OPINION :: The real enemy




The howls of protests were deafening. Only the deaf can’t appreciate the decibel of the noises. The Philippines had this once in a blue moon candidate whose fierceness and confidence was unmatched by anyone else who were competing at Miss Universe 2014. Mary Jean Lastimosa may not be a cup of tea of everyone but she was a very strong candidate. She may be loathed by the bitter gourds and her bashers compared her to so many things from equine to pygmean but that did not stop her in her tracks. Her motivating factor is the love for her nation. Alas, her dream to bring honor to the Philippines was brutally murdered. And so the noise began.

Central to the issue was that cheap gown – la estopa de Colombia – designed by Alfredo Barraza. So many rumors had begun to surface from the plausible (an alleged argument backstage where Mary Jean insisted to wear a Leo Almodal but her pleas were ignored) to the absurd (a grand plot to subdue the Philippines so that Alfredo’s compatriot will win). But whether all these rumors are true or not, it doesn’t matter. Just try to imagine a contemplating Barraza as he decides what gown should he give to Miss Colombia and what is for Miss Philippines. Where will his loyalty go? The true point of having a Filipino designer for gowns of a Miss Philippines is that he or she will be motivated by the love for his or her nation. That reason is enough.


Sadly, the 4-year unbroken streak of Top 5 finish for the Philippines had prematurely ended. It was nothing short of tragedy because if Mary Jean used a better gown and managed to land at the Top 5, she could have made history. She is smart and very witty that she could have made the rest of the Top 5 look stupid. Not that the real Top 5 did not look stupid in what can be described as the dumbest Q&A in the history of Miss Universe – ever.


One can see clearly that there is some sort of damage control. The very people who are responsible for the downfall of Mary Jean are making all sorts of excuses and making PR maneuvers. They thought – and they could be right – that the issue will die down eventually. They will bet that the pageant fans and the general public will simply move on and forget about that gown. Anyway, the new Miss Universe Philippines will be crowned soon so everything is good and the sun is bright – now let’s get it over with.


The writings on the wall however are very clear. It is the beginning of the end. When an organization is running out of ideas and when it is making decisions that are detrimental to its own well-being, no amount of cure will be ever enough. The Filipinos should demand a better organization run by a better person whose main motivation is to bring honor and glory for his or her country and not just sponsorship money. If there is any doubt about this, ask Cory Quirino who managed to snatch the country’s first-ever Miss World crown because she is a true Filipina who utilizes the gowns of true Filipino designers for her contestants.



But now the noises have subsided. Just like when we all forgot that Venus Raj was stripped of her crown and was almost prevented from breaking the long Philippine drought. Just like when we forgot that Shamcey Supsup was provided with a hand-me-down Colombian gown that was only salvaged by that iconic tsunami walk. How long will the Filipinos languish at Miss Universe? How long will they realize that it is not really a puzzle on why they are winning in all Big4 pageants in the last two years but not at Miss Universe? How long will they be able to see clearly on who is the real enemy?





      • I agree especially ALFREDO BARAZZA who is a Colombian fashion designer who made the evening gowns of Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines. Of course, Alfredo will design the best for Miss Colombia and give Miss Philippines the ugliest gown. Common sense will say that.

  1. I don’t think the public’s outrage is dissipating at all. It’s more of silent water running really deep this time around. Enough is enough. This time it has gone too far already. It’s not just a justified reaction to the apparent dashing MJ Lastimosa’s hopes for a well deserved fivepeat performance of the Philippines in Miss Universe. It’s about the brazen bastardization of the pride and passion of a pageant-obsessed nation in its own soil by a foreigner whose motives are highly suspect. If Stella Marquez de Araneta has any sense of propriety a.k.a. delicadeza at all, she should be stepping down ASAP as chairperson of BPCI and give way to a true blue nationalistic Filipino national director.

  2. I say SHAME ON YOU STELLA MARQUEZ ARANETA AND ALFREDO BARAZZA (both of Colombia) … your fellow countryman Paulina Vega has won but only because you two put down and did not fight square and fair and for giving Mary Jean Lastimosa

    Miss Philippines the ugliest ever National Costume and Evening Gown….. but I Congratulate ALFREDO BARAZZA for coming up with the Worst National Costume ever……at least you deserved to be remembered the worst designer ever….

  3. Mediocre people will always find a way to justify their lack of success on external variables: the gown, the stage, the questions, the venue, the city, the weather, the gods….the list goes on and on and on…
    Save yourself some grace by accepting that this year, as in many other years, there were much better and better prepared delegates than your own and that her performance was not up to those on the top five.
    I’ve liked Venus and Shamcey, the two who were truly deserving of a top five position, but Ms Lastimosa was not cut for a top five.
    Be gracious losers and don’t bash anyone else trying to look for a reason to justify your position. Don’t keep making the same mistake is putting filipino fans in everyones’ hate list.

    • I think you got it wrong. We are not complaining about MJ Lastimosa”s performance. She did well that was why she made it to the top ten. We are complaining about her evening gown and national costume because they were ugly and not worthy of wearing them for Miss Universe contest. It does not matter if she wins or not as long as she was fairly treated by wearing a beautiful gown and amazing national costume. Her evening gown and national costume were made by a foreigner who even did not know the culture and traditions of Miss Philippines. She was denied by this foreign fashion designer to have presentable evening gown and national costume. We are not bashing anyone. The panel of judges decide who will win Miss Universe and not us.

      • I disagree with you. Clearly you’re definitely bashing a fashion designer that has proven to be talented and creative by calling him very disrespectful names (‘basura’, as you call his name and even offending his origins).
        The very fact that his creations are on a world-stage should be evidence of his talent and this should gain him some respect from you.
        We’ve seen before that a dress doesn’t necessarily make or break a delegate: Miss USA 2012 wore a very non-traditionally pageant dress (by one of the best designers of the world) and still she managed to exude poise and elegance taking the prize home.
        My issue here is not with how unhappy you may be with your national pageant organisation; the point here is to try to blatantly blame others for what it’s only on your delegate shoulders….shouldn’t it that also be taken into consideration?
        Food for thought, anyway!

        Peace 🙂

        • Come on Nathan , the gown & national costume were f___king ugly. I don’t see anything wrong about saying it. That’s their opinion and mine too. Don’t be so hypocrite… I will never say that the national costume that was created by Barazza was beautiful , because it is not. It was a disappointment, a disaster.

          Just saying …

          • the thing is miss philippines evening gown this years miss universe pageant is some kinda ghost bride slash trash looking suit on stage..if you’l be comparing it to the gowns of the other 9 countries its kinda cheap and you can evendently prove it through the background description of jennie mai..she was at all laughing as she attered ih has so much fun when in fact its like a devine comedy..althought i have no qustion on those contestants who managed to made it on the top 5, still giving a good show for the evening gown while representing her country could be so much fun if miss philippines have justified his signatured walk together with miss argentina and miss venezuela..alfredo baraza is a well stabilized designer but the fact is..designers have high and lows too..and difinitely the gown that miss philippines wore is 6 feet bellow the lows of alfredo baraza..tsk tsk..even jennie mai would have second thought of wearing it im sure.

          • Fair enough!
            Maybe a national competition to chose your national costume (like they do it in Australia)?…
            National identity will always be a polarizing topic. They’ll always be detractors and defenders, but a national competition may offer the chance for the people to feel more ‘involved’ in the selection….
            The same could apply to the EG?

          • Exactly my issue when trying to debate with some of filipino fans. No need to use expletives unless of course, it’s the only way you have to put your point across. C’mon, let’s bring the debate to an upper level. It’s about time.
            And by the way, you don’t know me, so don’t call me a ‘hypocrite’…based on your response alone, I could call you worse than that but I’m not going to get involved.

  4. It is high time to get the Miss Universe franchise away from BPCI organization or Mrs. Araneta’s organization. It has been proven for so many years that every time Miss Philippines compete in Miss Universe contest, she had the worst evening gown and national costume. There is no question of her body and intellect because she worked hard for it by exercising, dieting, personality development training, studying and other training necessary for the competition. Every swimsuit competition, Miss Philippines will always shine. The national costume and evening gown always ruin her chance to win no matter how well she carry them because those attires are ugly and horrible. There were interviews of Miss Philippines being asked what are her national costume and evening gown for the competition and she replied she did not know. She said that she will know them only when she was already in the place where Miss Universe contest was held. Is this true? Miss Philippines does not know her evening gown and national costume until they are open in her room in the Miss Universe venue hotel. I remember the evening gown of Venus Raj ( very ugly), the evening gown of Shamcey Supsup ( cheap looking gown as if it was a second hand gown ), the evening gown of Janine Tugonon ( see through gown and ugly color) the evening gown of Ariella Arida ( a yellow poorly designed gown) and the evening gown of MJ Lastimosa which made her short looking and was the ugliest. All previous Miss Philippines before Venus Raj had the same fate. All wore ugly and cheap looking gowns.

    Miss Philippines deserves better!!! Enough is enough!!! It is high time for a true blooded Filipino who loves his country with passion and dedication to own the Miss Philippines Universe franchise.

    I would like to mention a big appreciation to Miss Cory Quirino for having the Miss World franchise. Philippines finally had a Miss World because of her and her organization. She is truly a dedicated and passionate Filipina who aims for the best for her country the Philippines and for the Filipino people.

    • and other representatives proudly claimed that they codesigned their costumes and gowns with their compatriots 🙁

  5. Stella Marquez Araneta had made tremendous contribution to the Philippines. Being a Colombian married to a Filipino, her achievements of making our country known in international beauty circuit, the many charities of the BBP Charities and her zest to train beauties are proofs of her accomplishments. Why throw mud at her ? Just because of gowns and costumes, we Filipinos are obsessed with insignificant things that will just be thrown away in memories months after.

  6. To Baldomero,

    Are you blind? Have you seen the national costume and evening gown of MJ Lastimosa? Have you seen the news interview with Mrs. Araneta about why she chose Alfredo Barraza, a Colombian fashion designer, to dress up Miss Philippines for more than 20 years now? Did you know that the same Colombian fashion designer create the evening gowns of Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines last Miss Universe 2014? I am not questioning Mrs. Araneta’s tremendous contributions for the BCPI considering the donations and funding coming from different sponsors, companies and individuals. Beauty pageant is business, too. I am just so disappointed of how many Miss Philippines were wasted because of ugly and cheap evening gowns and national costumes. It is not a question of winning the crown or not but it is a question of justice and fairness for Miss Philippines to have at least a beautiful elegant evening gown and a presentable national costume
    that showcase the Philippine culture and traditions. How can a Colombian fashion designer know these things? He is a foreigner and have no idea what are the Philippine culture and traditions. Never say evening gown and national costume are insignificant things. They are vital in the competition. No matter how Miss Philippines carry her evening gown and national costume well, if these attires are ugly and horrible, surely they will create negative impressions and will lower Miss Philippines scores. This is true for so many years until now.

  7. Out of delicadeza, Barraza should stop designing for our delegates.
    Win, finals, semis, or lose in any international contest,
    MATTERS the MOST!!!
    We should seriously rally online and on the ground about this!!!

    representatives should be designed from the Filipino point of view. Why
    not have a design contest among Filipino designers, and whichever
    designs wins will be the national costume of our contestant? Indonesia
    does that and see Miss Indonesia nailed the Best in National Costume with a costume inspired by their UNESCO World Heritage Site and designed by her compatriots.

    Then, a million dollar question, what if foreign contestants training
    in our country (via Gouldian) ended up wearing Filipino designed
    evening gowns? Say, Ms. Myanmar or Ms. Thailand or Ms. Guyana in
    whatever pageant wearing an Almodal’s gown (or LIbiran, M5, etc.). This
    is a freaking huge slap to our faces!!!

    Also, the national
    costumes of whoever representatives should be truly representative of
    the countries that they are representing. These should be
    anthropologically/culturally (see Ms. Malaysia), historically (see
    Ms.Thailand and Ms. Myanmar), and archaeologically (see Ms. Indonesia’s)
    informed and designed by their LOCAL designers with insiders’ points
    of view of their own CULTURES.

    Back to the rally, we should
    start with the National Costume. In fairness to the Colombian designer,
    he designs the evening gowns of both Misses Colombia and Philippines
    well through the years. (Except the last one for MJ. I know that
    Filipino designers can do their best given chances to design gowns for
    the representatives.) But foreign designers, like Barraza, lack the
    Filipinos’ point of view. We cannot blame Barraza if he generalized that
    Colombia and Philippines have parallel histories due to Spanish
    Colonization; he could never have gotten that these two countries have
    entirely different histories and cultures before the colonizers came
    and have different historical trajectories after Colombian expansion.

    Oh by the way, I love Miss Colombia’s umbrella!!! Can we place orders to Barraza for that umbrella???

    It’s not that Barraza is a bad designer. The main point is being a
    foreigner that has no insider point of view. I am writing this as an
    archaeologist anthropologist, heritage advocate, and your compatriot.

  8. Lastimosa was to over rated. She doesn’t even deserve to be in the top 15. Stop crying. The gown isn’t bad, it was pretty ok. Come on…

  9. Really bad losers …. …. MJL was not the best candidate and knew there was at least top 10 contestants ….. she does not blame the organization, the designer so it was not .. … then as explained on other occasions that Miss Philippines is ranked Alfredo Barraza designs ???