Wright, Byrne win 2009 Miss and Mrs Philippine Fiesta of Victoria

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Story and photos by ELENA CLASICAS
Miss and Mrs Fiesta 2009 winners
Kathleen Wright and Cecil Byrne were crowned Miss Philippine Fiesta of Victoria 2009 and Mrs Philippine Fiesta of Victoria 2009, respectively during the final judging of all candidates and coronation of winners for the Beauty Quest candidates. The coronation night culminated the 27 Philippine Fiesta celebration organised by the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Inc. (PFVI) with Ross Manuel as Chairman. Both were also crowned Miss Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Charity 2009 and Mrs Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Charity 2009, respectively. {{more}}

Held on 4 December at La Mirage Reception and Convention Centre in Somerton, the coronation night was considered the most glamorous and much-awaited event of the Fiesta celebration. It was attended by approximately 800 delighted and elegantly dressed guests composed of sponsors, representatives from various Filipino social organisations, friends, family and relatives of candidates and officers of the Fiesta Management Committee.

Rushell McDonald was named First Runner up Miss Philippine Fiesta of Victoria 2009, Third Runner up Miss Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Charity 2009 and Best in Talent.

Catherine Vella was declared Second Runner up Miss Philippine Fiesta of Victoria 2009, First Runner up Miss Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Charity 2009, Miss Friendship and Miss Photogenic. She was also named Best in Filipiniana Gown, together with Sarah Phillips, who won the Second Runner up Miss Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Charity 2009 and Miss Luzon 2009.

The Best in Evening Gown went to Naomi Moore, who was also declared Miss Visayas 2009. Elizabeth Generoso took home the title Miss Mindanao 2009.

For the Mrs. Philippines category, Byrne also grabbed Mrs. Friendship, Mrs. Photogenic, Best in Evening Gown, and Best in Filipiniana Gown.

Yollie Truz was declared First Runner up Mrs. Philippine Fiesta Victoria 2009 and First Runner up Mrs. Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Charity 2009 and Best in Talent. Second runner up Mrs. Philippine Fiesta Victoria 2009 and Second runner up Mrs. Philippine Fiesta Victoria Charity 2009 was Rosalie Bering.

Wright: Winning truly an honour

Wright told The Philippine Times after the awarding that she couldn’t believe she won two major titles. “It is still sinking in. I really did not expect it. All the candidates worked so hard for so long, and we had so much fun along the way. For me to have won is truly an honour. I want to thank everyone who helped me but the biggest thank you goes to my parents especially my mum and the other person who deserves a huge thank-you is Roy Carbungco–the success of this year’s Quest, in so many ways, is due to him.”

She said she wants to get involved in the community to make a difference and hope to get more young people involved as well. “Our community has much to be proud of. I will try my best to represent the community with honour and dignity and to promote our country and our culture here in Australia,” she said.

Meanwhile, Byrne said it was an enormous privilege for her to win most of the titles. She plans to assist the Quest Committee with fund raising, lend a helping hand to the incoming candidates and to be a role model to all women of the Filipino-Australian community.

Sharing Filipino culture and tradition

Both Manuel, PFVI Chairman, and Yvonne Bajzek, Chairperson of the Quest, welcomed and thanked all the supporters of the Quest as well as the candidates, their friends and families for their unwavering support.

“The consistent efforts of the candidates and their families help tremendously in maintaining the Philippine Fiesta, with great support to the organisation’s noble mission of preserving and sharing the Filipino culture and tradition, not only to the new generation of the Filipino Australians, but significantly to the Australian multicultural society,” said Ross.

In her speech, Bajzek said, “The Quest is one of the highlights of the Philippine Fiesta celebration and also one of the instruments in maintaining and helping the future development of our very own community centre in Laverton.”

The Panel of Judges were composed of Clarissa Leong, Ilona Lunny, Carmela Sison, Jace Nicola, and Gerry Cabellon. Because of their unavailability, two previous members of the panel, Jackie Climaco-Zulliger and Tom Jenkins, were replaced by Sison and Cabellon.

Two special guest singers graced the event. A ten-year old girl, Sheralyn Hill, and a young and dashing gentleman, Adrian Li Donni, who both entertained the audience with their singing prowess.

All candidates in the Miss and Mrs. Categories, with the exception of Jocelyn Wilder, who backed out after the Talent Night for personal reasons, paraded their elegant evening and Filipiniana gowns amidst their cheering supporters and showcased their wit and intentions for joining the quest while the panel of judges gave each candidate a question to answer as part of the final judging process.

Certificates of Appreciation were presented to the patron sponsors, Philippine Tours and Philippine Airlines, and major sponsors of the Fiesta, namely, UBI TV World/ GMA7, Western Travel, NAB, Imelda’s Hairdressing Salon, Western Union, CTT, and LBC Australia.

Before the proclamation of winners, the following reigning title holders made their final walk: Miss Philippine Fiesta, Anne Tejido; Mrs. Philippine Fiesta, Zeny Lorenzo; Miss Philippine Fiesta Charity, Jane McInerney (not present); and Mrs. Philippine Fiesta Charity, Nenita Ayton.

The 2009 Quest Committee members were: Yvonne Bajzek, Chairperson; Zeny Lorenzo, Vice Chairperson/Secretary; Lita Camacho, Treasurer; Cheryl de Leon, Assistant Treasurer; Nenita Ayton, PRO; Anne Tejido, Choreographer; Liz Honey, Judges Coordinator, and Roy Carbungco, Overall Coordinator.

The event was emceed by Tejido, the reigning Miss Philippine Fiesta of Victoria and Myles Johansson, the reigning Mr. Ginoong Philippines Victoria.

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