Meet Iloilo’s ‘Heartfelt Beauties’

(From L-R): 2nd Runner-up Sharamie Solocio of Sta. Barbara; Miss Iloilo-Binibini 2020 Karen Mendoza of Concepcion; Miss Iloilo-Universe 2020 Rabiya Mateo of Balasan; Miss Iloilo-World 2020 Ann Palmares of Dumangas; and 1st Runner-Up Kesha Porman Ramanchandran of Lapuz. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

Three new Ilongga queens were crowned in the first Miss Iloilo 2020 at the West Visayas State University Cultural Center Thursday evening.

Out of the 11 equally stunning candidates, the representatives of Balasan, Dumangas, and Concepcion emerged on top to earn the privilege of representing Iloilo to three of the biggest pageants in the country.

23-year-old stunner Rabiya Mateo of Balasan in Iloilo was crowned Miss Iloilo-Universe 2020. Her winning answer during the question and answer portion highlighted Miag-ao’s hablon textile.

“If I were to be crowned tonight, it will be such an honor to bring to the global community our very own hablon which represents dedication, hard work and creative side of every Ilonggo. Aside from that, I want to show to the world that I am a queen today because of my province and with that being said, I want to prove to everyone that I am a true Ilongga with a heartfelt beauty,” she said.

Mateo also clinched the Best in Talent award. The Balasan beauty will get to represent Iloilo during the official screening of the prestigious Miss Universe Philippines.

Karen Laurrie Mendoza of Concepcion, Iloilo bagged the Miss Iloilo-Binibini 2020 title.

Mendoza, who advocated for mental health, will be the screening candidate of Iloilo for Binibining Pilipinas.

On the other hand, 20-year-old Ann Roxal Palmares of Dumanggas was crowned Miss Iloilo-World and will represent Iloilo in the screening of another high-end pageant, Miss World.

Meanwhile, Kheshapornam Empedrad Ramachandran of Lapuz district, Iloilo City and Sharamie Apuli Solocio of Santa Barbara, Iloilo were adjudged first and second runners up, respectively.

Ramachandran was also awarded as “Best in Swimwear” and “Best in Evening Gown”.

Themed “Heartfelt Beauty”, the first Miss Iloilo 2020 aims to raise pageant standards in Iloilo City by searching for ladies who will epitomize a beautiful, kind, and smart Iloilo and can represent the metro in the international scene.

The glamorous pageant directed by University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) Professor Kevin Piamonte was also a star-studded event.

Miss Universe 2011 third runner up Shamcey Supsup-Lee, Binibining Pilipinas 2018 first runner up Vickie Marie Rushton, and Binibining Pilipinas Committee Raymond Villanueva composed the roster of judges.

Celebrity and host Robi Domingo served as the pageant’s host together with UPV Professor Bobby Rodriguez and Jasper Ruby Vijar.