It is a cross-over from one pageant to another as three of the former beauty queen titlists who competed on international stage will try to vie for another title, this time, to clinch the highly coveted crown of Miss Universe Philippines.
Former Reina Hispano-Americana Filipinas 2019, Katrina Llegado, formally announced her return to the pageant scene on February 14 as she posted on her Facebook Page that she will join the MUPh 2022. This 5’7 with morena complexion Pinay beauty queen outshone the Latina dominated pageant for finishing 5th runner-up in Reina Hispano-Americana 2019. She said on her post, “Reina of the UNIVERSE. I am so happy to finally announce that I’ll be joining Miss Universe Philippines this year. This has been years in the making and I’m so excited to share my journey and fulfill my dreams with all of you.” A graduate of Financial Management at De la Salle University, Katrina will be representing Taguig City.
Prior to her formal announcement, Michelle Marquez Dee of Makati City, was already giving a hint for joining another pageant; however, there is no clear point of which pageant she will join. The Pinayactress, athlete, model, TV presenterand the former Miss World Philippines represented the country in 2019 where she finished as top 12 finalist.It was on February 15 when Michelle has finally disclosed her desire to join the MUPh 2022. Pageantry runs in the blood of Michelle being the daughter of former Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez.
Another not so new in the international arena is Celeste Cortesi who was crowned as Ms. Earth Philippines in 2018 and finished as top 8 finalist in ME 2018. Celeste’s team, The Camp, formally announced her participation in MUPh 2022 on its FB Page where they posted, “A Celestial body is gearing her way up to the Universe soon.” The Filipino-Italian beauty has been busy with her modeling career, as well as with real estate. She was advocating for indigenous people and land rights. This “celestial goddess” will represent Pasay City.
The three former beauty titlists where eyed as the heavy favorites because of their experience and impressive finish in the international arena and preparedness to bring back the MU crown to the Philippines after Catriona Gray’s remarkable victory in 2018. But, who knows? There might be a dark horse again which might emerge as the competition gets closer. This fate happened twice in MUPh since its inception.
In 2020, Rabiya Mateo of Iloilo City was in no one’s radar to win the MUPh’s first crown, but she became the eventual winner for her exuding persona and witty answer in the Q and A round. Despite her ups and lows while on her bout for the crown, Rabiya continuedthe winning streak of the Philippines for making it as semi-finalist in top 21. Meanwhile, Beatrice Luigi Gomez of Cebu City victoriously emerged as winner of MUPh 2021 for outwinning the heavy favorites and pageant veterans during her MUPh stint. After her remarkable victory, many believed that she will cut the winning streak of the country in Ms. Universe 2021, but Bea proved them wrong. She exuded her simplicity and elegance to sashay her wit, beauty, and charm all the way to the top 5 of MU 2021.
MUPh has already named its Top 50 finalists. From there, the selection committee will determine the top 30 finalists who will compete on stage at SM Mall of Asia Arena, tentatively scheduled on April 30, 2022.