One of the most anticipated pageants in the Philippines is finally taking place this month, crowning the country’s representative to the 60th Miss International beauty pageant.

The excitement is building up with just a few days to go before the much awaited coronation night. We have all seen the official candidates showcase their goods in the swimsuit presentation and national costume videos, giving pageant analysts a glimpse of who are likely to stand out from a sea of beautiful ladies.

Leading our new leaderboard is the stunning Meiji Cruz of Valenzuela City. The 27-year-old model is back with her guns fully loaded after her Bb Pilipinas 2012 stint. This gender equality advocate definitely did her homework. She was the clear standout during the Bb Pilipinas swimsuit presentation, working the poolside runway in bikini with so much ease. Meiji is one of the most polished candidates in this year’s edition, and we see her making an impact in any international pageant out there.

Not far behind is Borongan’s Gabrielle Basiano. This 22-year-old model and former former Miss Philippines Earth candidate is a unanimous choice among our pool of experts as one of the top contenders for this edition. Her styling is always on point and we are keeping our fingers crossed that she does well in the onstage Q&A come finals because her face screams winner.

Occupying the third spot is 25-year-old cabin crew and mental health awareness advocate from Iloilo, Karen Laurrie Mendoza. After Rabiya Mateo’s Miss Universe Philippines win, hopes are high that Karen will give their hometown another national title. Her doll-like features, effortless charm and sophistication could be a hit in Japan-based Miss International.

Just when we thought she was losing steam, Rizal’s Honey Cartasano served us looks that were too hard to ignore! The 26-year-old model came back stronger this year with a fresher look and a fiercer attitude. Honey is currently at her best form and we believe it is the right time to give her a crown she so deserves.

Rounding out our Top 5 for now is Caloocan’s Shannon Tampon. The 24-year-old stunner is peaking at the right time and who knows, she might be the biggest surprise come finals night. She is gaining more fans as the pageant progresses, and it is no surprise given her engaging personality and beaming confidence.

Check out the full list here:

1 Valenzuela, Meiji Cruz
2 Borongan, Gabrielle Camille Basiano
3 Iloilo, Karen Laurrie Mendoza
4 Rizal, Honey Cartasano
5 Caloocan, Shannon Tampon

6 Batangas, Maureen Montagne
7 Masbate, Hannah Arnold
8 Manila, Patrizia Garcia
9 Oriental Mindoro, Graciella Lehmann
10 Angeles, Ma. Francesca Taruc

11 Arayat, Noriza Mae Valerio
12 Cavite, Samantha Alexandra Panlilio
13 Davao del Sur, Justine Felizarta
14 Agoncillo, Micca Rosal
15 Quezon Province, Patricia Denise Babista

16 La Union, Carina Carino
17 Olongapo, Alexandra Faith Garcia
18 Lapu-Lapu, Mercedes Pair
19 Cagayan de Oro, Cinderella Faye Obenita
20 Sultan Kudarat, Honey Be Parrenas