Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, June 24, 2007

2 college students crowned ‘Mutya’ in beauty pageant

Two college students were crowned Mutya ng Pilipinas in a four-hour beauty pageant at the Olongapo Convention Center which started last Friday night and ended early yesterday morning.

Zephora Mayon, 18, of Las Piñas, Metro Manila, was named 2007 Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia-Pacific International, while Ana Marie Morelos, 17, was crowned Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism International.

Mayon, who stands 5’5" tall and measures 32-23-33, will represent the country in the Miss Asia-Pacific International in a place to be announced soon.

Morelos will compete in the Miss Tourism International in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Mayon said her ambition is to travel and explore the world. She added that she loves to play badminton, bowling, and billiards.

Morelos, who stands 5’6" tall and comes from Valenzuela City, also loves playing volleyball, drawing, and singing.

The 39-year-old beauty pageant added a new title to the contest — Mutya ng Pilipinas Overseas Community, won by Jacqueline Rodriguez, 18. She was also named third runner-up in the pageant.

Other winners were Ricamarie Ann Taylor, 22, second runner-up; and Iris Frances Tan, 21, first runner-up.

Roberto de Venecia, president of organizer Mutya ng Pilipinas, Inc., said that the new title was highlighted by the presence of 10 beauties from Filipino communities overseas.

Liam A. Navarro, administrative officer of Mutya ng Pilipinas, Inc., said the group has yet to decide on who will represent the country in the Miss Intercontinental beauty pageant in Germany. It will be recalled that the contest was joined by Kirby Ann Basken, Mutya ng Pilipinas 2006, who landed as a semi-finalist in the international contest.

"But we will choose our representative to the international beauty contest among this year’s top three winners," Navarro said.

Each of the winners won a crown, scepter, cash, scholarships, and other prizes.

Special awards went to Mayon, Model Discovery of the Year; Christine Sienicki, Miss Congeniality; Tanya Louise Hendy, Miss Photogenic; Beatriz Arenal, May Pauleen Beauty Award and Best in Swimsuit; and Marian Michelle Oblea, Miss Talent.

The 30 candidates competed in the preliminary rounds of the competition, such as wearing a swimsuit, Filipino terno, and evening gown.

Then, the number of candidates was cut down to 15. They were chosen based on beauty of face, figure, and over-all performance during the finals night.

Other beauties who made it to the Top 15 include Oblea, Aimee Hall, Angelee Claudett de los Reyes, Veronica Turla, Sherlyn Gonzales, Sienicki, Hendy, Kate Princess Alimurong, Arenal, and Maylinn Storbakken.

The contest was highlighted by the "farewell walk" of Basken, Mutya ng Pilipinas 2006, who is one of the few women who competed in various beauty pageants, including this year’s 2007 Miss Universe contest held in Mexico recently.

While Basken held the 2006 Mutya ng Pilipinas title, she also competed and won in the 2007 Miss Norway beauty contest. That earned her the right to represent Norway in the world’s most prestigious beauty pageant.

It was also one of those rare moments in the 2007 Miss Universe contest, where three Filipinas competed in the contest. Apart from Norway, the other contestants with Filipino race were Angelina Glass of Germany and Anne Therese Licaros, representing the Philippines.

Japan’s Riyo Mori won in the 2007 Miss Universe contest.

As Basken ended her reign as Mutya ng Pilipinas last Saturday, she said that her reign as Miss Norway has just started. "My reign as Miss Norway will end next year."

"I am one of those fortunate few whose wish I was magnificently granted. I feel incredibly lucky to be born and raised in one of the richest countries in the world, like Norway. Still, the country I keep going back to is my mother’s homeland, the beautiful Philippines I used to refer to as my favorite ‘summer place.’ I have always been fond of its fascinating landscapes, splendid beaches, with its crystal blue waters, colorful jeepneys and tricycles and the genuinely warm, friendly and hospitable Filipino people," Basken said.

Among the members of the Mutya ng Pilipinas board of judges were Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz, SBMA Chairman Commo. Feliciano Salonga, PCGA; Edgardo Pamintuan, head, Subic-Clark Area Development Council (SCAD); top singer Pilita Corrales, TV host Susan Calo Medina, fashion designer Christian Espiritu, and Cesar Gaupo.
By ROBERT R. REQUINTINA - Manila Bulletin

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