Earl D.C. Bracamonte – Philstar.com

September 26, 2021 | 8:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — At the outset, I would say that, except for one candidate who almost choked in delivering her replies, due to jitters and nervousness, all the 27 other delegates displayed utmost grace under pressure. They all breezed through the panel interview with flying colors – proving to all and sundry that, indeed, they are the cream of the crop!

Nonetheless, the creme de la creme for me, were three aspirants who rose above the batch. These were, in equal standing: 

  • Misamis Oriental’s Chella Grace Falconer,
  • Siargao Island’s Michelle Angela Navarro Okol, and
  • City of Manila’s Izabella Jasmine Umali.

All the ladies were asked the same five questions and were all given 30 seconds to respond to each. The last question was given by corporate sponsor Lazada. So I picked out the candidates who I feel gave the most noteworthy answers to each of the questions.

In the first question, “What’s the most important lesson you learned in the past week?,” the candidate who gave the most notable answer was Izabella Jasmine Umali of Manila who said, “In the past week, it’s to trust the process and have faith because that’s all we can do. All the girls have done everything, including myself – have trained and have prepared for this pageant. And all we can do now is trust the process and believe that we will do our best.”

In the second question, “If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, in whose eyes are you beautiful?,” Masbate’s representative Kirsten Danielle Delavin gave the most profound reply in saying that, “In my own eyes! I always make sure that, every day, when I go out – when I’m doing my own makeup – that my standard of beauty is myself. We all have our preferences on what’s beautiful, but I think that I am beautiful because I am me! And I think if I could show a girl that if she can feel like that as well, that’s something that I would be proud of the rest of my life.”

In the third query, “If we truly learn from our mistakes, would you advise a young person to keep making mistakes?,” Misamis Oriental’s Chella Grace Falconer gave the most impactful answer in saying, “I think it is okay to make mistakes – two mistakes or three – but when you keep repeating them, it is no longer a mistake, it is a choice! So I think that we should not keep making mistakes but we should learn from them. Because when we learn from our mistakes, I do not think that we should be able to do it again ’cause we learned the lesson and we become better individuals.”

In the fourth question, “If you have the power to do one of the following things: Eliminate poverty and hunger; a government with no graft & corruption; or solve all environmental problems, which would you choose?,” the aspirant from Makati, Isabelle delos Santos, gave the most thought-out response in saying that, “These are all pressing issues and if I were to choose among the three, I would choose alleviating poverty and hunger. Because the only way to make people rise above the situation, and for the economy to develop, is for people to have access to education and employment. And if we have access to these, we will alleviate and rise above poverty and hunger.”

The other ladies who made a good showing in the preliminary interview were:

  • Jan Louise Abejero of Reina Mercedes, Isabela;
  • Maria Ingrid Teresita Santamaria of Parañaque,
  • Rousanne Marie Bernos of San Juan City,
  • Jane Nicole Miñano of Romblon,
  • Beatrice Luigi Gomez of Cebu City,
  • Jedidah Hefervez Korinihona of Davao del Sur,
  • as well as frontrunners Katrina Jayne Dimaranan of Taguig and Steffi Rose Aberasturi of Cebu Province.

In the last query, given by Kim Viray of Lazada, “If you were to add to cart one item to buy on Lazada to send to all Filipinas to help inspire them during this time, what would it be and why?.”

Maureen Christa Wroblewitz of Pangasinan gave the most useful item which is a motivational book or card. “I would say to go with a motivational card or motivational book with some quotes because I think we all need a little bit of positivity every day. And it will definitely help us get through the worst times.”

After the swimsuit and evening gown preliminaries, the final show will unfold on September 30 at the Henann Resort Convention Center in the paradisiacal island of Panglao, Bohol. 

RELATED: Kisses Delavin drops bombshell abs, parasela at Miss Universe Philippines 2021 preliminaries

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