The Manila's Five Prettiest 2011, from left to right: Channa Mendis, Trixie Maristela, Raine Marie Madrigal, Michelle Binas and Matrica Mae Centino
THE Manila’s Five Prettiest used to be the chosen circle of the most beautiful maidens in the national capital. That was in the early or mid-1970s, and, if memory serves, some of those who belong to this elite group of beauties were Maricar Zaldarriaga (1971 Miss Young Philippines and mother of Mar Roxas’s son, Paolo Gerardo Zaldarriaga), Marian de la Riva (former wife of actor Ronald Corveau and erstwhile companion of William Lao, producer of Bonanza Films) and Maritess Revilla (sister of Tina Revilla-Valencia, ex-wife of Iking Araneta and mother of models Bianca and Paolo Araneta, one of actress Anne Curtis’s exes).
Then, sometime in the 1990s, the Manila’s Five Prettiest turned a new leaf and became a gay beauty contest under the auspices of the late stylist and entrepreneur Jun Encarnacion. The last MFP contest organized by Encarnacion was held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex in 1995. Two of their last winners were Barbie Anderson, 54 years old (born Arturo Natividad on September 9, 1957), and Kate Montecarlo, who both graced the recently resurrected Manila’s Five Prettiest 2011 contest.
With current organizers Markie Binsol and Dr. Reyvic Cerilles ( an EENT specialist from UP Diliman, with specialization in cosmetic surgery from the US of A, according to Binsol himself) the new Manila’s Five Prettiest has undergone its baptism of fire, so to speak, under the aegis of the Futuris Betera organization. To be fair, Binsol and company really did their best and spent quite a fortune in producing the Manila’s Five Prettiest 2011 beauty pageant, something that would come close to the previous idea and execution of, and in memory of Jun Encarnacion.
True enough the Manila’s Five Prettiest 2011 beauty pageant staged at the Pope Pious Auditorium along United Nations Avenue, Manila on July 31, 2011 was a big hit. With minimal admission price (@Ph 150 per) the whole auditorium was filled to its full capacity (seating 1,400) and more. Quite an SRO-rare feat for a paid gay beauty contest, I would say.
The board of jurors was headed by veteran fashion designer and icon Aureo Alonzo together with some distinguished personalities in various fields. The prizes were fabulous, as gay contests go in these parts, and the more important thing was that they were given in cash and in full, along with the gift packages from different sponsors, immediately after the announcement of the night’s winners. Right, Trikks Ugadan?
Each of the five winners received Ph 20,000 cash plus the other prizes (more cash and gift packages) in the special awards, to wit: Best in Swimsuit (Raine Marie Madrigal, Ph5,000 and gift packages); Best in Evening Gown, Trixie Maristela, Ph5,000 and gift packages); Best in National Costume (Ivy Rivero, Ph 5,000 and gift packages); and Best Talent (Matrica Mae Centino, Ph5,000 plus gift packages).
Another special award was given to five popular candidates, as the “People’s Choice,” with a cash prize of Ph10,000 each: Matrica Mae Centino, Raine Marie Madrigal, Gerald Quiogue, Lesly Vidal and Vicky Mae Segovia.
Finally, the Manila’s Five Prettiest 2011 winners are the following, in the order of the judges’ collective decision: Matrica May Centino, from Basey, Samar; Raine Marie Madrigal, Cebu City; Channa Mendis, Iloilo; Trixie Maristela, Pasig City; and Michelle Binas of Sultan Kudarat.
It’s obvious that Markie Binsol and his group have only the best intentions in coming up with a more relevant gay beauty contest for the better future of the community. Earlier in July 2010, they mounted the Bb. Gay Pilipinas 2010 to help create more awareness of their various causes, among them the prevention of HIV and AIDS infection.
As a matter of fact, for the Manila’s Five Prettiest 2011 they left no stone unturned, or so they say, in staging probably the biggest and most prestigious gay beauty pageant so far—before, during and after the contest.
To prove their point, on August 9, 2011, Binsol’s group held the Manila’s Five Prettiest 2011 Coronation Ball at the swank Ibarra’s Garden, located strategically along Padre Faura Street, Manila. (The sprawling venue, an erstwhile ancestral home to an old-rich family in the peninsular city, is beside the famous La Solidaridad Bookstore of National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose and across the Gokongweis’ Robinsons Place Ermita.)
The preparations were grand and bouquets, food and drinks flowed, as if funds were unlimited for such an occasion. Too bad that not that many people came and a number of expected guests did not show up. Talk about some spoilsports and sour grapes as par for the course in contests like these, courtesy of the usual, typical Third World mindset.
But the show must go on like in any other show business. The biggest revelation that night, however, was Trixie Maristela’s admission about her new “functional vagina,” which she recently had under the knife of a local surgeon.
And as Matmat Centino took center stage to do a bravura rendition of the Broadway version of “Cabaret,” the whole house, albeit not full but adequately filled just the same, grooved and drove the blues away. From the looks of it, the Manila’s Five Prettiest is here to stay.