Mrs. Philippines-Michigan 2011

A doctor’s assistant bagged the Mrs. Philippines-Michigan 2011 crown during the beauty pageant held last August 20 at the Troy Community Center in Troy.

Isang Binhi choir member is first runnerup

Mary Virtouso Peterson, a doctor’s aide and a mother who is expecting to deliver her second baby in December, this year, edged out Isang Binhi choir member Rosalie Sanez Drum in the beauty contest that was nearly cancelled due to a brownout in the Troy area.

Doing the honors of putting the crown and sash on Mary were Filipino-American community leaders Van Ong, Edith Manzano and Becky Tungol.

Interviewed shortly after she was crowned Mrs. Philippines-Michigan 2011, Mary said, “I am really very happy, and I thank all the people who supported me.” She also said she is looking forward to performing her duties as Mrs. Philippines in the next two years.
Aside from bagging the title, 27-year-old Mary, who hails from Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, also got two special awards – Mrs. Photogenic and Best in Talent. In the talent competition, she impressed the audience and the judges with her charcoal drawing of the suffering Jesus Christ crowned with thorns. She did the drawing in less than 10 minutes.

In the interview portion, Mary, who finished a nursing course, was asked by one of the five judges what she considered the most challenging situation she had gone through. She said it was her leaving her loved ones in the Philippines and migrating here in the US.

Mary is married to Joshua Peterson, who is employed at Advanced Security. The couple has one child, Samantha. Mary is pregnant and is expecting to deliver their second child in December.

Interviewed after Mary was crowned, Ron Peterson, her father-in-law, said he is very proud to have a daughter-in-law, who is a beauty-contest winner.

For several suspenseful minutes before emcees Nino Cugtas and Carol Anasco D’Agostino announced Mary the winner of the crown, it looked like first runnerup Rosalie Drum would run away with the coveted title.

Rosalie, who hails from Baligang, Camalig, Albay, garnered the highest number of votes from the audience and received the People’s Choice Award. She was also named Mrs. Philanthropy. In the talent portion, Rosalie, a member of the popular Isang Binhi choir, sang a Tagalog love song to the delight of the audience.

The three other candidates – Mailinda Repass, Jessie Collins and Janice Huff — were proclaimed Mrs. Luzon, Mrs. Visayas and Mrs. Mindanao, respectively. Mailinda was picked Best in Gown.

The farewell walk by Mrs. Philippines-Michigan 2009 Joanna Sanders preceded the announcement of the winners.

The five judges were Stephanie Beau, executive of DTE Energy; Leilani Sibinovski, Miss Oakland County 2004 and dance instructor; Ran Crosby, president of Miss Oakland County Scholarship; Iqbal Singh, marketing executive of DTE Energy; and Frank Witsil, web editor of the Detroit Free Press and member of the governing board of the Asian American Journalists Association.

Edith Manzano, vice president of the Filipino American Community Council (FILAMCCO) that hosts the bi-annual (once every two years) Mrs. Philippines-Michigan beauty pageant, welcomed the guests and thanked the performers in the cultural portion of the program as well as the advertisers in the souvenir program. Manzano was the chairperson of the committee that made preparations for and supervised the pageant.

In a brief speech, FILAMCCO President Van Ong said that the Mrs. Philippines-Michigan pageant showcases “the Filipina’s achievements from the days of shy and naïve Maria Clara to today’s highly competitive woman in the modern world.”

He also sought the indulgence of the guests for the inconvenience caused by the power failure brought about by a thunderstorm in the Troy area in the late afternoon.

The brownout nearly caused the cancellation of the pageant as people complained of the heat and the dark hall with only a generator supplying the electricity to the venue which was overflowing with guests.

But upon the intercession of Iqbal Singh, a DTE Energy executive and one of the judges, the power supply was restored when the program was already half-through.

Willie Dechavez, chairperson of three committees, thanked corporate sponsor Comcast and the companies, groups and individuals who donated the crown, prizes, sashes and flowers. He also thanked companies, groups and individuals for their ads in the souvenir program.

The pageant was an entertainment package complete with cultural numbers presented by the Isang Binhi Choir, PACCM’s Hula Dance Group and the Tagumpay Dancers.

The hula dance captivated the audience with the fluid body and hand motions of dancers Rose Caoagas, Divina Juco and Flor Penner, who swung to the original tune of “Blue Hawaii.”

The pageant’s Filipiniana motif was reflected by a calesa prop on the stage and enhanced by the superb floral arrangement by Nida Jaramillo.

Also superb was the choreography by Annabelle Martinez-Cudilla. Likewise deserving of kudos were emcees Nino Cugtas and Carol Anasco D’Agostino who did an excellent job. (Tony Antonio)

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