USA: Winsome hopefuls vie for Ms. Philippines USA crown

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Words and photos by Dionesio C. Grava

It was time to holler words of encouragement as the beat and the well-choreographed routine ratcheted up. A time to ogle at each broad smile, the studied gait and stance, the made-up countenance and whatever little things the judges might look and notch on some database that

would make or break a candidate’s chance of winning.

Still the mind wanders. Was that attitude self-confidence or arrogance? With botox and lipo and other enhancements in vogue, would someone nature-endowed fare less in the scheme of things? And how will a stunner look years from now?

But showtime it was and nearly two dozen of them were out in front looking their best for us to appreciate. Venue was the chic Noypitz Bar and Restaurant in Glendale.

Ms. Philippines USA was established only last year. The media launch on March 4 was its first venture into wider public consciousness. It was presented by ABS-CBN Foundation International, Lou Razon Couture, 24/7 Visa Debit/Remit Card and Pinoy

Owners of 24/7 cards can safely and securely pay bills, remit money overseas and shop everywhere Visa Debit Cards are accepted. Or so goes the line. Its spokesperson, Antoinette Taus, was also the main provider of entertainment number for the evening. That is, in addition to the Miss Philippines USA contestants, each of them a vision of pulchritude and attired for the evening fashion show with designs by LA’s leading name in haute couture, Lou Razon. The panel of judges reportedly consisted of Pinky De Leon of Philippine movie fame, entertainer Sonny Madera, restaurateur Aline Belen and model Brendan Bayerbach.

The candidates’ names are posted in the MP-USA Facebook page: Jayme Lenling, Claudine Abac, Alma Lasabac, Erene Therese, Jasmine Corbin, Joy Antonette Diaz, Kristina Bryant, Lauren M. Gilbertson, Marydaine Estrella, Victoria K. Abatay, Rizza- Belen Diaz, Evien Obracevic, Emma-Lilita Hunter, Michelle Macasero, Polene Jessica Marasigan, Marie Louise Valdez, Bimbie Baldado, Aura Donna Garon, Sheila Padre and Nicole Advincula.

Patrick Aguiluz, the young executive producer, later emailed responses to some of’s questions: “We presently have 22 Delegates. One had to leave early (return to Vegas) so she was not able to attend the fashion show. Another was not able to make it.”

Aguiluz also informed that his team is doing a nationwide search and that the delegates presented that evening were from Miami, Alabama, San Diego, Sacramento, San Jose, Las Vegas and Southern California. They are finalizing on the screening process and will end up with around 24 to 28 total delegates. Former beauty queen Miss Cher Calvin of KTLA 5 is slated to be the guest emcee for Miss Philippines USA in May, he said. Elsewhere learned that a second screening would be held February 26.

Razon, Aguiluz and Geo Sargent, the latter a pageant director, make up the executive team of MP-USA. The board of advisors is composed of Mary Felicity Aquino, Aline Catarina Belen and Brian Masayon.

The MP-USA web site mentions “A Tradition of Beauty, Elegance and Culture” and a mission “to become recognized as the most prestigious, celebrated and respected Filipino Beauty Pageant in the United States.”

Headquartered in W. Broadway, Glendale, they list their visions, to wit:

• Develop the finest ambassadors of good will.

• Showcase local businesses to the Fil-Am community.

• Enable former beauty queens to mentor and coach our candidates.

• Promote fashion, art, culture and the Filipina beauty.

• Donate portions of the event’s proceeds to a Foundation for Education.

• Produce a high quality event that promotes and uplifts the Fil-Am Community.

Contestants will be judged in three categories: evening gown, swimsuit and onstage interview. Special categories: Miss Congeniality, Miss Photogenic, Miss Popularity, Miss Sponsor, Best in National Costume and Best in Swimsuit. To ensure that each contestant is prepared to shine on the eve of the pageant, they will receive coaching and mentoring from former beauty queens.

Finalists will have the option to advance to other pageants both domestic and International, with the support and assistance of Miss Philippines USA. This year’s Miss Philippines USA will receive over $20,000 in cash and prizes, record a commercial
for ABS-CBN Foundation, receive a modeling contract, and become the ambassador of good will for the Fil-Am community for the entirety of her reign.

Qualifications required of candidates:

1. Good moral character
2. Female of Filipino descent, 18-25 years of age
3. 5’ 5” height and above
4. Never been married, never had any children
5. Must reside in the United States
6. High school graduate

Additionally, candidates must submit completed application forms and are required to attend all workshops, photo and video shoots, press conferences, guest appearances and other such activities.


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