The Philippines is abuzz with talk about 2010 Miss Universe fourth-runner up Maria Venus Raj, but she's not the only beauty queen basking in the limelight.
2009 Binibining Pilipinas Universe Bianca Manalo is every bit a bikini babe on the cover of Cosmo's sister publication FHM Philippines this September, and she's starting to make showbiz waves of her own with her hilarious turn as Gigi (Divisoria beauty queen BFF to Bea Alonzo's character Gelai) on ABS-CBN's hit fashion series, Magkaribal.
She talked all things beauty queen at a recent press conference held for her September FHM cover (with the always hunky Cesar Montano on the flip-cover) at the Hotel Intercontinental, and here's what we found out about her:
- Lots of kids had stage mothers, but Bianca had a stage father. It was her dad who trained her to be a beauty queen! "Hinihinaan na niya 'yung volume 'pag Q&A na," she told the media at a press conference held by FHM Philippines. Her dad would turn down the volume after the question was asked. "Dadalhin na niya ako sa sala namin, sasabihin niya sakin, 'O, you answer that question!'" Bianca shared.
- Last year's Binibining Pilipinas Universe is super proud of Venus Raj. "Super enough na 'yung naabot niya, e! Last na nakasama ang Philippines [in the top five] was with Ms. Miriam Quiambao pa!" That was more than 10 years ago, in 1999. Bianca herself didn't make it into the top 15 in last year's pageant (no Asian contestant did), so she gushed about how she felt "redeemed" by Venus' great success this year. "'Di ba last year, hindi rin naman ako nag-succeed kasi? So 'yun, sobrang happy ako for her!"
- Everybody's asked her this year's Ms. Universe question and she always gives the same answer. "I cannot think of one big mistake that I did before, because I did several mistakes," she answered honestly. "And I believe that with each mistake, we should live by it, not live with it. You learn from your mistakes until the good becomes better and the better becomes best," she said, in true beauty queen fashion.
Click through to the Gallery below to check out more pictures of 2009 Bb. Pilipinas Universe and FHM Philippines cover girl Bianca Manalo!