Miss World Philippines 2016 Catriona Gray is the early top favorite among this year’s batch of Binibining Pilipinas 2018 candidates.
The 24-year-old Filipino-Australian stunner who finished in the Top 5 of the 2016 Miss World pageant topped the first Hot Picks ranking of pageant analysis site Missosology posted on Thursday days after the 40 candidates of Bb. Pilipinas were announced.
There has been a strong clamor for Catriona to join Bb. Pilipinas after her reign in Miss World Philippines. In selecting her as its first Hot Pick, Missology noted that she “fits the bill of current Miss Universe winners: well-spoken, modern, beautiful and most of all, with a purpose-driven agenda.”
“All she needs to do now is improve her physique. Wasting her to some minor, irrelevant pageants would be an injustice,” the site pointed out.
Aside from Catriona, this year’s batch also included several returning candidates not only from Bb. Pilipinas but also those from other national pageants.
Ranked number two is 25-year old Bohol native Karen Gallman, who finished in the Top 15 of the 2012 Bb. Pilipinas pageant.
At number three is Aya Abesamis, the daughter of Miss Universe 1984 3rd Runner Up Desiree Verdadero and niece of Miss World 2003 finalist Mafae Verdadero Yunon. With pageant royalty in her pedigree, the 26-year-old professional model from Pasig is a first-time pageant contestant but is definitely a candidate to watch.
2014 Mutya ng Pilipinas-Asia Pacific International Eva Patalinjug is currently ranked number four. Missosology regards the 23-year-old Cebuana as a “legit contender for any of the titles at stake.”
Also in the Top 5 is Sandra Lemonon, who finished fourth runner-up to Catriona in the 2016 Miss World Philippines pageant. Only 23 and also from Pasig, Sandra looks all set to follow Catriona and win one of the six crowns up for grabs.
Also among Missosology’s First Hot Picks are Mutya ng Pilipinas-International 2011 Vickie Rushton, volleyball superstar and former “Pinoy Big Brother” housemate Michele Gumabao, first time contestant Dr. (yes, she is a doctor) Ena Velasco, Bb. Pilipinas 2016 second runner-up Jehza Huelar, and Miss Philippines-Earth 2016 Loren Mar Artajos, who assumed that title after the resignation of the controversial Imelda Schweighart.
The titles at stake in this year’s edition of Bb. Pilipinas are Miss Universe Philippines,
Bb. Pilipinas-International, Bb. Pilipinas-Supranational, Bb. Pilipinas-Grand International, Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental and Bb. Pilipinas Globe.
The pageant’s coronation night will take place on March 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.