One does not usually associate the terms "body mass index," "body fat percentage," and "height-to-weight ratio" with beauty contests, but the aspirants to the 2015 Miss Bikini Philippines pageant were made to undergo a series of medical examinations to determine these physical indicators.
Slimmers World International's fitness-beauty competition, now on its eighth edition, prepared a stringent screening process that also assessed the applicants' "body symmetry," "anatomical balance" and "the appearance of cellulite."
Since the company also has skin clinics, the applicants' complexions were thoroughly examined, too.
The fitness centre chain's selection criteria are strict compared to other contests' because the company employs the winners as its ambassadors, to push its advocacy of "fitness, health and beauty."
Its first winner, Yen Lopena, was eventually hired as a manager. She has been making the rounds of the fitness chain's different branches and now works at the Megamall outlet.
Other Miss Bikini Philippines winners have also competed and won in other national pageants-Miss Resorts World Princess Abella, Miss Philippines-Earth Angelee Claudette de los Reyes, and reigning Binibining Pilipinas-International Janicel Lubina.
This year, 29 ladies from all over the country are vying for the title and the P300,000 prize package.
Miss Bikini Philippines 2014 Hazel Ortiz, who represented the centre's Megamall branch, recalled the highs and lows of her reign.
"I became a role model … my job was to encourage people to pursue an active lifestyle and embrace fitness. I had to live up to their expectations," she said.
She admitted that she had gained a little weight. "But I am able to maintain a physique that will hopefully inspire people to exercise and eat healthy," the 19-year-old beauty queen said during the candidates' presentation at the Diamond Hotel last week.
According to Ortiz, the title taught her the importance of time management because she had to juggle her duties as a fitness ambassador and her responsibilities as a student.
After she turns over her crown to the new winner in tonight's finals, Ortiz will focus on her BS Management degree at Jose Rizal University. She is also considering other opportunities, like joining another pageant.
The 2015 Miss Bikini Philippines finals night, which will be hosted by Paolo Bediones and Issa Litton, will be held at Newport Performing Arts Theater of Resorts World Manila in Pasay City tonight. The Philippine Daily Inquirer is a media partner of the competition.