As the year draws to a close, another Binibini is set to make waves in another international pageant. Binibining Pilipinas-International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago hopes to be another source of inspiration and joy for Filipinos who are still reeling in the aftermath of Yolanda. “I’m Bisaya, from Masbate, and my province was also affected by Yolanda. While I can’t go there personally to help them, I want to dedicate my performance in Miss International for them. I’m going to Tokyo not as Bea Santiago, but as Miss Philippines, and I am hoping to win the crown for our country,” Bea declares.
The 23-year-old, 5’9” stunner from Masbate has undergone months of rigorous and expert training in preparation for the Miss International 2013 pageant. From personality development, Q&A, Japanese language lessons, social graces, gym, pasarela, hair and makeup, and one-on-one coaching with Miss International 2005 Precious Lara Quigaman, Bea has got more than enough help in preparing for her upcoming pageant stint.
The former model has come a long way to achieve her dream of becoming a beauty queen. Her modeling experience helped Bea develop confidence onstage, since as a child, she was painfully shy. “When I started modeling at 17, I was so shy that I couldn’t even look at a guy! The first time I interacted with a male fellow model was in a shoot, and I couldn’t even look at him so in the end they had to replace me. It was awkward!” Bea shares with a laugh. The former shy girl from Masbate has come a long way from her wallflower days. Being a model has helped a lot in developing her confidence, “but nothing is comparable to being in a beauty pageant; you really grow as a person,” she says.
Now, Bea is more than ready to walk the Miss International stage. The statuesque beauty proudly reveals her “Miss International” walk, which she thinks is one of her assets. “I have a different pasarela for Miss International,” Bea shares. “For Miss International, you have to be more feminine, more relaxed, more charming, more queenly.”
Bea also shares a tip she got from former Miss International Precious Lara Quigaman herself. “Before Lara left for Miss International, she cut out a picture of herself and the crown, and she pasted it on her mirror. Every morning she looked at it and said, ‘Hi, Miss International!’ A fan of mine actually did the same thing, and I have the picture saved in my phone so I can look at it every day,” she says.
While Bea asserts that her own brand of personality will make her stand out in the competition, she also admits looking up to Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez as her inspiration. “I look up to Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez, because she is such a personality. I am just very fascinated with her as a person, not just as a beauty queen. I love how she’s so real, how she loves to travel, and how she’s not afraid to love.”
Miss Supranational 2013 Mutya Johanna Datul thinks Bea will return to the Philippines victorious. “I am confident that Bea will win the Miss International crown because she is the perfect package. She’s got a fit and well-proportioned body, a beautiful face, a good heart, and a smart mind. Ang advice ko sa kanya is i-enjoy niya ang experience, maging friendly siya sa mga co-candidates niya, and ipakita niya kung sino ang totoong Bea Santiago, para mahalin siya ng lahat,” Mutya says.
The 53rd edition of the Miss International pageant will be held in Tokyo, Japan on December 17, 2013. Ikumi Yoshimatsu of Japan is the reigning Miss International. Bea will be competing against 78 other contestants in the pageant.
The Philippines has won the Miss International crown four times: Gemma Cruz in 1964, Aurora Pijuan in 1970, Melanie Marquez in 1979, and Precious Lara Quigaman in 2005. To vote for Bea and increase her chances of bagging the country’s fifth Miss International crown, visit www.miss-international.org.
Photos by: Melvin Sia, Emerson Cebanico and Rolly Ong.