08 March 2009

Gersbach, Manalo, Umali top Bb. Pilipinas Pageant

The Binibing Pilipinas Pageant 2009 crowned its top three beauty queens early Sunday, starting with 22-year-old Pamela Bianca Manalo as Bb. Pilipinas-Universe, followed by 23-year-old Melody Gersbach as Bb. Pilipinas-International and 22-year-old Marie-Ann Umali as Bb. Pilipinas-World.

Named before them were 26-year-old Regina Hahn as second runner-up and 20-year-old Richell Agalot as first runner-up.

The coronation was held at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, with the show starting late on Saturday. It was aired live over GMA channels nationwide with Paolo Bediones and Iza Calzado as hosts.

The winners were crowned by their respective predecessors – Patricia Fernandez (Bb. Pilipinas-International), Jennifer Barrientos (Bb. Pilipina- Universe), and Danielle Castaño (Bb. Pilipinas 2008).

Castaño replaced Janina San Miguel who resigned late last year after the death of her grandfather.

Winners' backgrounds

Manalo won several other awards – the Best in Swimsuit award, after which she also got a sponsor's honor, the Manila Bulletin Readers' Choice Award. Manalo, a 22-year-old native of Manila, is an Advertising graduate of the Assumption College who now works as a flight attendant.

Gersbach – who did not win any other award – was born in Germany, but her mother hails from the Bicol Region, where Gersbach manages the family restaurant in Albay. She is after all a graduate of the University of Asia and the Pacific with a degree in Management.

Earlier in the night, Umali also won the Best in Long Gown and Miss Photogenic plum. Umali, a native of Batangas City, took up Tourism at the College of Saint Benilde. She plans to be a flight attendant and dreams of putting up her own restaurant.


Shortly before Umali's award, Angalot was named as Miss Talent, for a dance that she performed a week earlier on Talent Night on Saturday. She was also won the awards for Miss Natasha Beauty and Araneta Center Shoppers' Choice – both coming from pageant sponsors.

Angalot, a native of Tagbilaran City, graduated with a Tourism degree from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Under the stage name Rich Asuncion, she is one of the talents of GMA Network.

Hahn, a native of Manila and Computer Science graduate from the Ateneo de Manila University, works as an information consultant for an international company.

Candidate No. 4 Gizelle Jasmin Rivamonte was named as Miss Friendship, which carried the distinction of having been voted by the other candidates themselves. Rivamonte, a 23-year-old native of Quezon City, is a registered nurse working at the Oncology Unit of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center. She graduated from the Far Easten University.

There were 24 semifinalists, but Candidate No. 13, Sandra Inez Seifert, was disqualified a week before for having done a sexy pictorial that was published in a men's magazine.(gmanews.tv)