Miss World Philippines vows to befriend Chinese peopleBy Armin Adina
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines–The newly crowned Miss World Philippines vows to make friends with as many Chinese as possible when she competes in the Miss World pageant in China in August.
Queeneerich Rehman, a 23-year-old Pakistani-Filipino beauty, said she will try to do this as part of efforts to ease tensions between the Philippines and China over a territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“I will try to be friends with them even if they are not nice to me. I will tell them it’s more fun in the Philippines because we have really nice, warm, hospitable people,” said Rehman after her proclamation as 2012 Miss World Philippines in ceremonies held at the Manila Hotel Tent last Sunday night.
Rehman, a former varsity basketball player of the Assumption College, edged out 24 other aspirants to bag the P1-million cash prize and a brand new car from Hyundai.
She also took the lion’s share of special awards during the coronation night: Miss Zenea Body Beautiful, Miss Pantene and Miss AMA-zing Beauty and Brains awarded by AMA University.
During the preliminary events held earlier, she was also proclaimed Miss Philippine Prudential, Miss World Traveler and Miss Talent.
But Rehman said she did not find these early recognitions as indication that she will eventually win the coveted crown.
“First of all I did not want to expect. I just hope for the best and expect the worst,” she confessed.
In the final stage of the competition, Rehman was asked what best features of the country she can project to the world.
She replied: “Wherever you go here in the Philippines, it’s not the islands that make it special but the Filipinos who have warm hospitality, who have smiles on their faces, and give the foreigners the love and respect and hospitality that they can give them. I believe the Philippines is a country we can truly be proud of.”
Netizens field questions
This year’s national competition invited netizens to field questions via the microblogging site Twitter. Posters whose questions were used for the final round received free hotel accommodations from Agoda.com.
Rehman is not new to beauty pageants. She joined the 2011 Binibining Pilipinas pageant where she cracked the Top 12 and was also proclaimed Best in Swimsuit.
When asked by the Inquirer why she thought she has been bagging the Best in Swimsuit awards, Rehman surmised, “I think I’ve just been eating healthy and going to the gym. I love working out.”
Rehman said she plans to use part of her prize money to throw a party for her friends and family to celebrate her victory. She also hopes to invest part of the amount in a business venture.
In an interview right after her coronation as the country’s bet to Miss World, Rehman revealed how multi-cultural her family background is. She said she has yet to meet her Pakistani father, Hanif Rehman. She now lives with her Filipino mother, Amalia, and Japanese stepfather Katsuji Yukawa.
This somehow mirrors the situation of 2010 Miss Universe fourth runner up Venus Raj of the Philippines. The Qatari-born Raj also has not met her Indian father. She lives with her Filipino family in Bato, Camarines Sur.
Last year’s Miss World Philippines winner and eventual 2011 Miss World first runner up Gwendoline Ruais is French-Filipino.
But Rehman did not cite her cross-cultural background as a reason for her victory. Instead, she noted her “passion, perseverance and determination to do my best.”
She only has three weeks to prepare for the international competition before flying to Inner Mongolia in China. Rehman is set to compete with over 120 other international beauties in the Miss World pageant in Ordos on Aug. 18.
“To all the Filipinos, to my supporters and fans out there, please support me and watch the Miss World and continue praying for me,” she appealed.
Assumption College alumnae were the last two ladies standing during the national pageant. Rehman edged out her college batch mate Mary Anne Ross Misa for the title. Misa, who was proclaimed “First Princess,” was also a former Binibining Pilipinas semifinalist like Rehman.
Joining Rehman and Misa in the winners’ circle were “Second Princess” Vanessa Ammann who was also proclaimed Miss Friendship, Miss MyPhone, Miss Olay and Miss Laguna World; “Third Princess” April Love Jordan who was hailed Best in Long Gown, Miss Oracare and Miss Manila Hotel; and “Fourth Princess” Brenna Gamboa who was declared Miss Coco Cabaña.
Jordan, who was the 2009 Miss International Beauty and Modeling Festival Winner in China, has also participated in the Binibining Pilipinas, Mutya ng Pilipinas and Miss Philippines-Earth pageants. Gamboa, who also joined the Miss Philippines-Earth pageant before, was crowned 2011 Bb. Unibersidad and went on to place second in the 2011 World Supermodel contest in Fiji.
The 2012 Miss World Philippines candidates were judged based on the following criteria: Beauty (40 percent), intelligence (30 percent), and projection and x-factor (30 percent).
The pageant’s judges included actress Lorna Tolentino, football star James Younghusband, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara, Laguna Gov. Jorge Estregan Ejercito Jr., and former Sen. Joey Lina who is now the president of the Manila Hotel.
Actress Ruffa Gutierrez shared hosting chores with Edu Manzano, with models John James Uy and Victor Basa as anchors. Radio and TV host Mr. Fu joined 2008 Miss International semifinalist Pat Fernandez in giving backstage commentaries.