A fourth grade student of San Vicente Elementary School ran off with the 2014 Little Miss Pusong Pinoy title last Sunday in front of a jam-packed crowd at the Royal Taga Hall of the Saipan World Resort.
Nine-year-old Juliet D. Inocencio bested 19 other equally talented and lovely contestants after wowing the judges with her quick wit and impressive rendition of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.
With a voice and stage presence well beyond her years, the youngest daughter of Julito and Elena Dariguez made a good impression on the judges that included Tan Holdings senior vice president Eli Arago, Microl Corp. sales associate Liza Taylor, former Miss Teen Philippines Joy Yumul, 2002 Miss Teen CNMI Gina Duenas, and 2003 Miss Northern Marianas Universe/World Kimberly Reyes.
She mimicked the British star’s contralto with gusto, channeled her inner Tina Turner, and rocked the venue—filled to capacity by close to 600—like no other. That seemed good enough to win her Best Talent.
In the question and answer portion, Inocencio was asked the question: What makes you happy and why?
Her short and sweet response: “What makes me happy is having a strong, loving, and healthy family. Because they give the unconditional love that I need.”
Shortly after being crowned as the 2014 Little Miss Pusong Pinoy, Inocencio was much more voluble in her gratitude. “When I was at home [before the competition]. It was like ‘Oh my God I’m so scared.’ But I asked for God’s help. As always, He’s the mightiest, strongest, and the Bible says ‘What you ask for will be given.’ So I’m going to thank God… I get my confidence from God, family, and the people who love me and tell me to always believe in what would happen and to always be confident and try your best.”
She also thanked her Keynotes teacher, Tess Tenorio, for giving her a crash course in singing the past month.
Her parents, for their part, said they couldn’t be more proud of Inocencio, who her mom said has always loved singing even at a tender age.
Finishing second to Inocencio in the competition is Green Meadow School second grader Ariel Allyssa Legaspi. Aside from copping first runner-up, the 7-year-old also won Best in Evening Gown and Darling of the Crowd plum.
Coming in third place was Lyssa Rae Steele of Mt. Carmel School. The 6-year-old also took home the Best Spirit Award.
Garapan Elementary School’s Francine Joy Ebuen finished fourth and took the Star of the Night honors, while Trisha Joyce McCarthy of William S. Reyes Elementary School came in fifth.
Inocencio bagged $800 for her win, including a crown, scepter, cape, sash, and bouquet courtesy of main sponsor Docomo Pacific.
Legaspi, meanwhile, earned $500, while Steele, Ebuen, and McCarthy got $300, $200, and $100, respectively.
In other special awards, Best In Smile went to Charice T. Silvano, Miss Photogenic was Angelica May Aquino, and Miss Friendship was copped by Angel Lou Buensalido
The 2014 Little Miss Pusong Pinoy was organized by the United Filipino Organization.
The event’s sponsors were LBC Mabuhay, Eli Arago, Gemma Batusin, Ahbhu Auto Care Center, Alpex Saipan, Inc., Konstrak Builders, Gener Garcia of Asia Pacific Industries, Inc., Sandy Palon of Reliance Construction, Barny’s Pizza & Pasta House, Traders Insurance Co., Natasha Sundance Service Center, Island Florals & Gifts, New Paradise Florist, Island Touch by Philip, Island Flowers & Novelties, Mariana Resort & Spa, Smile Marianas, Laolao Bay Golf & Resort, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Pacific Islands Club, National Office Supply, Taro Sue Store, Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, Shenanigans Restaurant, Don Pedro Restaurant, Pacific Quick Print & Post, Beach Road Magazine, KWAW Radio Station, Marianas Variety, Saipan Tribune, Serenity Salon, Shear Magic Beauty Salon, Makeover Beauty Salon, Trends Beauty Salon, Dianne Beauty Parlor, Hair Salon, R-Lynns Dress Shop. Saipan Music & Dance Studio, Cutz & Clours Salon.
UFO president Annamae Adaza gave special thanks to all parents of the candidates of the 2014 Little Miss Pusong Pinoy.