October 20, 2017, 9:29 am
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A most beautiful day in Philippine pageantry

WE will forever remember the date May 13, 2017, which, to us, is a most beautiful day in Philippine pageantry.

We started our day by going to NAIA Terminal 1 where Mr. Gay World 2017 John Fernandez Raspado was scheduled to arrive from Maspalomas, Spain at 4:15 p.m. 

The Etihad Airways plane arrived at 3:25 p.m. or 50 minutes early. John had a mini press conference at the terminal lobby; he arrived with the Mr. Gay World Philippines Organization officers headed by Wilbert Tolentino.

After a quick snack at the terminal’s fast food outlet, we proceeded to Mall of Asia’s Music Hall at 5 p.m. where we caught – just in time – the 38th Grand Flores de Mayo of the Congregacion del Santisimo Nombre del Nino Jesus. 

Hosted by Miss Earth-Water 2006 Cathy Untalan-Vital and Normandy Ethan Laureta, the traditional religious and cultural event that pays homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary became more special as it coincided with the 100th year of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to Lucia dos Santos, and later to her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto as well. 

Several beauty queens, namely, Miss Tourism Queen Philippines 2015 Nancy Leonard, Miss Earth-Air 2012 Stepahny Stefanowitz, Miss Philippines-Air 2016 Shannon Bridgman, Miss Philippines Earth 2013 Angelee de los Reyes, Bb, Pilipinas 1st runner-up 2014 Laura Lehman, and Miss Supranational 2012 3rd runner-up Elaine Kay Moll, lent their radiance as sagala to the exquisite creations by 30 of the country’s top fashion designers. All were escorted by handsome men in their dapper best. 

The fairest maidens were awarded after the traditional offering of flowers to an image of Our Lady of Fatima: Stephany Stefanowitz, in a powder blue creation by Vince Sityar, was crowned as Rosa Mistica; Shannon Bridgman, in a light yellow Jontie Martinez ensemble, was Reina de las Flores, Jeremie Rivera, in a mint green Filipiniana by Louis Pangilinan, was La Flor de Manila; while Rica Mediavillo, in a pink creation by Rholand Roxas, was La Flor de Pasay. 

At around 9 p.m., Prime Events Productions Philippines Foundation Inc.(PEPPS) staged the first Philippine Pageant Ball at One Esplanade.

Pageant Icon Awards were given to those who have contributed to Philippine pageantry, namely, Rodin Gilbert “Rodgil” Flores of Kagandahang Flores pageant camp; Lorraine Schuck, who co-founded the Miss Earth and Miss Philippines Earth pageants; Renee Salud, the original “beauty queen maker”; Ovette Ricalde, whose numerous pageant franchises for married women opened doors of opportunity for women nearing or past their primes; PEPPS president Carlo Morris Galang, who has raised the standards of male beauty pageants; Wilbert Tolentino, the icon of the LGBTQI community who mounted the latest Mr. Gay World Philippines pageant; Edwin Uy, renowned fashion designer; Pawee Ventura, the founder of missosology.org; and Tony Paat, who has decades-old pageant clippings and memorabilia. Other awardees who did not show up were Stella Marquez Araneta, Jonas Gaffud and John de la Vega.

The glamorous night concluded with the selection of John Raspado and Angelia Ong as King and Queen of the Night.
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