In a grand night showcasing the elegance, charm and wit of Ilocanas, the Miss Ilocos Norte crown was handed to a Dingras native on May 18, 2016 during the pageant’s coronation night held at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena.
“Truly, we are once again here celebrating this pageantry of beauty and culture, of what is unique and special to our beloved province,” highlighted Governor Imee R. Marcos in her short speech during the event.
Turning emotional when she was announced as the new Miss Ilocos Norte, Roxette Gyle de Roxas, 19, accepted her crown from Miss Ilocos Norte 2015 Henna Santos of Pagudpud town.
Roxas bested the other 20 women who also vied for the title with her towering height at 5’8, ideal Ilocana beauty and startling charisma on stage. She also bagged the Best in Swimsuit and Best in Philippine Terno awards.
Joining the pageant to fulfill her dream to become a beauty queen, Roxas expressed her gratitude to the people of Dingras, adding that: “Winning the pageant gives pride and honor to my beloved town and presents the chance to contribute to the transformation of Ilocos Norte.”
Meanwhile, tourism student Jazrell Mae B. Caldito, 20, of Solsona town was awarded as first runner-up; Gwyneth Shaira Austria, 18, of Vintar town as second runner-up; Marifil Inessa Tolen, 18, of Sarrat town as third runner-up; and youngest candidate Celine Joyce B. Martin, 15, of Laoag City as fourth runner-up.
The winners are now part of the growing list of beauty queens who also serve as the province’s ambassadors on education, tourism and youth affairs.
Santos, in her final speech as Miss Ilocos Norte, beamed that she was “blessed all throughout her reign and hopes that the next title-holder will be able to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of being a winner.”
Pageant Director and Ilocos Norte Tourism Officer Ianree Raquel noted that Miss Ilocos Norte differs from other beauty contests across the country as “it focuses a lot on entering career opportunities for our candidates and winners as well as a big part of the prize is a transferable scholarship for the winners.”
Raquel added that previous winners of the pageant like Miss Ilocos Norte 2014-Second runner-up Sheena Dalo, who represented the province in this year’s Binibining Pilipinas, were given the opportunity to work with the provincial government.
During the Miss Ilocos Norte’s gala night last May 13, 2016 at the Paoay Convent Ruins, the candidates paraded and stunned spectators in their evening gowns made from the local hand-woven cloth known as inabel.
“We required all of our contestants to wear inabel in their evening gowns; 80% of their look should be made from the local fabric,” noted Raquel.
Since last year, Miss Ilocos Norte has been uplifting the use of the inabel with the aim revive the dying craft of weaving the local fabric.
Raquel added that the inabel has “particular properties that are not usually present in other fabrics that the designer often use, so it is important that designers get accustomed to using the fabric. The pageant is an opportunity for them to learn.”
Among the 21 contestants, Martin who represented Laoag City bagged the Best Inabel Evening Gown award.
Aside from celebrating the beauty and ingenuity of Ilocanos, the entire coronation night of Miss Ilocos Norte also paid homage to the unique and extraordinary culture of Ilocos Norte.
During the Philippine Terno portion of the pageant, the Top 12 contestants walked on stage on the beat ofDungdungwenkanto, Naraniag a bulan and other Ilocano folk songs.
Moreover, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach’s trainer and mentor Jonas Gaffud served as the chairman of the board of judges. Gaffud was joined by Asia’s Next Top Model Alaiza Malinao, beauty queen Madelon S. delos Santos, fitness trainer and model Culver Padilla, shoemaker Jojo Bragais; resort-owner and surfer Mike Oida; and pageant trainer Pawee Ventura.
“I have been around the country judging pageants and I can say that Miss Ilocos Norte is one of the bests. Wonderful production and concept, beautiful girls,” said Gaffud before the question-and-answer portion.
Meanwhile, Malinao hopes that the winners of Miss Ilocos Norte 2016 will carry the pride of being an Ilocano wherever she will go.—(John Michael Mugas, PGIN-CMO)