“Why was MS PHILIPPINES Bianca Manalo NOT in the TOP 15?”

Miss Philippines Pamela Bianca Manalo

Miss Philippines Pamela Bianca Manalo

Anna Lorraine Kier, Bb. Pilipinas Universe 1977 asked me this question on my Facebook during my “coverage” of the Ms Universe 2009 pageant (thanks to Kat Kattera – I was just echoing his Facebook coverage, LOLOL!!!). Her question:

Why was Bianca not in the top 15? What went wrong kaya?

I’m going to deal with that question in this post (doubt if I could answer it) because many people are just as shocked as Anna Lorraine and I that Pamela Bianca Manalo did not make it. I hope you can help me figure it out as well – write down your thoughts in the comments section if you have an OPINION, THEORY or IDEA.

Here are a few random thoughts on this disturbing matter:

1) My personal opinion: Pamela Bianca Manalo is DROP DEAD GORGEOUS and deserves to be in the Top 15.

She has the height and has that beauty queen demeanor. She speaks well and trained very very hard to the point of losing 30 lbs for the pageant. From what we saw of her on the Miss Universe site, she outdid many of the other candidates. Most of the missosologists from all over the world had her marked down in their favored-to-win list.

2) Possibility: The judges most likely had no idea what was going on online.

There was a lot of noise going on ONLINE not just for Pamela Bianca Manalo but also for several Asian candidates namely Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. Rumours were flying all over the forums and websites and blogs that the Asians were catching everyone’s attention. I’ll repeat it again, Pamela Bianca Manalo was on the favored-to-win list of many of the top missosologists, Filipino or not.

Apparently, the articles that claimed that judges were impressed by Ms Philippines and the Asians were just wishfully thinking aloud.  In my experience, judges don’t talk about their preferences to anybody outside of themselves and top organizers. You can only make a guess by observing their reactions when watching the candidates – and again, in my experience, most judges are polite and strive to either be blank-faced or impressed by every candidate.

It also seems pretty obvious that the judges paid little attention or did not even know about the ‘Asian Online Hype’. I will be the first to admit that reading articles online about the candidates changed my opinions about them. For example: Ms Vietnam had press releases left and right saying she was gaining the favor of judges, etc. etc… In the beginning I wasn’t a Vietnam fan but after reading all the articles on her, I became persuaded. This is not to say that she is not deserving; I just felt that she did not have the traditional Beauty Queen look.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the judges were asked to desist from going online to look up the candidates as media hype is very very influential. I am certain that if they did go online to read all the news articles, they would have seen a lot of Pamela Bianca Manalo and would have given her more consideration.

3) Theory: Pamela Bianca Manalo was not what the judges were looking for. And neither were they satisfied with the rest of the Asians.

Lets look at the distribution of the Top 15:

9 Europeans – Iceland, Albania, Czech Republic, Belgium, Sweden, Kosovo, France, Switzerland, Croatia,

3 Latinas –  Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Domican Republic (altho this is geographically in North America, I’m putting this in the Latina corner as t is a Spanish-speaking nation)

1 African – South Africa

1 from Oceania – Australia

1 North American -USA

As you can see, Europe dominated the Top 15. Asians were completely OUT.

But in the TOP 5, Latinas dominated with 3: Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the winner Venezuela.

Europe had one: Kosovo, and Australia was the other runner-up.

4) Theory: This is from my friend and missosologist Jezzejames:

“Joyce, since Miss Universe is owned by Donald Trump and also owns Trump Modelling agency in New York. Beauty is in the eyes of Donald Trump! Mr. Trump will go for beauty than brains. (My observation only) He will have the last say since he owns the pageant. What he wants is to bring NBC ratings up. Beauty is business. Ms. Teen USA is out of US television this year becoz of poor ratings but can be watch at the internet.  Although many contestants are smart with their answers. The biggest point in judging as far as Miss Universe is concerned is Beauty and proportioned. I know it’s sad but we’re living in material World. Bahamas probably will be in the top 15 for consolation. Beauty sells and it’s all business. Mr. Trump hires Ines Ligron(French)  to manage Miss Japan.  Japanese had been partners with Mr. Trump. I just missed the old Bob Barker days. then again I could be wrong…(it’s my own opinion) Ever wonder why Mr. Trump wants to see the girls face to face? becoz he has the last say.”

Well, what can I say except that it seems like Jezzejames seems to have a pretty plausible theory. My argument against Jezzejames though, is this: If his heory is true, i believe that Donald Trump would still be too busy to sit down and carefully choose his candidates so maybe he lists down 15 or so girls that he likes upon meeting and then bahala na the judges on the final rankings. Or he has an advisor or team of advisors outside of the judges who helps with the final choices.

Also, Pamela Bianca Manalo is not the flirtatious type at all. In my interview with her, she was very demure and a little cool (but not unfriendly). Maybe when she met Donald she was very Filipina and conservative – characteristics that he might not find bankable if we are to go by Jezzejames’ theory.

Donald Trump with Ms Philippines Pamela Bianca Manalo photo from Beauty Expert Felix Manuel

Donald Trump with Ms Philippines Pamela Bianca Manalo photo from Beauty Expert Felix Manuel

5) Theory: Gone are the days when Ms Universe judges made politically correct choices.

I am not sure if the almost total disregard for being PC was a good thing.

First disturbing thing I noticed: The host candidate, Miss Bahamas was not in the Top 15. Personally, I am astounded by the rudeness of this.

There were no Asians in the Top 15.

There were no very dark-skinned ladies in the Top 15.

They allowed Venezuela to win twice in a row. I personally do not mind this “un-PC” move as Ms Venezuela IS deserving and in my opinion, had the best answer of all the 5 finalists.

Asking all 5 girls different questions. I prefer it when ONE question is asked while the other ladies cozy up in a soundproof booth. Some questions just happen to be easier to answer than others…in my opinion, a ONE question pageant is more PC.

6) Truth: The panel of judges who chose the Top 15 were not the same set of judges for the final night.

This certainly ties the hands of the final set of judges. They’re stuck with the choices of the first set. I wonder… what if Dean Cain and co. were the judges from the very start? Would the final 15 be different?

I also feel bad for the African-American judge on coronation night Tamara Tunie: I’m sure she would’ve been much happier if the first set of judges selected a few African or dark-skinned ladies for the Top 15.

7) Theory: It’s just not the year for Asians.

My good friend Ross has this to say:

There’s such a thing as flavor of the month or year. Remember that year when the ones who won the grammys were latino artists…santana, ricky martin, JLO, etc. Asians are just not popular this year!

8) TRUTH: GOING BACK TO MY NUMBER 1 RANDOM THOUGHT – Pamela Bianca Manalo is drop dead gorgeous. She comes from a country where ALL beauty queens are loved and adored. And she is THE MISS UNIVERSE for us. Congratulations for your fantastic performance can’t wait to see you back home!


According to ABS-CBN journalist Dyan Castillejo who is in the Bahamas, our girl Pamela Bianca Manalo seems content and not too bothered by not placing in the Top 15. Bianca says she did her best to bring the crown home but it did not happen so there’s nothing that can be done about it anymore. After the pageant, scores of Filipinos and even foreigners came over to have photos taken with her. Many of them said they expected her to place or to win. Pamela Bianca Manalo will stay one more day in the Bahamas with her family but will be back in the Philippines on Thursday, August 27, 2009.

UPDATE: Pamela Bianca Manalo eventually admitted that she was affected by not being in the Top 15. She even used the word “depressed” to describe what she felt backstage at the Ms Universe. I believe that Pamela Bianca Manalo kept a brave face after the pageant for the sake of her Filipino supporters and her family. Click here to watch my CS/9 TV Report on Pamela Bianca Manalo’s return to the Philippines.