Peachy Quitugua and Palanga Taimanao begin the second day of their reign each as the 2016 Miss Marianas and Miss Marianas Teen, respectively, after being crowned last Saturday night at the packed Hibiscus Hall of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.
Quitugua and Taimanao replaced last year’s winners—Jian Joyner and Gianna Camacho, respectively. The latter wasn’t able to attend the pageant as she was in Mexico and will move to California next month to study biology at the University of San Francisco.
Joanna Navarro and Marie Aldan were the other two finalists aside from Quitugua vying for the Miss Marianas beauty title, while Nicole Meyers joined Taimanao in the final two contestants for the Miss Marianas Teen.
Quitugua and Taimanao gave the best response that earned the admiration of majority of the five judges in the final question-and-answer portion.
Quitugua said she would focus on bringing back the people of the CNMI when asked what the Commonwealth’s master plan should focus on in the next 20 to 30 years.
“I would focus on bringing back people of the CNMI who belong here for them to help in making a better future to all,” said the 21-year-old magna cum laude graduate of an Associate Degree in Nursing at the Northern Marianas College.
She also collected six of the eight special awards as she was judged the best in Evening Wear, Swimwear, National Costume, Talent, Best Hair, and Stellar Star for a total cash prize of $1,500.
Navarro, who was the first runner-up for $500, was named Miss Photogenic, while second runner-up ($300) Aldan was Miss Friendship. Each also received beauty baskets from Tresemme and T Galleria.
Taimanao, for her part, in the final question-and-answer portion where they were asked what story from the CNMI’s colorful legends would she wanted to share to everyone, said that she would tell about the legend of Matua.
“Matua showed everyone that he can stand as a strong chief to prove the people wrong. He showed that he’s more than the little boy that was afraid to pick up a coconut crab,” added Taimanao, the 16-year-old daughter of Efraim S. and Cecile Blas-Taimanao.
Taimanao is an incoming senior at the Dr. Rita H. Inos Junior-Senior High School in Rota and has plans of entering the U.S. Army when she graduates next year to serve her country.
Meyers is the first runner-up aside from winning the Miss Marianas Teen Evening Wear and Swimwear competitions. She collected a total cash prize of $600, T Galleria gift packs, and a model portfolio for Iridescent Boutique.
Lexee Lee-Sang, the 17-year-old daughter of Dexter Lee-Sang and Kanoa Resort general manager Wendi Herring, was the pageant’s Miss Congeniality to win $100 and a T Galleria gift pack. She was also awarded the Best in Talent.
Taimanao won four of the eight special awards at stake—Miss Marianas Teen Stellar Star, Photogenic, Tresemme Best Hair, and Best in Fun Fashion—to bring home an additional $300 aside from the $1,000 she collected as this year’s title holder.
The Miss Marianas Teen and Miss Marianas will represent the CNMI in international beauty pageants with the former also getting all- expense paid travel opportunities by the Marianas Visitors Authority’s off-island activities and events.
Angelyn Laadan, Francine Sablan, and Maricris Zapanta were the other Miss Marianas contestants, while Jyawnna Joyner is the other Miss Marianas Teen candidate.
T Galleria’s senior makeup artist Divana Manglona Dela Cruz, IT&E executive director of customer operations Robert C. Harrell, DFS Saipan general manager Milan Rabold, Triple J marketing manager Iliana Pacheco, and Pacifica Insurance Underwriters executive vice president and general manager Shirley T. Sablan were the judges.