By Jose D. Patao, Jr.
ROI Neeve Comanda, 20, representing the Panagbenga Festival of Baguio City, assumed the 2019 Reyna ng Aliwan title in ceremonies at Sofitel Philippine Plaza last Wednesday in the presence of officers of Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC), the organizers of the mammoth annual cultural event promoting festivals throughout the archipelago.
Comanda, who was the second runner-up at the finals last April, replaced Nicole Borromeo, the ninth Cebuana to win the coveted crown, who has been stripped of her title for violating the terms and conditions of the pageant, which she and her manager conformed to in writing prior to the competition.
A week ago, Borromeo issued a public statement on social media that she will officially represent Cebu in Miss Millenial Philippines 2019 which airs on another broadcast network (GMA 7). This came on the heels of her participation in Miss Teen Philippines right after she won Aliwan.
Aubrhie Cindyrelle Carpio of Bulacan’s Singkaban Festival, who was Borromeo’s first runner-up, is also joining Miss Millenial 2019.
It was the first time in the 17-year history of Aliwan Fiesta that the reigning queen has been dethroned.
Comanda, a Tourism Management student of the University of the Cordilleras, will now fulfill the duties left by Borromeo. She will be touring the country, gracing various festivals which will give her the opportunity to expand her knowledge of tourism initiatives of different LGUs while at the same time, promoting Baguio and sharing best practices of Panagbenga Festival.
Comanda is the third Panagbenga muse to wear the Reyna ng Aliwan crown after Syrel Aubrey Amazona in 2005 and Vera Eumee Reiter in 2006.
The event was also graced by Reyna ng Aliwan alumnae, namely, Kizia Maligalig of Atimonan, Quezon (Miss Photogenic 2019); Andrea Fe Gomez of Baguio (1st runner-up 2017), Amazona and Fernandez.
MBC officers, led by its president Ruperto Nicdao Jr., were present, as well as La Rainne Bareng of the Baguio Tourism Office.
Forty empowered women with various advocacies were presented as the official candidates of Miss World Philippines 2019 yesterday at Novotel Manila Araneta Center.
The national search, organized by Miss World national director Arnold Vegafria, will select the country’s representative for the 69th Miss World Pageant to be held in London on December 19, 2019.
Aside from crowning the winner who will have the opportunity to become the country’s second Miss World after Megan Young who won in 2013, three other ladies will be crowned to vie for Reina Hispanoamericana in Bolivia, Miss Eco International in Egypt and Miss Multinational in India.