Missed Universe

When I was a child during the late 60s to the early 70s, the annual Miss Universe beauty pageant was a really big thing.  It was usually aired on TV television during lunchtime [ I remember Sundays ] and many of us, specially the kiddies and the teens, would throng to the “Sony” color television [ color TV was a big thing then 😛 ] in Lola Charing’s bedroom to watch it.  Even then, there were many commercials between the pageant segments.

The annual Miss Universe beauty pageants were my first lessons in geography.  We young cousins would turn the old, 1950s globe in the library/office around and around looking at all the different countries.  A bonus of all that “manual globetrotting” was that we were even able to memorize the capital cities of different countries:  China’s Beijing, Indonesia’s Djakarta, Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur, Australia’s Canberra, USA’s Washington D.C., Mexico’s Mexico City, Venezuela’s Caracas, Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro [ now Brasilia ], Chile’s Santiago, Argentina’s Buenos Aires, Spain’s Madrid, France’s Paris, Belgium’s Brussels, Italy’s Rome, West Germany’s Bonn [ now Berlin again ], Denmark’s Copenhagen, Sweden’s Stockholm, Finland’s Helsinki, Iceland’s Reykjavik, USSR’s Moscow, even Mongolia’s Ulan Bator, etc..

To this day, I still remember the roster of winners during the 1974 Miss Universe beauty pageant in Manila [ when I was 7 years old ]:  Amparo Munoz, Miss Spain, Miss Universe;  Helen Morgan, Miss Wales, first runner-up;  Johanna Raunio, Miss Finland, second runner-up;  Ella Cecilia Escandon, Miss Colombia, third runner-up;  and Maureen Ava Vieira, Miss Aruba, fourth runner-up.

When one watches the annual Miss Universe beauty pageant, one is confronted with the secret reality that beauty is no less a power than brains, wealth, or political influence.  It too, has the power to build and to destroy, to nurture and to consume, to do good and to do evil.  One understands why the most powerful of men the world over, when romantically involved with beautiful women, inevitably lose their senses and make fools of themselves.

After all is said and done, all a woman has to be is BEAUTIFUL.  And the world will fall at her feet.


That was a major, major Missed Universe 2010!!!

A dear friend, a seasoned beauty contest judge and veteran, reflected:  “Oh, let’s not fool ourselves…  Miss Philippines Maria Venus Raj wasn’t going to win Miss Universe 2010.  She looks fabulous, that 22 inch waistline, and certainly has what it takes, but there was someone with more.  Miss Mexico, Jimena Navarrete, was leading from the very start.  It’s mathematical, look at the scores!  Of course, they say the scores are leveled out for the final question and answer portion, but the judges had pretty much settled for Miss Mexico.  Even Maria Venus Raj has admitted in interviews that Miss Mexico Jimena Navarrete was a favorite of the judges.  She drew that question about Internet use by the youth but her answer wasn’t any more brilliant, no more intelligent, than Miss Philippines’, and yet she won as Miss Universe!”


Thirty-six years have passed since the Philippines won its second Miss Universe beauty pageant with Margie Moran [ now Mrs. Floirendo ] in 1973;  forty years have passed since the Philippines won its first Miss Universe title with Gloria Diaz in 1969.

Crazy question:  Is it because Ferdinand Marcos is no longer President and Imelda Romualdez-Marcos is no longer First Lady???  You see, both wins happened during the “beauty-conscious” Marcos presidency from 1965-1986.



  1. Nona Pimentel said,

    February 23, 2012 at 5:17 am

    My personal experiences as regards Miss Universes are quite limited owing to the very private life I live. But that doesn’t mean I did not have any personal encounters with our own two crowned Miss Universes, Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran…In the mid 90’s I was having breakfast @the Intercontinental Hotel (Makati) and halfway through about two tables away, sat a woman facing my table directly. She looked familiar and I said to myself, ‘wow she is very pretty’, dark pink lipstick and hair falling loose over her shoulders. And I noticed too that she was in a jogging attire rubber shoes and all. Sans make-up except the dark pink lipstick. Oh, it was Gloria Diaz. I realized then that cameras don’t necessarily do justice to one’s real appearance. There was something about her that spelled much more than beauty and title. It was ‘sexy allure’ and the eyes that talked, that actually impressed me.
    As for Margie, again, I was having dinner @the Intercontinental (Davao) that time, and who did I see in the next table, her. I didn’t recognized at first, owing perhaps to her rather rounded appearance that time. (Quiet married and provincial life, I suppose). Well, if not because she is what she is Miss Universe once before, I would not have noticed her at all. But in fairness though, despite the weight gain, she still looked curvaceous and regal. But the face was simply not enticing enough to warrant a second look if she were not Margie at all.

  2. Jaime Márquez Tayag said,

    November 16, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I’d like to think that Glori Daza and Margie Moran won because they were less (if at all) baduy than our subsequent candidates. People think non-Filipinos cannot understand our concept of baduy, but they can, unless they are themselves baduy.

  3. Mike V. Jugo said,

    September 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Hi Toto!

    I asked a close friend of mine who was Bb. Pilipinas-Universe back in the 90’s what she thinks of the last Ms. Universe pageant. She said that no matter how much training you receive during the 6-month period before the pageant, knowing that literally tens of millions of people are watching your every move will get to you. She’s proud of what Ms Raj has achieved.

    And this is coming from someone with an engineering degree and a member of MENSA, with an I.Q. of 164.

  4. Myles Garcia said,

    September 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Politics, Joel? Then, why, with Cesar Chavez, a burr in the US political armour, in power all these years, does Venezuela keep winning? Why was Miss Russia (2002) dethroned? Why hasn’t a Miss China won — if only to reach out to the most populous nation on earth? Where is the politics in all that? If anything, it’s more the ABSENCE of politics and the denominator of commerce that seemingly pervades Miss Universe, with it being really popular only in the Latin American countries and a few Asian countries. Europe and No. America don’t take these pageants seriously at all.

    And comparing a president’s sister visiting hospitals… to a competition? All royalty and heads of state, their spouses, do that. Of course, it’s both humanitarian and to score PR points as well.

  5. Joel Cruz said,

    September 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    “So Moran won in 1973 NOT because Manila was going to be the next site. Her victory WAS the cause for the move…” Precisely the point. The powers-that-be saw to it that RP won to create enough cause to bring the pageant to the country. Winning and hosting could both be the goals, whichever came first is immaterial.

    Margie Moran’s Q&A was unremarkable at best. When asked what she would do with the prize money, she answered (rather nonchalantly) that she would “open a hotel or something” because her sister was an HRM graduate.

    If nothing short of Divine intervention could be attributed for those pageant wins, wouldn’t politics be a plausible or acceptable reason? It would be totally naive to think that such things as Kris Aquino visiting hostages in the hospital and taking on the role of dengue ambassador have nothing to do with the Palace!

  6. Myles Garcia said,

    September 12, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Toto, correction on post #16. Apasra Hongsakule is actually Miss Universe 1965…NOT 1988. My typo.

  7. Myles Garcia said,

    September 12, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Also, just checked Wikipedia, Larry…there was NO Princess Pignatelli in the 1973 panel of judges which picked Moran.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Universe_1973 Wikipedia is not infallible, but it lists:

    Jean-Pierre Aumont
    Manuel Benítez Pérez, El Cordobés
    Horst Buchholz
    Edilson Cid Varela
    Walt Frazier
    Apasra Hongsakula (the 1988 Miss Universe)
    Herakles Mathiopoulos
    Hanae Mori
    (the late) Lynn Redgrave, Ginger Rogers and Earl Wilson as the final 1973 judging panel.

    Where did you get Pignatelli? Her name appears nowhere on the Miss U panel of judges for the 70’s. Perhaps you are mistaking her as a judge on either the Misses Int’l or World panelists?

  8. Myles Garcia said,

    September 12, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    To Larry: Nah… Margie Moran’s winning HAD nothing to do with Imierda or the fact that the following year the pageant was staged in Manila. In fact, it was the other way around. Because of Moran’s victory (and Gloria’s a few years earlier), Miss Universe, Inc. saw it fitting to bring the pageant to Manila (especially since Juan de la Cruz was going to pay for everything anyway).

    Precedent was set in 1970-72. Marisol Malaret (Miss Puerto Rico) won in Miami in 1970. But it was not until two years later, for the 1972 pageant, that they brought the pageant to other shores, i.e., Puerto Rico) for that first foreign jaunt. The Miss Univ people at that time found that, like the Olympics, they could get foreign suckers to shoulder most of the expenses of the staging the show in exchange for world-wide exposure of the new exotic locales.

    (A little more about the cause-and-effect movements of the pageant and its host-sites: Miss Lebanon won in 1971…but because she was dethroned before her full year was up, they did NOT stage the show in Beirut. They waited until 1972 and took it to Puerto Rico. Australia won in Puerto Rico…but they did NOT take the 1973 show to Australia. Instead, that was previously set for Athens. (BTW, Athens 2010 since I was there in July, is NOTHING like Athens 1974 at all.) Similar,y 5 or 6 Miss Venezuela’s have won, YET they have never taken the show to Caracas. So, it doesn’t always follow that the winner’s country becomes the next host…especially if the winner is NOT from a “summer” country or a place whose locale is not time-zone-friendly to the eastern U.S. and east South America, the prime TV markets of the pageant. Remember the show needs to show off skin and those bikini sponsors, so you can’t have the girls frolicking in some frozen, Antartic, southern hemisphere location. It would look quite absurd. 🙂 🙂 )

    And when they merely end up in Los Angeles or Las Vegas, like this year, it means they could NOT find any foreign suckers meeting their onerous demands, to pay for their little fete. Therefore, they have to settle for the old, familiar haunts of Vegas, Ellay or Miamee..

    So Moran won in 1973 NOT because Manila was going to be the next site. Her victory WAS the cause for the move and at the same time, Miss Universe wanted to revolve the pageant to the various corners of the world willing to pay for the privilege.

    And dat’s dem secret. 😉

  9. September 10, 2010 at 11:30 am

    When Margie won in Athens, the chairman of the board of judges was Princess Pignatelli, IRM’s gal pal. In fact the Princess was wearing a gold electric pleated lame gown by Joe Salazar, while Margie wore an Auggie Cordero gown beaded by Joe Salazar. I remember it like yesterday because I was working as Auggie’s fashion illustrator at the time, 1973.

    IRM bid for the country to host the Miss Universe contest here the following year, remember the famous Folk Arts Theater that was built in 69 days, a marvel of poured concrete by Lindy Locsin.

    Could it be that THAT was why the STILL undethroned Maria Margarita Sison Moran WON ? Well I think she knew something, beacause to this day I have a postcard from her telling mama AUGGIE AND I to ” relax lang kayo, total PANALO na ako. ” a few days before the coronation when she already won Miss Photogenic. IN Auggie’s atelier on Herran, the most perfect body I SAW were 34 24 34 Margie and 35 24 35 Annabelle Rama !

  10. Rina Dy said,

    September 10, 2010 at 8:14 am

    I also think Venus did well in that question and answer portion.

  11. Victor Velasco said,

    September 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Masarap i-dissect ang ilang segudong tanong at sagot na yon. But IMHO, one other aspect is that it was about active listening (after all, conversations — with which these girls should facility — is half listening and half-responding.) She was asked about a major mistake and she answered she never had any major, major problem. Imagine in a diplomatic setting: “What do you think was the major mistake in how the police handled the hostage situation, Venus?” “Sir, our police never had any major, major problem.” 🙂

  12. Josh Moya said,

    September 7, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I still think that Venus did well… 4th runner up is better than not making to the list at all. 🙂

  13. Myles Garcia said,

    September 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Joel, uh-huh…

  14. Joel Cruz said,

    September 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I hope [this] or any of the future Phil. governments…

  15. Joel Cruz said,

    September 4, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Hi, Toto. I agree it’s no coincidence that the Ms. Universe wins were during a time when “the true, the good and the beautiful” were priorities of the government. Whatever interpretation of the “true, good and beautiful” is what’s up for debate, but no one can deny that it takes administrative support to win the Ms. Universe, the Olympics, or maybe the Nobel Prize or any of the ultimate global recognitions. Financially first and foremost, politically, emotionally and idealogically. In fact, I hope or any of the future Phil. Governments make this a top priority. It’s as simple as a military operation: zero-in on potential candidates for these missions, lock these athletes, beauty ambassadors, writers, etc. up in top-secret location training for years, and unleash their brilliance upon the world when the competition comes.

  16. sheryl manago said,

    September 2, 2010 at 7:25 am

    marco philippe:

    clap! clap! clap!

  17. marco philippe araneta said,

    September 1, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    She should have said: My biggest mistake was not being able to spend more time with my fellow Filipina beauty queen Ms so and so who died in a freak accident in the Philippines shortly before this pageant began. She was my best friend and helped me choose my outfits for tonight. (Voice cracking and a tear streaming down one cheek say this to the audience and judges) I would like to take this opportunity to rectify it with your permission (Look up to heavens) I love you so so so much and you will always be my best friend, Thank you for helping bring me here to this moment (Then look at everyone force a big smile then breakdown and cry elegantly) – Not only would she have won but she could have been the greatest and most memorable Ms Universe candidate ever 🙂

  18. Myles Garcia said,

    September 1, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    jj, whether it’s INTRINSICALLY correct or honest, it’s NOT what the judges wanted to hear. And if you want to WIN the crown, then you have to take that into consideration. If you want to be honest with yourself, practice at home in the mirror…there is NO title at stake.

    Ipe, of course…why let an opportunity go to waste? And why should they get credit where it’s NOT due, huh? Carpe diem!! 😉

    Also, folks, apparently there is a NEW int’l beauty title pageant which has NO Manila franchisee yet. It’s the Miss Supranational pageant in Plok, Poland. They just had their coronation last Aug 28. Miss Ukraine won. Look it up. Can’t wait for the Misses Hyper-, Mega- and Giganational to get going!! 🙂

  19. Paz Atienza said,

    September 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Well, whatever it is… her answer was a major,major fumble. Translate: Bonggang-bonggang kapalpakan!

  20. jj macam said,

    September 1, 2010 at 4:52 am

    wait.. A US program aired their views ..it could have been the perfect answer, thats what they said, studies shows most smart people wouldnt admit their mistakes…and most entilligent people couldnt answer the question either. not even Bullshit Bush..( US president ), they showd documentaries to support it.. i think Venus did well..she was just being honest, she is a simple girl from a simple village, life their is simple. how can one creat a big mistake? not even me..i havent done any big mistake yet…because all i have done in life i never regret it. does that make me an airhead as well?

  21. Ipê Nazareno said,

    August 31, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Of course Myles just has to take the anti-Marcos view…


  22. Myles Garcia said,

    August 31, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Answer to “crazy question”: of course not. Gloria and Margie’s victories had nothing to do with the reigning ton-ton Marcouttes then. Gloria, Margie (throw in Gemma and Aurora as well) won because of how they comported themselves in their respective pageants…NOT some spill-over fairy dust from the head Queen Bee at the time. She was too busy spinning her own holes in the atmosphere’s ozone layers.

    As for Venus, she was riding high until the decisive moment. She just gave a total air-headed answer. If anything, it wasn’t so much the details which mattered…because the judges know you are on your feet…as it was the mere semblance of a sensible answer. What the judges wanted to hear was…yes, I made a mistake (somehow, somewhere…), I learned from it…and I am the better person for it. NOT…”I never had any MAJOR, MAJOR…whatever, (may “sir” pa…which I don’t think earned her any points)…but that got me here!! Huh??

    It really defied logic and a normal thought process. What it said was that “I am NOT a vulnerable person…I am UNLIKE everyone else…I never make, encounter or recognize mistakes.” DING!!! WRONG ANSWER!! Go back to the end of the line, girl!! And that’s where she ended up.

    It was really too bad. She seems like such a nice, positive person. But she should’ve thought that one through a little more carefully. The prepackaged answer which it sure sounded like, backfired this time. The point was NOT to come out sounding like an airhead…which is exactly what she did. And she could’ve stalled with a “One more time please…” since that is allowed.

    In hindsight, does Stella and her group even put the girls through really tough paces like this…so they don’t trip up in the end? If not, then her organization should.

    And it also depends on the panel of judges. Sometimes, you just hit it off with a particular group of people; sometimes you don’t. As I said it’s really too bad because at least Misses USA and Venezuela (perennial frontrunners) were not in there this time, so RP really had a clear shot at the big prize.

    Also, there were all those losers in the past, including IRM’s own niece, Margarita L., altho that one competed in the 1967 Miss International pageant BUT nonetheless LOST!! 🙂 If there were TWO (Miss U) winners in the 21 years of the Dark Ages, then there were ALSO 19 losing years. So, all in all, a DISMAL record one might say.

    Maybe when the little Noynoy boy receives the almost-beauty queen, they might TRADE tips on mistakes they made on 23 August 2010…AND the lessons they hopefully learned. I wonder what their respective horoscopes said on that day.

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