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Celine Grey Crowned Miss Philippines PIDC 2016 and Bianca Manlapaz Wins Little Miss Philippines Title

By Susan Llanera
Photos: Hulagway Snaps Photography: Floro Virtucio
July 14, 2016


"No matter which path your life may lead you, always remember and be grateful to all the people who supported you along the way - your family and friends", a simple yet profound message from Contestant #2.

Unanimously picked, CELINE GREY, a 16-year old Grade 11 student from Saint Elizabeth Catholic High School has clearly proven that she deserves to be crowned Miss Philippines PIDC 2016 amongst six other beautiful contenders. Conida Marie Halley, Miss Philippines PIDC 2015, after a video showing of her year's reign, donned the royal headdress to Celine, her highly elated successor.

Celine Grey, being the audience darling, was awarded a trophy, tiara, sash, cash award, bouquet of flowers and a return airfare to the Philippines sponsored by Korean Air, as well as doubly honoured  with  four distinctions, "Most Photogenic", "Best in Talent", "Miss Popularity" and "Miss Online Sensation" titles. Other winners recognized with trophy, tiara, sash, bouquet of flowers and cash prizes were: Zoebelle Jane Flores, 1st Runner-Up and Ariana Espiritu, 2nd Runner-Up.  Zoebelle Jane also received the "Miss Intellectual", "Best in Casual Wear", "Best in Beauty & Poise" and "Best in National Costume" trophies while  Ariana was named "Miss Charity". 

The strong bevy of winning beauties with trophies and sashes, include: Angelica Mercado Alfonso, who was accorded with two awards, as "Miss Philippines Pearl of the Orient" and "Miss Congeniality",  Zatrene Jimenez garnered "Miss Philippines Miss Maria Clara" title, and Reema Balouch, won "Miss Philippines Miss Tourism" award.

The popular and most prestigious beauty, poise and talent event, organized by the 18- year old Philippine Independence Day Council (PIDC), is a major  part of the annual celebration of the "118th Independence Day" anniversary of the Philippines in Toronto, Canada. PIDC is an umbrella organization of more than 15 Filipino-Canadian community associations in Ontario.

Proudly led by Norma Carpio, PIDC president, the members of the pageant's organizing committee is composed of overall event chair Aurora Ticzon Elefano, "Miss Philippines" chairperson Gene Pardo-Elamparo, "Little Miss Philippines" chairperson Helen Pico-Lao, and Pageant Coordinators Lorenzo "Jun" Villaruz, Roy Start and Ophelia Santiago. PIDC Executive Vice-President Karen Pascual-Binaday and Council of Leader Aristeo Elefano served as Production, Program and Stage Coordinators, Daniela Pozo and Karen Amador-Lopez acted as choreographers and as well, Floro Virtucio and Bong Molano as official photographer and videographer, respectively.

Other coordinators include: Graphic Artist Georelle Mendoza / Nene Ticzon, Food Committee. Among the PIDC officers and volunteers who provided assistance and guidance were: Minda Neri, Suzy Llanera, Tom Tan, Pedro Carpio, Ben & Paulina Corpuz, Rose Calvo, Chyrell Samson and Rodney Ronquillo, Vilma Tahsin, Roger Tarca, Fernando & Nene Ticzon, Verth Bugtong, Al Tupe, Aimee Maravilla, Rose Cruz, Conrad Corpuz, Ralph Paguirigan, Randy Bucao, Natalia Hilsie, Madelyn Duyo, and Emma Andrada Mrs. Philippines PIDC 2016.

Pageant Sponsors and Donors include: J.M. Hwang of Korean Air, Agnes Miranda of World Financial Group, Fawad Nasir of Empire One Group, Michael Elefano known as "Spritz" in Canadian Beatboxing Scene, Chanele Anne Ganancial of Modelo Cosmetic Clinic, Arthur Chan of Telestar Communications, Andrew Will, a Real Estate Sales Rep, and Annabelle Migalbin of Solutions Immigration Consulting Inc., were the evening's distinguished panel of judges, who held the most difficult task in judging and in choosing this year's winners. Tabulators who are Members of the Association of Filipino Canadian Accountants, tallied the judges' votes and tabulated the results were Imelda Bautista, Estrellita Ortiz, Nimfa Santos and Myra Famero.

Raina Resplandor opened the lively and well-applauded three-hour program singing the Philippine and Canadian Anthems. The program also showcased talented musical and dance performances namely: Lucky Lucas, actor-model & singer Scott Dion Brown, Raina Resplandor, Miss Philippines PIDC 2014 and choreographers, Daniela Pozo and Karen Amador-Lopez.

Jointly hosted by Scott Dion Brown and Raina Resplandor, the evening's show was attended by over 500 guests and raving fans, held at Isabel Bader Theatre, University of Toronto Campus, Toronto Ontario, on Saturday, July 9, 2016. 

A showcase of beauty, poise and talent, candidates donned their best in the "National Gown" and "Casual Wear" competition, each presented their individual explicit display of talents, and finally their quick-witted and impressive responses to the questions they each pulled out from a transparent glass bowl during the Q & A portion of the program. 

PIDC President Norma Carpio in her apt message graciously thanked those present as well as the major sponsors, donors, judges, media partners, guests, tabulators, candidates, parents, photographers, volunteers and the entire PIDC family for their continued support and co-operation, declaring the pageant a very memorable milestone in the community. Engagingly, Chairperson Gene Pardo-Elamparo and Overall Chair Aurora Ticzon Elefano delivered their welcome address and acknowledgements.

Earlier, BIANCA MANLAPAZ, a five year-old Sr. Kindergarten student from San Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic School, was crowned the Little Miss Philippines PIDC 2016. Bianca who aims to become a doctor, also won the "Miss Talent" & "Miss Charity" awards. Charize Rebecca Escalante Conejos bagged the 1st Runner-Up and the "Miss Popularity" titles, and Alexis Espiritu  received the 2nd Runner-Up title and garnered three awards: "Best in Beauty & Poise", "Best in Gown" and "Best in Casual Wear". Winners each received a trophy, tiara, sash, cash award, bouquet of flowers and gift bags.

Moreover, Titles and Awards won include: "Miss Congeniality" and "Miss Tourism" is Jasmine Elijah Manabat Reyes; "Miss Charming" is Kaila Jaserian Damo; "Miss Glamour" is Alyssa Rose Cootauco; "Miss Sunshine" is Reyna Grace Magno and "Miss Friendship" and "Miss Photogenic" is Chelsea Cootauco.

Chyrell Samson-Ronquillo opened the show singing the Canadian and Philippine National Anthems. Chairperson Helen Pico-Lao and President Norma Carpio delivered their welcome address. Notable artists, such as, Charms, former Little Misses Samantha Gavin (2014), Hailey Chyrel Malanum (2012), Scott Dion Brown, PIDC's Mr. Philippines and Georelle Mendoza, performed at the Little Miss Philippines PIDC 2016 pageant.

Highlights of  Little Miss Philippines PIDC 2015, Paola Julianne Panganiban's reign was featured in a video presentation which took place during her final walk. After the new Ambassadress of Goodwill was announced, Paola Julianne then crowned, Bianca Manlapaz, amongst other 8 contestants who vied for the Little Miss Philippines PIDC 2016 title.

Scott Dion Brown, Lead singer of the rock band "Symphony of Nine", Georelle Mendoza, Miss Philippines "Miss Heritage" PIDC 2015 awardee and Marina Saleeb, 1st Runner-Up Miss Philippines and Miss Sports Model PIDC 2015, hosted the three-hour long program.

The Judges include: Emma Andrada, Mrs. Philippines PIDC 2016; Lovely Dannasol Luna, Best actress awardee in Filmact; Ramon Y. Solis of LBC; Conida Marie Halley, Miss Philippines PIDC 2015 and Rosalie Francisco, Founder Dance to the Rhythm Studio. Members of the Association of Filipino Canadian Accountants served as the Tabulators.

Upcoming PIDC 2016 Signature Events are: the PIDC Mabuhay Cup Open Invitational Basketball Tournament on July 22-24, Hoopdome, 75 Carl Hall Road; Cocktail Event -Sheraton Hotel Toronto on September 2nd; and the anticipated "Mabuhay Philippines Festival" on September 3-4 at Nathan Phillips Square, City Hall, 100 Queen St. West.

The winners will be featured in this year's Festival Fashion Show with Designers Aisha Penalosa, Jaki Penalosa, Merriam Goldberg and Kenneth Barlis. The theme for this year's Mabuhay Philippines Festival is "Sining", meaning Colour. For Vendors & Exhibitors info, please contact Minda Neri at (416) 621-4985 or email her at vox999@gmail.com (sl).

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