THANKFULLY for Herlene Budol, her painstaking efforts in her pageant journey paid off.
Not only did the Angono bet overwhelmingly come home with the most number of special awards, but she also finished first runner-up in the 58th edition of Binibining Pilipinas.
Proudly, this year's batch of 40 candidates across the country generally had a good command of the English language. But Herlene, a.k.a. Hipon Girl, showed no sign of being intimidated, let alone threatened, despite her lingual inadequacy.
True to her promise, she chose to answer the "transformation question" in the vernacular with much ease, confidence and aplomb.
delivered to your inbox
And expectedly, she nailed it so hard that even the male judge whose name she had picked from the bowl started heaping praises on her!
Early on, Herlene had aspired for the Miss Grand International title, but her place got her a crown all the same.
A spiritual person, Herlene attributes her victory to the "lucky charms" she'd usually lug around with her wherever she goes — a crucifix, a rosary and an image of Sto. Nino, all blessed.
She also keeps a torn picture of her deceased grandmother, "Nanay Bireng," in a small red pouch.
Herlene said she kept quietly praying, "Nanay, 'yung korona, 'yung korona..." her ardent pageant wish.
With her wish granted, Herlene though has resigned from competing again in the same pageant or other national beauty contests, "Tingnan ko kung saan ako dadalhin ng Nasa Itaas."
Herlene's main post-pageant focus now is returning to showbiz. She last appeared in GMA's "False Positive" as an enchanted matchmaking Eve.
It will be no surprise if Herlene is bombarded with a deluge of TV and film assignments following her pageant win.
But if I may say, her moniker Hipon Girl may no longer hold water.
What used to be a woman with just a curvy body to boot is now a beautiful woman, no doubt.
Talk about transformation.
* * *
LOLIT Solis can now heave a sigh of relief: she remains to be a member of PAMI (Professional Artist Managers, Inc.).
Solis had earlier suspected the group booted her, most especially when she heard nothing from them during her recent weeklong hospital confinement.
She claimed that not a single member bothered to check how she was doing until she got discharged.
Lolit had already vented her sentiments on Instagram when no one from PAMI sent her greetings on her 75th birthday last May 20.
She was only appeased when told that everybody was busy, if not frantic at that time since it coincided with the death of Ms. Susan Roces.
However, it was late in July when Lolit could not help but wonder why the PAMI members seemed to have shown no concern toward her medical condition. Was it because, she thought, there are members who sympathize with Bea Alonzo (who has become a staple column item)?
As she wrote in her tabloid column, "Ganoon pala, ha, ayaw nila sa akin. Hindi ko na rin bibigyan ng proteksyon ang mga alaga nila, basta sasabihin ko na lang."
It was days after when two group members, Popoy Caritativo and Perry Lansigan (who Lolit addresses as two of the richest managers), sent her flowers did Lolit realize, "Mahal pa pala nila ako."
I'd like to believe that there are PAMI members who adore Lolit in the manner that there are those who silently hate her for one reason or another.
I can only speak for Shirley Kuan, Bea's manager, who is obviously anti-Lolit if only for the latter's tirades against her ward, and God knows who else.
There are probably members who'd rather clam up than engage in a tiff with Lolit out of sheer respect.
At times, it's not all winning an argument. It's wanting peace that matters the most.
Still, I can't help but ask: doesn't PAMI police its ranks? When is a member said to be crossing the line? If found such, what sanctions await its member?
In support of Ms. Kuan, what does PAMI intend to do to address Lolit's grudges against her ward?