'Due to uncertainties': Herlene Nicole Budol withdraws from Miss Planet International 2022 pageant

Earl D.C. Bracamonte - Philstar.com
'Due to uncertainties': Herlene Nicole Budol withdraws from Miss Planet International 2022 pageant
Herlene Nicole Budol in one of the pageant activities at Miss Planet International 2022 in Uganda
Herlene Hipon Budol via Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Herlene Nicole "Hipon Girl" Budol could have taken home another crown for the Philippines, but the Binibining Pilipinas 2022 1st runner-up has withdrawn her participation at the Miss Planet International (MPI) 2022 pageant. 

In a prior report, there was optimism that the arrival of MPI president Sr. Pedro Francisco Marquez would somehow iron out the brouhaha happening in Kampala. Reports said some of the contestants were fending off for themselves in both bed and board with their own resources. The controversy has resulted in, reportedly, at least six delegates withdrawing from the competition and also deciding to return to their respective countries.

Earlier, her manager, Wilbert Tolentino, said they would wait on the organizers to fix its problems and release its official statement. However, in a 360-degree-turn, Tolentino changed his mind.

In his Facebook post yesterday, November 11, Tolentino wrote, "Due to uncertainties by the organizers, I have decided to withdraw Herlene Hipon Budol from the competition despite numerous attempts to fix some pageant debacles. It seems like the Ugandan Government has no initiatives to intervene."

"We apologize to the supporters, who were rooting for her since day one. To the team, sponsors, and designers, thank you and I am sorry. Thank you to the Filipino community in Uganda for the comfort and well wishes," he added. 

Tolentino said he was "very hurt" and described their experience as traumatic. 

"For me as MPP national director, I am very hurt. Not only did we lose a crown, lots of money and lots of effort, but the loss of time. But we will never lose hope because we have a bright future awaiting back home. This is indeed a traumatic experience for all of us but we fought for it until the end. And that is our mission," Budol's manager said.


Tolentino's decision is seen as his way to put a stop to speculation on what will happen to Hipon Girl in Uganda. While most Filipino fans were optimistic that Herlene would return home victorious, untoward incidents have necessitated her withdrawal from the competition.

Pageant observers were of the opinion that since the MPI is a young pageant, it should have held the 2022 pageant in Cambodia rather than Uganda to save on logistics and minimize overhead costs. The 2019 pageant, they say, was a top-notch production. Too bad, the Kampala controversy has nipped the pageant's bud very early on.

Here's hoping Herlene finds another international pageant to compete in, should her team still want to.

The Miss Planet International 2022 coronation night is scheduled to take place on November 19 at the coastal city of Kampala in Uganda.

If the pageant gets scrapped this year, reigning titleholder Monique Best of South Africa will remain in history as, not only the first crowned winner, but also its longest reigning titleholder. Krizia Nicole Apao Vargas of the Philippines was named the 4th runner-up in 2019. 

RELATED: Miss Planet International 2022 canceled? Candidates, Wilbert Tolentino speak up

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