Miss Grand PH pageant opens application for March finals

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Arnold Vegafria (fifth from left) welcomes Miss Grand International President Nawat Itsaragrisil (sixth from right), Vice President Teresa Chaivisut (sixth from left), and the global tilt’s reigning queens. Image: Philippine Daily Inquirer/Armin P. Adina

MANILA, Philippines—In grand fashion, yet another national pageant was launched to search for the country’s representative to a Thailand-based national competition, whose Philippine franchise has changed hands several times now.

A second Miss Grand Philippines pageant was launched in an event held at Hilton Manila in Pasay City on Nov. 24, with not just one but nine international beauties in attendance, led by reigning Miss Grand International Isabella Menin from Brazil.

The Brazilian beauty, who snagged her country’s first Miss Grand International win in Indonesia last month, was accompanied by the global pageant organization’s president Nawat Itsaragrisil and vice president Teresa Chaivisut.

Second runner-up Andina Julie from Indonesia, third runner-up Luiseth Materan from Venezuela, and fourth runner-up Mariana Beckova from the Czech Republic also graced the occasion.

Fifth runner-up Roberta Tamondong from the Philippines also attended the event with her other fellow fifth runners-up Pich Votey Saravody from Cambodia, Priscilla Londoño from Colombia, Oxana Rivera from Puerto Rico and Hirisley Jimenez from Spain.

They were all welcomed by talent manager Arnold Vegafria, whose ALV Pageant Circle recently acquired the Miss Grand International franchise for the Philippines. His group also holds the national licenses for the Miss World, Miss Supranational, Miss Eco International, Reina Hispanoamericana, and Miss Eco Teen International pageants.

“This has long been a big dream for me, to forge a meaningful alliance with one of the most prestigious pageants in the world. I will do my best to make our relationship flourish, and to support each other’s charities and advocacies,” he said in his speech.

When asked, Vegafria told the Inquirer that the Miss Grand Philippines pageant is already accepting applications for next year’s competition, which will be staged at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City in March.

A source from the local organization also revealed to the Inquirer that Vegafria’s ALV Pageant Circle is exploring the possibility of hosting the Miss Grand International pageant in the Philippines in 2024. The global tilt’s 2023 edition will be hosted by Vietnam.

The first national franchise for the Miss Grand International pageant in the Philippines was acquired by the late pageant mentor John Dela Vega, who sent Binibining Pilipinas runner-up Ali Forbes to the 2013 pageant where his ward finished as third runner-up. In 2014, he mounted a national competition to search for the country’s representative to the global tilt’s second edition.

In 2015, the Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) acquired the license and sent 2014 Bb. Pilipinas Tourism Parul Shah, who finished fourth in the international contest. The national pageant organization has also produced first runners-up Samantha Bernardo and Nicole Cordoves, and second runner-up Elizabeth Clenci.

Tamondong has now become the last Bb. Pilipinas titleholder to be sent to the Miss Grand International pageant. She initially finished in the Top 20 in the contest held in Indonesia last month, but assumed one of the fifth runner-up spots vacated by Yuvna Rinishta from Mauritius who rescinded the post.

The Filipino queen had already worked with Vegafria before her Bb. Pilipinas stint. The national pageant director appointed her as the Philippines’ representative in the 2020 Miss Eco Teen International pageant in Egypt, where she scored the country’s first victory.  /ra

RELATED STORIES:

Binibining Pilipinas organization withdraws from Miss Grand International

Miss Grand International appoints Roberta Tamondong as 5th runner-up after titleholder resigns

Brazil waging Miss Grand International; Bb. Pilipinas Roberta Tamondong umabot sa Top 20

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