From Nuffnang

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Remembering the 1994 Miss Universe Pageant in the Philippines

Miss Universe Philippines 2024, the fifth edition of the Miss Universe Philippines pageant, is scheduled at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay tomorrow, May 22.

The Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) is a country-level beauty pageant that chooses the official representative of the Philippines to Miss Universe, one of the Big Four beauty pageants. 

Exactly thirty years ago today, the Philippines successfully staged the 43rd Miss Universe pageant.

Photo Credit:

Following are clippings related to Lindablue F. Romero's coverage of the historic event for the May 22, 1994, issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Some personal notes, comments and trivia are also included.

Photo Credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer / Boy Cabrido


*** There were 77 candidates who participated in the 43rd Miss Universe pageant, which was held on Saturday, May 21, 1994 at the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. It was the second time the prestigious event was held in the Philippines. The 23rd Miss Universe was conducted at the Folk Arts Theater in 1974.

Miss Universe 2016, the 65th edition of the pageant was held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, also in Pasay, on January 30, 2017. That was the second time in the competition's history that the pageant skipped an entire year, following the 2014 pageant which was held in January 2015.

*** In 1994, the two-hour event ended with eighteen-year-old Indian model Sushmita Sen as the winner. Sen was the first-ever candidate from her country to become Miss Universe. (Lara Dutta and Harnaaz Sandu, both from India, were declared Miss Universe 2000 and Miss Universe 2021, respectively).

Miss Universe 1994 started at 8 a.m. and was broadcast live by ABS-CBN to about 600 million viewers in 60 countries. The wide reach of the TV network helped the Philippine Host Committee, led by Tourism Secretary Vicente Carlos, in boosting the public's awareness of the pageant. 

*** President Fidel Ramos and First Lady Amelita Ramos led the prominent personalities who graced the historic occasion. Other notable attendees were Vice President Joseph Estrada and his wife Loi, Speaker Jose de Venecia and his wife Gina, as well as socialite Rosemarie "Baby" Arenas.

***According to the article, Sen was never discouraged from giving her best despite the knowledge that she was never the crowd's favorite. Several judges at the pageant lauded her "nice" attributes, "inner beauty" and "soul," as wells as "intelligence and strength."

On a personal note, my friends and acquaintances had named their bets weeks before the pageant. No one among them named Miss India, who proved to be a successful dark horse.

*** Miss Colombia Carolina Gomez and Miss Venezuela Minorka Mercado were very popular among Filipino pageant enthusiasts. Gomez and Mercado went on to clinch the first and second runner-up honors. 

Gomez was the subject of a politically incorrect joke by then-Vice President Joseph Estrada. (Yes, the previously mentioned Estrada.) He quipped he will have his wife assassinated if the candidate from Colombia will agree to become his mistress. 

In an interview with news program TV Patrol, celebrity fortune-teller Madam Auring predicted that Miss Valenzuela will win. Perhaps, she was referring to Miss Valenzuela.

*** It was summer vacation back then, so I have had time to follow the pre- and post-pageant events. I admit to being one of the multitudes who rooted for Miss Belgium Christelle Roelandts. She was well liked by Filipinos, probably because of her Barbie-doll aura. Months later, I even bought a picture of hers like the one below for five pesos. 

Photo Credit: / Noel Orsal

About a week after purchasing that photo from a sidewalk vendor outside school grounds, a classmate asked for that picture as a keepsake. His exact words were, "Pa-arbor naman."   

Christelle Roelandts' stint probably made Filipinos aware that there is a country called Belgium. There was even a moment in history that the Philippines almost became a Belgian colony. In a similar vein, Miss Belgium was not able to "conquer" the Philippines: She did not make it to the semi-finals.

*** Post-pageant, Miss Australia Michelle van Eimeren and Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres went on to explore successful careers in Philippine show business.  

Michelle van Eimeren was chosen as a co-host of the daily noon-time variety program 'Sang Linggo nAPO Sila (Tagalog: They Are Now On All Week). She was also cast in movies such as Manolo en Michelle: Hapi Together, Isko (Adventures in Animasia), Pwera Biro Mahal Kita: D' Beachboys and Syempre Ikaw Lang: Ang Syota Kong Imported. In the first three movies mentioned, she was paired with actor-singer Ogie Alcasid. They got married in 1996. 

Meanwhile, Dayanara Torres showcased her terpsichorean skills on ASAP (All-Star Sunday Afternoon Party) and Easy Dancing. In these weekly programs, she lived up to the moniker "Dancing Queen." On the silver screen, she was paired with Aga Muhlach in Basta't Kasama Kita, Gary Valenciano in Hataw Na and Cesar Montano in Type Kita … Walang Kokontra.

No comments:

Post a Comment