The question as to who will be the next Bacolod 's Ambassadress of Goodwill was finally answered last night when a fourth year nursing student from the Riverside College was crowned the MassKara Queen 2009 before a jam-packed crowd at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum in Bacolod City .
Maria Aika Uy, 19, who also adjudged Miss Samsung, Miss Olive C and the Texter's Choice, bested nine other candidates. She received a cash prize of P80,000, P40,000 worth of dental care from the Mendez Dental Clinic and a necklace worth P5,000.
Crowd favorite Christine Daphne Villanueva, 19, who was named Negros Navigation Princess, Miss Photogenic and won the best evening wear and festival costume, was the first runner-up. She received P50,000 in cash, while Romelie Laura, 19, who was considered the wild card in the MQ search, finished second runner-up and received P30,000.
Uy got the judges' nod when she answered the question: MassKara has brought us 30 years of smiles, if you will be crowned MassKara Queen 2009, what will you do to keep the Bacolodnons smiling?
“Bacolodnons are known to be happy people, there are a lot more that I can do to enhance and make them happier. MassKara is not just showing the smiles on our faces but it is making us one as Bacolodnons,” she said.
Asked the same question, Villanueva, a Marketing Management student of USLS, and a beauty pageant neophyte said, “If I will be crowned MassKara Queen tonight I want Bacolodnons to know that I am proud to be a Bacoleña.”
ABE International Business College Tourism student, Laura, meanwhile, said, “We all know the story behind the MassKara Festival and even if we have problems, (we) should always be tough and keep our faith in God.”
Candidate number 4 Belinda Claire Thiel, 19, of USLS, won the best in talent for her tribal dance accompanied with live beat box strummers and drum beaters. She took home the best in swimsuit tilt.
For her friendly and warm attitude, Katrina Pearl “Beauty” Gomez, business administration student of the Bacolod City College , was voted by her fellow candidates as Miss Congeniality.
Judging the 5-hour pageant were former Miss Silliman Ellen Alvarez, former Bb. Pilipinas 1 st runner up Tracy Javellana, Lin-ay Sg. Negros director and choreographer Rene Hinojales, Jose Manuel Mapa of Negros Navigation and Gawad Urian Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Peque Gallaga.*APN