The Philippine representatives to the Miss Universe, Miss World, and Miss International beauty pageants were selected the other night, and Cathy and I are absolutely thrilled that our personal bet, brilliant law student Anna Theresa ‘Tere’ Licaros bagged the Bb. Pilipinas – Universe plum.

Licaros struck us as our best bet for Miss Universe since Miriam Quiambao. She’s smart (summa cum laude in Broadcast Comm from UP Diliman!), she’s witty, and she has an exotic appeal that I think will play a big role when she competes for the Miss Universe crown this year. Apparently, Tere Licaros is a big overachiever, and we see no reason why Licaros can’t bring it on at the Miss Universe pageant! Come on, when was the last time we had a Miss Universe who was studying law? Give it up now, Mr. Trump, we present to you a true Filipina with beauty and brains.

Meanwhile, Bb. Pilipinas – World is Maggie Wilson, who, if made up and trained properly, could be the next Sharmaine Gutierrez. Bb. Pilipinas – International is equally exotic-looking Nadine Lee Cien Shami. Very Filipina-looking Liezel Verses was the first runner-up, while Chinese-hued Abigail Cruz was the second runner-up. (Bit surprised Ferniz Utatulum and Nicole Schmitz, and Tabitha Mendoza didn’t place, but whatever.)

We think we’ve got another good chance this year. Sana!