I can’t begin to thank someone for making it possible for me to watch, again, our country’s most prestigious beauty pageant. I can’t even bring myself to sleep now thinking that by six o’clock in the evening of April 17, I will be queueing up at the entrance to the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City for the 2016 Binibining Pilipinas Coronation Night, with my mind meandering around what a confidently momentous and beautifully phenomenal the night will be as well as how competitive and tight the competition between this year’s candidates since two of our reigning Binibining Pilipinas queens represented our country successfully last year.

To Mommy Melinda Barlao, mother of my Binibining Pilipinas 2012 bet Gina Joy Howell, thank you very much. Never did I expect to be given such a wonderful opportunity again, since my friendship with your daughter was extended to the family during the Binibining Pilipinas 2012 Coronation Night until now that you’re all based in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. I will always remember that it was also because of you that I was able to witness the pageant back then. When I went to Western Union to claim the gift you sent me, I felt surreally touched wondering how someone so far both geographically and relationally could be so kind to me. Thank you very much.

Actually, the Philippines won six major international crowns in the year 2015, and I just said two because the four others came through Miss Philippines Earth, Mutya Ng Pilipinas, and whatnot. The cream of the crop is, needless to say, Pia Wurtzbach, who was crowned in the United States as Miss Universe 2015. Ann Lorraine Colis, who was originally crowned as Binibining Pilipinas 2015 Tourism, represented us to Miss Globe 2015 in Canada and bagged the crown. Christi Lynn McGarry placed first runner-up to Valentina Rasulova (of Russia) who took home the Miss Intercontinental 2015 crown in Germany. Parul Shah, originally crowned as Binibining Pilipinas 2014 Tourism, was appointed to represent the Philippines to the Miss Grand International 2015 pageant in Thailand and ended up with the third runner-up sash.

Among our 2015 non-Binibining Pilipinas beauty queens who put our planet on the map was Angelia Gabrena Ong. In faraway European country of Austria, she succeeded fellow Filipina Jamie Herrell to be the third one from the Philippines to have won the Miss Earth crown. Others were Cindy Pacia Madduma (Miss Scuba International 2015, crowned in Malaysia), Leren Mae Bautista (Miss Tourism Queen of the Year 2015, crowned in Malaysia), and Trixie Maristela (Miss International Queen 2015, crowned in Thailand).

Need I say that the Philippines is, inarguably, the powerhouse of beauty and that this year’s quest for another bevy of confidently beautiful Binibinis is worth traveling to?