Most of the candidates in this year’s Mutya ng Pilipinas are first-timers in beauty contests.
While other beauty contests are known to include candidates who have joined other beauty contests in the past, Mutya ng Pilipinas scoured the country to unearth new faces, says fashion designer and Mutya project designer Renee Salud in an interview with Bulletin Entertainment and select members of media during the press presentation at the Midas Hotel, Manila on July 18.
Salud boasted that a good 90% of the 30 official Mutya candidates this year, ranging from ages 19 to 23 years old, are first-timers in national beauty pageants.
“It has been said by everybody na ang Mutya ng Pilipinas is a stepping stone for a lot of ladies who won in other national beauty contests,” he pointed out.
The contestants are Dale Ivory Lee, Regine Fondevilla, Jean Margaret Tamparong, Clarisse Angelika Barrameda, Nova Joy Johnston, Phoebe Corrine Pataytay, Gina Damaso, Reynalyn Flores Yamanouchi, Jillian Kristin Deveza, Maribee Tiburcio, Donna Marie Libre, Keziah Llare Gallardo, Jessica Barbour, Regine Semira, Caitlin Gainey, Kaylee Calaguas, Mutya Johanna Datul, Emi-Con Sauquillo, Kariza de Guzman, Diana Joyce Ramirez, Carin Adrianne Ramos, Charmaine Guintu, Paula Bascon, Emma Tiglao, Rizzini Alexis Gomez, Gylene Angelica Ramos, Rachel Malumes, Larrah Grace Lacap, Camille Guevarra, and Priscilla Kimberly de la Cruz
The ladies were selected following a series of regional screenings conducted nationwide and even abroad, Salud said.
“We had a series of trainings and we had them speak to experts of the business to transform them from being plain janes to beauty queens.”
Jacqueline Tan, President of Mutya ng Pilipinas Inc., shared that the competition this year will see some “changes” in which old and the new traditions meet.
“Siguro ‘yung mga pageants before were more of Maria Clara types, so ngayon we’re gonna be more hip na talaga kasi we’re having our swimsuit competition in Cebu.
"So it’s going to be a fashion show. Not only a swimsuit competition but we’re gonna have a fashion show talaga. It’s gonna jive with the music and they’re gonna dance and sashay on the runway,” Tan enthused.
At the press launch, some of the girls got an edge over the rest by receiving special recognitions. Mutya ng West Coast USA Kaylee Calaguas bagged the Mutya ng Sheridan award as well as the Mutya ni Lito Sy award (Most Photogenic) while Mutya ng Isabela Mutya Johanna Datul received the Press Favorite award.
The overall winners in the competition will take on the titles Mutya ng Pilipinas-International, Mutya ng Pilipinas-Tourism and Mutya ng Pilipinas Overseas Communities. They will represent the Philippines in various international beauty pageants abroad.
The winners will also receive cash prizes and gift certificates.
Salud gladly shared that the winners will be given "opportunity to land in decent jobs because the owner of Mutya ng Pilipinas now has a lot of businesses. Those ladies who will be willing to work with them will be accepted.”
Mutya ng Pilipinas grand coronation night will be on Aug. 12 at the UP Diliman Theater, 7 p.m. with delayed telecast on GMA-7 at 10:30 p.m.
By MAUREEN MARIE BELMONTE