that I’ve not seen Janina in a while, so I can’t really say if she regrets or not for not joining Ms. World.”

In an interview with the local press last month during which the launch of the new national pageant Turismo Pilipina, of which Agustin is one of the organizers, she told the Freeman that Janina still has a lot to work on and some growing up to do to be ready for Ms World.

Bb. Pilipinas World 2006 and “Istayl Na To” host Anna Maris Igpit, for her part, confirmed that she did get feedback from fellow Bb. Pilipinas titleholders that Janina had been “pasaway,” missing out on training sessions. “I can’t blame her. Janina was, after all, a first-timer. Getting ready for an international competition is tough. You hardly see your family and hardly go out because your schedule is packed with training sessions. During my time, there were occasions when I wanted to give up. So, maybe she got depressed. Maybe, the pressure took a toll on her.”

Both Igpit and Agustin, nevertheless, expressed confidence in Janina’s replacement. Based on the rules and regulations of the BPCI, Binibining Pilipinas 2008 first runner-up Danielle Castaño will take over Janina's duties as the country's representative to the Miss World 2008. Agustin said, “Danielle is gorgeous and very intelligent. She still has ample time to prepare as the competition which is happening on December. I think she will represent the country well in Miss World.”   

This latest development is nevertheless perceived to be a sad ending on Janina’s much-written-about and very controversial Bb. Pilipinas win. A Masscom student, Janina had candidly admitted in past interviews that she joined Bb. Pilipinas on impulse, with no backer or knowledge what Bb. Pilipinas is really about. She just got enticed by an advertisement promoting the pageant.

It will be remembered that during the pageant, she said on national television: “Well, my family’s role for me is so important b’coz there was the wa- they’re, they was the one who’s… very… Hahahaha… Oh I’m so sorry, Ahhmm… My pamily… My family… Oh my god… I’m… Ok, I’m so sorry… I… I told you that I’m so confident… Eto, Ahhmm, Wait… Hahahaha, Ahmmm, Sorry guys because this was really my first pageant ever b’coz I’m only 17 years old and ahahaha I, I did not expect that I came from, I came from one of the tough 10. Hmmm, so… but I said dot my family is the most important persons in my life. Thank you.” It got uploaded on YouTube, fanning a national debate on whether Filipinos who don’t speak English well deserve to win beauty contests.

But even if she was widely lambasted for “murdering the English language,” she still earned her share of sympathizers, who rooted for the statuesque beauty to pull things off in her next and most important pageant. Had she done well in Ms. World or at least survived the preparation that it entailed, this lass with very humble beginnings (her father is a jeepney driver) could have been a good “case study” of someone who rose above zero experience and overwhelming criticism. But now, it seems she has lost the opportunity of proving detractors wrong. At least, for now. Janina could still use her experience (and YouTube popularity) to her advantage and succeed in future endeavors, whether within or outside the pageant circuit. – NMT

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