Archive for June, 2011

Newly crowned Miss Oahu Filipina is fierce!

June 8th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos

From left, Miss Oahu Filipina contestants Angelica Ragasa, Audrey Setik, Leonevi Mabiog, Janelle Sanqui and April Angela “Gel” Nolasco, after the awards ceremony, in which Leonevi was named the winner.

The field of contestants for Miss Oahu Filipina was small at only five, equal to the number of finalists at bigger pageants, but it was such a strong bunch that each of the women, Angelica Ragasa, April Angela “Gel” Nolasco, Janelle Sanqui, Leonevi Mabiog and Audrey Setik, would likely have made the finals even if there were 15 or 20 in the contest.

I was called on to help judge the contestants, which is always hard. I just had to turn down another pageant because the larger ones can have so many criterion and contestants that it gets to be overwhelming, and you just hate to make a mistake because for the women involved, it’s so life-changing.

Even with five contestants, the event, from dinner to finale, ran close to five hours on June 4 at the Hawaii Prince Hotel, the same night as the Miss Hawaii contest.

That night, the women were judged on swimsuit, speech and talent, but preliminary contests also involved interview and terno.

When it was over, Leonevi was named Miss Oahu Filipina and will vie for the title of Miss Hawaii Filipina in July. She also won in swimsuit and speech categories. I thought she would win in the talent portion as well, for a fierce performance of the Filipino Muslim Warrior Dance traditionally performed by men.

Leonevi was fierce in her performance of a Filipino dance traditionally performed by men.

Through her dance, that included wielding a bolo knife, she wanted to show that women are capable of doing what men can do, taking as her role model Maria Josefa Gabriela Silang, who joined the 18th century Philippine revolution and became a leader of an army, fighting alongside men for Ilocos freedom. She was eventually captured and executed.

Maybe that was too politicized for other judges. The talent award went to first runner-up Audrey Setik, who performed a beautiful hula auana to “Ka Wailele O Nu’uanu, danced to a recording by The Brothers Cazimero.

Their performances were equal in terms of poise, confidence and execution, but the visceral sensation could not be more different. Leonevi’s dance aggressively channeled the warrior spirit, while Audrey’s was as fresh and flowing as the waterfall at the heart of her dance.

Leonevi brought the same passion to her speech, tied to womens’ role in Filipino society, which had the audience cheering throughout. Wow, she would make quite an amazing and inspiring leader. She wants to be a police officer. I pity the fool who rubs her the wrong way then!

Here are the standings:

Leonevi Mabiog: Miss Oahu Filipina Queen, Best in Swimsuit and Speech
Audrey Setik: First Princess, Miss Popularity, Best in Terno and Talent
Janelle Sanqui: Second Princess
Angelica Ragasa: Miss Photogenic and Miss Congeniality
Gel Nolasco: Interview winner

The event was presented by the Oahu Filipino Community Council and the always hard-working event chair Leo Rojas Gozar.

Leonevi Mabiog receives her crown.

Friends of Janelle Sanqui, a dancer with the 24/7 Danceforce, showed their support with huge blown-up photos of her that they waved from the audience.

For the terno segment of the competition, Janelle’s butterfly-sleeve bolero made a nice nod to tradition, while lookig more contemporary.


‘ITO: Travelwrights’ rolls into town

June 6th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos

With artists Nalani Kanaka’ole and Sig Zane, from left, Alejandro Briceno, Mark Noguchi, Steven Kanemoto and Lindsey Ozawa couldn’t wait to don their ITO shirts.

Interisland Terminal’s “ITO: TRAVELWRIGHTS” retail pop-up and exhibition featuring work by Sig Zane, Nalani Kanaka‘ole and Kuha‘o Zane opened June 2 in the Waikiki Parc Hotel lobby with a private reception for 150 that swelled to 250.

The impromptu pop-up space wasn’t big enough to contain everyone, so luckily, the overflow was accomodated in the bar at Nobu, where specialty drinks created for the occasion were being served. Guests could take their pick of Nalani Lemonade with Tuaca, Chambord, brown sugar and angostura bitters; The Pisco Sig with Tuaca, Pisco, lime juice, simple sugar and egg white;  Kuha’o Cooler with Tuaca, Jack Daniels, Triple Sec, lime juice and splash of Sprite; and Tuaca Espresso Flip with Tuaka, Kahlua cream, vanilla, egg white and espresso.

Inside the pop-up was an array of apparel and travelers’ gear in keeping with the theme of the show, marked by the Zanes-Kanaka’ole collaboration “Ponoholo” wayfarer-themed print. Fans of the Big Island-based artists lined up at the check-out counter with armloads of the merchandise, in support of Interisland Terminal‘s mission of combining creativity and innovation toward improving Hawaii’s cultural and socio-economic life.

You can read my preview about the exhibition here.

In addition to the pop-up, Nalani unveiled her “Kaialupe” installation that night, with Sig’s reveal and talk-story session to come 6 to 8 p.m. June 7 at Halekulani’s Hau Terrace, and Kuha’o’s installation and talk story to take place at the Parc from 6 to 8 p.m. June 10.

The pop-up space will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through June 12.

Kuha’o Zane, left, welcomed Daniela Abe and Zak Noyle.

Keola Rapozo of Fitted, center, and chef Mark Noguchi ham it up while showing their support for Interisland Terminal.

There was a long line for ITO merchandise.

Duffel bags featured prints that included a map of Hilo town.

From left are DJ Compose, David Lin, Blaise Sato and Tassho Pearce.

Interisland Terminal’s Wei Fang, left, and Sarah Honda, right, with Molly Watanabe.

Nalani’s installation “Kaialupe” was unveiled on opening night, comprising a formation of kites using the show’s special “Ponoholo” print.