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Palawan, Bataan bets hailed new Bb. Pilipinas queens

Vanessa Balbuena - The Freeman
Palawan, Bataan bets hailed new Bb. Pilipinas queens
(L-R) First runner-up Katrina Anne Johnson (Davao del Sur) Binibining Pilipinas International 2023 Angelica Lopez (Palawan), Binibining Pilipinas Globe 2023 Anna Valencia Lakrini (Bataan), and second runner-up Atasha Reign Parani (Cavite) / Photos from BPCI FB

CEBU, Philippines — A 22-year-old model from Puerto Princesa, Palawan proved wrong the prediction of many top pageant sites which had another candidate in mind for the main title of Binibining Pilipinas’ 59th edition.

Angelica Lopez was crowned Bb. Pilipinas International 2023 Sunday night at the Araneta Coliseum by Miss International 2022 Jasmin Selberg of Germany and Bb. Pilipinas International 2022 Nicole Borromeo of Cebu City.

Called a “surprise win” by pageant followers, Lopez bested 39 other contenders, including Laguna’s Trisha Martinez who had numerous leading pageant analysts betting their money on her.


Asked by Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan during the Q&A for the Top 11 finalists what made her a Binibini who “walks the talk and who is beyond self-promotion”, the Psychology sophomore said, “I stand here tonight because it is my mother who instilled in me the values and the morals that I am using to be the woman that I am today – a woman who has the strength, courage and tenacity.”

“The strength to decide for herself – what she wants, really works hard to achieve it. To also have the courage to face any obstacles of life and the tenacity to hold on to her wisdom of choice. And I believe, it is always a dream come true to be here and that is why I am the Binibini that I am always meant to be.”

One netizen commented of Lopez’s Q&A performance: “While her answer was not too responsive, it was still well said. She did not buckle and the confidence was there,” before adding that her “unassuming personality made her charming.”

Like Borromeo, Lopez will have a year to get ready for Miss International as the former will be representing the Philippines this October 26 at the Tokyo-based pageant.

A model since she was 14, Lopez joined pageants at an early age to help her family of four make ends meet. She can carry a tune – taking after her musician-father – a skill she showcased during the pageant’s Talent Competition with her rendition of “This Is Me” from the 2018 film “The Greatest Showman.”

Last year, she finished among the Top 16 of Miss Universe Philippines – her first foray into national pageants.

Her bio in the Bb. Pilipinas website lists that among her interests are human behavior, music, arts, philosophy, inspirational books, and documentary series.

She also highlights her advocacy of “inspiring, empowering, and educating less fortunate children to be resilient and limitless amidst challenges.”


- ‘Julia Roberts aura’ -

The evening’s other victor was Anna Valencia Lakrini of Bataan who inherited the Bb. Pilipinas Globe title from Tacloban City’s Chelsea Fernandez. She was also named Best in Swimsuit and Jag Denim Queen.

In response to the question of how a pageant candidate is similar to a politician running for a post, the 25-year-old said, “As someone who’s joining for the second time, I know that a beauty pageant has a platform where we can talk about causes that are dear to our heart.”

“My cause is [accessible and affordable] nutrition, and as a nutritional scientist, as an advocate for proper nutrition, I know in advocating for this platform for Bb. Pilipinas, we can inspire so many. A politician can inspire our whole community, and so can we.”

A netizen noted of the Fil-German who will compete at Miss Globe 2023 later this year in Tirana, Albania: “…she pulled a surprise during the coronation night. She had the Julia Roberts aura. Uber gorgeous.”

A model and German language teacher, Lakrini is under Cebu’s Origin Models & Artists Management which has national beauty titlists Gazini Ganados, Beatrice Gomez, Tracy Maureen Perez, Nicole Borromeo, among others, within its stable.

Lakrini, who looks up to fellow half-German Pia Wurtzbach, is passionate about animals, nature, and learning about different cultures and countries.

First and second runners-up were Katrina Anne Johnson of Davao del Sur and Atasha Reign Parani of Cavite, respectively.

Awardees were Trisha Martinez (Laguna) as Best in Evening Gown, Miss Ever Bilena, and Miss PAL; Mary Chiles Balana (Hermosa, Bataan) as Miss Friendship; Jeanne Isabelle Bilasano (Albay) as Best National Costume; Julia Mae Mendoza (Roxas City) as Face of Binibini; and Candy Vollinger (Catanduanes) as Best in Talent.

Tasked to judge were Olympic weightlifting champion Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, first Pinay Golden Globe and BAFTA Best Supporting actress nominee Dolly de Leon, actor Piolo Pascual, socialite-vlogger Small Laude, Miss International 2022 Jasmin Selberg, Tatler Philippines Editor-in-Chief Anton San Diego, SB19’s Josh Cullen, Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan, presidential son William Vincent Marcos, and businessman Peter Zwiener.

The Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. organization is now left with two titles – International and Globe – after ALV Pageant Circle and the Mutya ng Pilipinas organization acquired the Miss Grand International and Miss Intercontinental franchises, respectively.

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