Close to 300 spectators flocked last Saturday to the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe where 16 girls ranging in age from 4 to 8 years old vied for the Little Miss Philippines-CNMI 2012 crown.
First grader Bernice Shane Q. Sabino of Dandan Elementary School snagged the tiara after captivating the panel of judges and the audience with her glamour, wit, and swagger at the competition that ranked the young contenders based on their performance in the national costume, talent, and evening gown categories.
Sabino, 5, was also named Best in Gown for her light blue evening frock, and Best in Talent for her take on the late Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. The daughter of Bernard and Sheryl Sabino, Bernice Shane took home $300, sash, flower bouquet, among other prizes.
Seven-year-old Jill Anne Marie Mallari was named first runner-up and took home $200. The Green Meadows apprentice also bagged the Best in Spirit and Best in National Costume awards.
Second runner-up was 8-year-old Desiree Marie Maratas, daughter of Edwin and Corazon Maratas, who won $100.
Other winners were third runner-up Kezia Christin Arugay, the 7-year-old student also of Green Meadows; fourth runner-up Princess Guban, 8, of Saipan Community School; and fifth runner-up Shaina Heart Dimalanta, who also won Miss Photogenic. All three received Docomo Pacific phones.
The rest of the hopefuls were Angelene Faith Cacdac, Gweneth Sophia Calage, Alyson Red Camacho, Megan Cool, Abby Danielle Crisostomo, Janine Magdanua Deleon Guerrero, Shemariah Sophia Hicaro, Bristhy Maries Hossain, Johanna Mikyla Mogar, and Kate Franz Yap Santos.
The six judges were composed of chair Kimberly Reyes, former Ms. CNMI Universe; Angel Malasarte, 2012 Liberation Royal Princess; Nhemie Cayao, designer; Carol Wong Chan, Canton Restaurant manager and owner; Gemma Batusin, marketing manager for sponsor LD Prime; and Trina Sablan of the Division of Public Health. Jhun Banadera and Flor Miranda served as tabulators.
The community's overwhelming support for has encouraged pageant organizers to host the pageant again next year.
“Hopefully, the island economy will pick up so we can organize another pageant that would give young girls in the community a venue where they can hone their talents, enhance their personalities, and get exposure,” said organizer and choreographer Joel Vallega. “We extend our appreciation to everyone who bought the tickets and watched the show as well as our generous sponsors and donors who made our event a success.”