BACOLOD City – A senior high school student was crowned as this year’s MassKara Festival Queen (MFQ).
The 17-year-old Ella Mae Mercado of Barangay 16 sashayed her way to the crown and the title during the pageant’s three-hour coronation night – from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday – at the SMX Convention Center.
Mercado, a Grade 11 student under the Humanities and Social Sciences strand of Negros Occidental High School, said she was just a “simple girl” who joined the MFQ “to develop herself more.”
Mercado bested nine other candidates in the pageant, a side event of the annual MassKara Festival since 1982.
She was spot-on in answering the final question: “The word ‘MassKara’ comes from the words ‘mass’ and ‘kara,’ which mean the ‘face of the masses.’ If we unmask the people of Bacolod now, what will you find underneath the maskara that reflects a true Bacoleña?”
“If we unmask [them], we can see the smile of the Bacolodnons,” Mercado said in response. “Our city is called the ‘City of Smiles’ because of the people. Despite the challenges we had, we still managed to smile. I believe the smile symbolizes optimism and confidence. Despite the challenges that we have, we are brave enough [to face them].”
Along with the crown and sash, Mercado brought home P50,000 cash and round-trip tickets to Japan and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
She also got two minor awards (Best in Swimwear and Best in Festival Costume), one corporate award (Miss PH Care) and one special award (Miss Congeniality).
Meanwhile the 18-year-old Jacqueline Almogen and the 20-year-old Shane Pia were declared first and second runners-up, respectively.
Aside from the sash, Almogen won P30,000 while Pia got P15,000.
Pia also received two corporate awards (Miss Philippine Airlines and Miss 2Go), one minor award (Best in Modern Terno) and one special award (Miss Photogenic).
The other candidates were Claire Therese Porras, Heryn Wilcel Gatilao, Julia Bennett Divinagracia, Edelyn Roncales, Angelica Amayna, Claudette del Castillo, and Chrisselle Rose Lambating.
This year’s pageant was produced by the Silver MassKara Festival Organization, Inc. with the OMS as its organizer.
It was hosted by GMA-7’s “One Western Visayas” news anchor Sedfrey Cabaluna and MassKara Queen 2010 Agnes Therese Chang.
The judges were Francis John Chua, Annalou Judos, Charlie Co, retired judge Anita Guanzon-Chua, and Negros Occidental 6th District representative Mercedez Alvarez.
GMA-7 talent Mike Tan also graced the event as a celebrity performer./PN