THREE Cebuanas are among the chosen 40 women who will vie for six sashes in the Binibining Pilipinas 2018.

They are Miss Cebu 2015 Wynonah Buot, Mutya ng Pilipinas-Asia Pacific International Eva Psychee Patalinjug (also Miss Cebu 2014 first runner-up) and Miss Philippines 2011 Water Muriel Orais.

Bacolod City native Ena Louis Velasco, who won the Miss Mandaue 2015 title, is also among the 40 women who are beauty pageant veterans, models, TV personalities and professionals from different fields.

After a deliberate and rigorous weeklong screening process, Stella Marquez Araneta and the officials of Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) announced the official list of candidates for Binibining Pilipinas 2018. BPCI had the final screening last Monday at the Kia Theatre.

The official numbers were also handed out to the candidates: 26-year-old Orais is #3, 24-year-old Buot is #26 and 23-year-old Patalinjug is #32.

Velasco, 23, is carrying #23.

“Their official numbers will be used to identify the ladies until Coronation Night, and will also serve as their official hashtag in various social media networks,” the Araneta Group said in its press release.

“2018 will be a determining year for me. Future plans will take place depending on the results of this new endeavor and it’s both scary and exciting. I am just so overwhelmed by everyone’s support. It somehow reassures me that this huge risk is definitely going to be worth it,” said Buot of this new challenge.

Buot, a Mass Communication graduate from the University of the Philippines, was a standout the year she competed for Miss Cebu. She was also adjudged Miss Friendship, Miss Photogenic, Kapamilya Star of the Night and Best in Evening Gown.

The same four awards were amassed by Patalinjug when she competed in the Miss Cebu pageant the year before Buot won. Patalinjug was runner-up to Cheriemel Diane Muego, who was crowned Miss Cebu 2014. Patalinjug was also Miss Palarong Pambansa 2008.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña scrapped Miss Cebu starting 2017 for being expensive and elitist.

Orais, on the other hand, is a nurse, model and environmentalist. She also won the Miss Olive-C Campus Model 2010 title.

The 40 official candidates will be going through weeks of activities and training prior to the coronation night on March 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Included in their schedule are various charity visits, something that the girls are truly looking forward to and are central to the thrust of the BPCI.

Up for grabs are crowns to the six most prestigious international beauty titles: Miss Universe Philippines, Binibining Pilipinas International, Binibining Pilipinas Supranational, Binibining Pilipinas Grand International, Binibining Pilipinas Globe and Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental. (with CGS/PR)