The representative of the Philippines to the Miss Universe will no longer be from the annual Filipino national beauty contest Binibining Pilipinas. This is according to former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson, the biggest investor in staging Miss Universe 2016 in the Philippines.
Founded by Miss International 1960 Stella Marquez-Araneta, Binibining Pilipinas Charities Incorporated has been the official national franchise holder of the Miss Universe Organization since 1964. The most recent Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Catriona Gray, who was crowned Miss Universe 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand on December 17, 2018.
It was Singson not Marquez-Araneta who accompanied Gray back from Thailand to the Philippines. After spending her year-end vacation in her home country, Gray moved to New York City, New York, United States where she will stay for a year as the reigning Miss Universe.
On January 3, 2019, Marquez-Araneta was asked about the Philippines’ Miss Universe franchise during the send-off press conference for Miss Intercontinental Philippines 2018 Karen Gallman at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. She told ABS-CBN News that the franchise was still with the BCPI.
The BCPI founder and chairman did not mention Singson. But she said, “If some people are saying something else, let them talk about it.”
For the first time, Singson confirmed that he already owns the franchise. He told the Philippine Star, “The franchise is already with me but it has not yet been announced.”
“I think it shall be formally announced this January or February when Catriona comes back again to the Philippines,” Singson claimed. “Binibining Pilipinas Universe will be replaced with Miss Universe Philippines. Noon pa binibigay sa akin ‘yan (It has been offered to me before) because I’ve been helping them since 2016.”
The Philippines has been competing in Miss Universe since its first edition in 1952. The Filipino representatives from 1952 to 1963 were chosen through the national beauty pageant Miss Philippines.
Crowned in 1964 under the BCPI, Myrna Panlilio was the first ever Bb. Pilipinas-Universe. From 1967 to 2010, the three winners of the annual Bb. Pilipinas were the representatives of the Philippines to Miss International, Miss World and Miss Universe.
Since 2011, the Philippines’ representative to Miss World is chosen through a separate pageant called Miss World Philippines. The BCPI added Bb. Pilipinas-Tourism in 2011, Bb. Pilipinas-Supranational in 2013 and Bb. Pilipinas-Intercontinental in 2014, which are given to the respective Philippine representatives to Miss Tourism Queen International, Miss Supranational and Miss Intercontinental.
In 2016, the BCPI no longer awarded Bb. Pilipinas-Tourism but added Bb. Pilipinas-Globe and Bb. Pilipinas-Grand International. From 2016 to 2018, the BCPI crowned six winners, which were the Philippine representatives to Miss Globe, Miss Intercontinental, Miss Grand International, Miss Supranational, Miss International and Miss Universe.
Gray has yet to comment on the staging of Miss Universe Philippines 2019. Meanwhile, here is a recent interview with the reigning Miss Universe: