MANILA, Philippines - Each day brings beauty pageant fans closer to the Miss World pageant in Indonesia on Sept 28 and the Miss Universe pageant in Russia on Nov 9.
There is no denying that the Philippines is one of the most supportive countries in the world when it comes to Philippine representatives and beauty queens.
Rappler interviews Pawee Ventura, a co-founder of Missosology.org, an international pageant forum known for its juicy content, diverse commentary on pageantry and controversial predictions.
Rappler: How did Missosology start?
Pawee Ventura: It was founded by Ric Galvez of Guimaras, Philippines, and started as a small, personal webpage containing essays about the Miss Universe 1994 pageant. In 2002, Missosology affiliated with the Miss Mexico website to form a Spanish version under the supervision of Arturo Su and with Miss Indonesia Unofficial to build the Bahasa version under Ronald Suwandi. We've formed an alliance since.
What is Missosology's mission?
Missosology is an online beauty pageant magazine and forum that covers Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International and Miss Earth. It has been around for 14 years, thanks largely to our legion of loyal beauty pageant fans, writers and artists worldwide.
The website is constantly quoted by countless international TV news organizations, magazines and newspapers.
How many members does Missosology have at present?
As of writing, we have 144,278 registered members. A total of 29,725,679 people from 216 countries participate in the forum.
What projects or events does Missosology have?
We aim to start our own international pageant in the future. It’s a work in progress. We also intend to build a beauty school or training grounds for beauty pageant aspirants.
We are in talks with several big companies that want to team up with our site. Due to the mileage we bring, we continue to cover various pageants overseas through invitations from directors and pageant founders.
What do you think sets Missosology apart from other groups?
Missosology is multi-national. We've embraced countless missosologists from different parts of the globe. This feature contributes to an enhanced and expanded perspective on what beauty and pageants are all about.
We do it all for the "labor of love" or passion for beauty pageants. It's what keeps Missosology afloat. Volunteerism is a great part of Missosology’s success.
She sat as one of the judges in Miss Asia Pacific World 2011 in Busan, South Korea
Pawee, how did your passion for beauty pageants start?
The first pageant I watched was Miss World 1993 when Miss Philippines Ruffa Gutierrez placed Second Princess. I consider her my idol until now!
My passion for pageants strengthened when the Miss Universe pageant was held for the second time in the Philippines in 1994. I was literally glued to the TV.
I remember being obsessed with Miss Belgium Cristelle Roelandts, the one contestant who nearly brought our country down to its knees. I was only a Grade 4 student when Miss Universe was held here and I had a huge collection of her photos! My classmates even nicknamed me "Belgium" because of it!
Why do you think the Philippines is such a pageant-loving country?
During the live telecast of the Miss Universe 2011 pageant in Brazil, the commentator quipped, "Filipinos are the greatest fans in the world!" Seeing our representatives excel in international pageants also makes us proud as Filipinos. We celebrate as a nation.
In the Philippine setting, pageants are an institution that will not fade away. Every sitio, barrio, baranggay, local town and city holds and conducts its own beauty pageant yearly. It's part of our culture.
What is your assessment of Ariella Arida as our Miss Universe candidate? Does she have a good chance of winning the pageant?
Every year, the competition gets harder and harder. Miss Universe is all about having the perfect package — she must be beautiful, charismatic, sexy, confident, fierce and, on top of all that, a perfect image of what she represents: Trump's Miss Universe Organization.
On Ara, I have no complaints when it comes to her physical beauty, but she still needs to work on her communication skills and be more assertive. I can only give an "educated" comment about her once she sets foot in Russia.
What do you love about pageants?
It's really fun to follow pageants especially if you’re passionate about them! It's like watching the Olympics of beauty!
What is your favorite beauty pageant question of all time?
The hardest pageant question ever: "If ignorance is bliss, why do we seek knowledge?"
It was a tie-breaker question between Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra during Femina Miss India 2000. Both of them eventually won the Miss Universe and Miss World crowns for India. Until now, I don't know how to properly answer this question.
Our topic was Shamcey Supsup's 3rd place finish in Miss Universe 2011
What is your favorite portion of any beauty pageant and why?
Nothing specific but perhaps the deal-breakers: final look for the judges and the final Q and A.
I've already decided to fly to Russia to cover Miss Universe and celebrate my birthday during the coronation night, November 9.
Before that, I'll be in Korea and then the Dominican Republic. I've already promised and committed to cover other international pageants. They'll be sponsoring everything for me, from airfare to hotel accommodation.
What does it take for the Philippines to get back its status as a beauty pageant superpower?
The Philippines is almost there and we only need to solidify our status as a pageant powerhouse. We just need to find the perfect delegates with the right qualities to represent our country and be the perfect image of what Trump's Miss Universe Organization, Julia Morley's Miss World Organization and other international titles are looking for. - Rappler.com
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Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.