by Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBNnews.com | 02/23/2013 12:00 AM
MANILA -- Five of the 50 candidates in this year's Binibining Pilipinas may register as familiar faces to followers of the long-running national pageant.
On Thursday night, the pageant organization led by Stella Marquez-Araneta announced the final list of beauties who will vie as successor to Binibining Pilipinas-Universe Janine Tugonon.
Three crowns will be conferred on the winning candidates on April 4, each representing the international pageants the Filipina beauties will compete in -- Miss Universe, Miss International and Miss Tourism Queen International.
Among those who will have a chance to be the Philippines' delegate to one of the global pageants are:
Star Magic talent Pia Wurtzbach;
former "Pinoy Big Brother" housemate Joanna Cindy Miranda;
Viva talent Imelda Schweighart;
talent search finalist Rhea Nakpil; and,
Maria Angelica, daughter of actor Christopher de Leon.
Here's what we know about them so far:
(All photos courtesy of the official and/or fan-run Facebook pages of each candidate.)
Maria Angelica de Leon, 5'8"
Nicknamed Mariel, this pageant hopeful is a celebrity by association. But she has also slowly made a name for herself as a print ad model. De Leon is the daughter of showbiz veterans Christopher and his wife Sandy Andolong. The 5'8" beauty is reportedly trained by Aces & Queens, the talent firm behind Miss Universe runners-up Venus Raj, Shamcey Supsup and Janine Tugonon.
Pia Wurtzbach (a.k.a. Pia Romero), 5'7"
Known by her screen name Pia Romero, the Filipina-German pageant hopeful has appeared in several Kapamilya shows since she started modeling at age 11. Wurtzbach is among the stable of talents of ABS-CBN's talent management firm Star Magic. Among her TV credits are the teen-oriented series "K2BU," the concert variety program "ASAP," the romance anthology "Your Song," and the recently concluded fantasy series "Aryana."
Joanna Cindy Miranda, 5'7"
Fans of the hit reality TV show "Pinoy Big Brother" may have already heard of Miranda. She was a housemate in the "Unlimited" edition of the show in 2011. Her stay in the famous yellow house was short-lived, however, as she got evicted on Day 22 after only seven days as a "reserve housemate." Before her entry, the Nueva Ecija beauty was already competing in numerous pageants.
Imelda Schweighart (a.k.a Imee Hart), 5'6"
A talent of Viva Artists Agency, Schweighart may be familiar to viewers of TV5, where she has appeared in a number of TV shows including the youth-oriented series "Bagets." Before she joined the Kapatid network, the pageant hopeful busied herself with numerous modeling stints.
Rhea Nakpil, 5'7"
As a contestant in the reality talent search "StarStruck" in 2005, Nakpil appeared in a number of shows aired on GMA-7, and subsequently on TV5. Followers of Nakpil can trail her TV appearances, which include roles in the series "Asian Treasures," "Lupin," and "Ang Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang."