Sidelined for over a year, the much-awaited comeback of Binibining Pilipinas 2021 was as grand and glamorous as ever. This time, however, meaningful changes were made for this year’s milestone.
It’s true what they say, all good things come to those who wait. After being sidelined for over a year from its original schedule and having to navigate the persisting pandemic, as well of its safety and social protocols, the much-awaited Binibining Pilipinas 2021 coronation night finally pushed through last night at its historic home, Araneta Coliseum. Even if the festivities were held virtually, at very limited capacity, or from a safe distance, there was a lot to look out for, especially for followers and fans in this pageant-obsessed country. But despite being parched for the fanfare of it all, the most important consideration was the ushering of a new beautiful in an era of pageantry redefined.
Bathed in a kaleidoscope of lights, 34 hopefuls basked in the grace, glamour, and glory of the coronation night. Armed with their dreams and destinies, the beauty queens worked their best for four crowns: Miss International, Miss Grand International, Miss Intercontinental, and Miss Globe. Over the course of the night, through portions to showcase their introductions, swimsuits, evening gowns, and speaking skills, we got to know the contestants a little bit more, proving that the Filipina is unmatched. While Binibining Pilipinas 2021 ran a little too long, clocking in at well past midnight, it was still a grand comeback nonetheless for the sash and the sisterhood.
From herstory made, head-scratching moments, and an abundance of passion, these are all the moments at Binibining Pilipinas 2021 that had us snapping our fingers and saying, “yes, queen!”
The Catriona Gray And Nicole Cordoves Team-Up
“February 5, 2020 was the afternoon I met up with Madam Stella and in-between catching up, I floated the idea of an all-female hosting tandem for a future edition,” reveals Catriona Gray (Miss Universe 2018), in an Instagram post just hours before the Binibining Pilipinas 2021 coronation night. The future wasn’t too far ahead as last night, a milestone was made when together with Nicole Cordoves (Miss Grand International First Runner Up 2016), became the first all-female hosts for the long-running pageant.
Initially brought in as mentors for the beauty queen hopefuls last year for unique sessions, Catriona Gray and Nicole Cordoves would spark a revolution in the system, etching their herstory for Binibining Pilipinas. Decked out in the finest of Filipino fashion, which to our last count was a change of four outfits each, they carried the show all throughout the night with their unparalleled energy and exuberance, as well as of their unequalled wit. You could definitely sense the level of ease and joy the dynamic duo had as they rallied through the challenges of live television.
We are definitely here for the further empowerment of women. Sign us up for this future, please.
The Glitter, Glamour, And Gowns
There was no shortage of sass and sparkle as the women showed off the very best of what Filipino fashion can offer. With the creativity coming from all corners of this country, the display of glitters, glamour, and gowns, gowns, and even more gowns leaned into the fantasy of pageantry. Dripped in pearls and sequins, draped in the finest fabrics, and detailed with beads and crystals, there was definitely a lot to see in realizations of riveting restraint and all out indulgence. Highlights of the night included Catriona Gray’s immaculate white sculptural Jaggy Glarino masterpiece, Nicole Cordoves’ glamazon-appropriate purple breastplate and skirt combination, the romance and drama of the beaded net-like hood of 1st Runner Up, Gabrielle Basiano, and much to delight of Drag Race fans, the reveal from frilly to fierce in pink by Binibining Pilipinas Miss International 2021, Hannah Arnold.
The Stellar Judging Panel
To find the best, you have to start looking with the best. For the four major crowns in contention this year, Binibining Pilipinas 2021 left no stone unturned with its panel of judges. An assemblage of esteemed personalities in various fields and focuses, the panel included Pinky Webb, Rajo Laurel, Maria Garcia (General Manager of Novotel), Dioceldo Sy (CEO, Ever Bilena), Benito Bengzon Jr. (Tourism Undersecretary), Kylie Verzosa (Miss International 2016), Enrique Gil, and Liza Soberano.
The Nail-Biting Questions
No beauty pageant is complete without its equally awaited question and answer portion. Here, the sharpness of the mind is tested on the same plane as the physical aspect of beauty. With topics ranging from fake news and social interactions, romantic relationships formed online, and the effectivity of a female politician, the Binibining Pilipinas 2021 candidates articulated the best they could in 30 seconds. Joining the judges were pre-taped questions from Congresswoman Vilma Santos-Recto, Michael Cinco, and one of the night’s trending personalities, Boy Abunda, who asked Karren Laurie Mendoza (Miss Iloilo) the now infamous question: “Ngayon madalas nating naririnig na it’s okay not to be okay. My question is when is it okay not to be okay and when is it not okay to be not okay?”
The Passionate Ode To The Philippines
As much as it is a showcase of beauty and brains of the Filipina, Binibining Pilipinas 2021 took the time to honor the spirit of the country in an emotional exposition that was brimming with poetry and passion. Taking full command of this stirring undertaking, Catriona Gray and Nicole Cordoves volunteered to write it themselves after first hearing that they were to deliver a message of hope at the tail-end of the program.
“We wrote this message together in the hopes that we get to tell the story of every Filipino in the pandemic—a story of heartbreak and new found hope,” says Nicole Cordoves on Instagram. “We decided the tone needs to be distinctly different. So, we asked our Kuya Caloy [Buendia] to help us make it sound like spoken word and poetry—stemming from his deep love for our country, he added the fire and the heart the message needed as well.”
The New Anthems
Aside from Zack Tabudlo’s Binibini, which appropriately scored the evening gown segment, and Darren Espanto’s rendition of Together We Fly, Binibining Pilipinas 2021 introduced a new theme song, Binibining Filipina. With words and music by Chochay Magno, music arrangement Mark Armas, the surprisingly catchy number is a showcase of modern OPM, fusing traditional orchestrations with contemporary productions. Performed by Elaine Duran, the anthem is not only empowering, it makes you want to dance.
The Binibining Pilipinas 2021 Winners
After the long wait and a seemingly longer night, the winners were finally announced. From the selection of deserving hopefuls, the 2nd runner up and 1st runner up were Meiji Cruz and Gabrielle Basiano respectively, meanwhile emerging triumphant for the four major crowns were Maureen Montagne (Binibining Pilipinas Globe 2021), Cinderella Faye Obeñita (Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental 2021), Samantha Panlilio (Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2021), and Hannah Arnold (Binibining Pilipinas International 2021). Congratulations, queens, now may your reign hold as much purpose and passion as you poured into the pursuit of Binibining Pilipinas 2021. Now, bring home the crowns, binibinis.