Previous Miss Kauai Filipinas gathered last week at Wrangler’s Steak House, owned and operated by Colleen Faye, the 1972 Miss Kauai Filipina, for a meet-and-greet with the four contestants vying for the honor during the 60th annual scholarship pageant.
The pageant will presented Saturday by the Kauai Filipino Community Council at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, starting at 7 p.m.
Elizabeth Kawamura, 1977 Miss Kauai Filipina and a contestant coordinator for this year’s pageant, said Barbara Balderas Daligcon, the 1962 Miss Kauai Filipina, went on to become the first Miss Hawaii Filipina during the state convention of the first territorial Hawaii Filipino Community Council, which was led by Jose Bulatao’s father in 1959.
“I didn’t know it at the time,” said Balderas Daligcon. “I was trained by Mr. and Mrs. Bulatao. I still have the gown I wore, although I don’t know if I can fit in it.”
“It was really hit or miss,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on. It was a while afterwards that my mom told me that I was ‘selected.’ We were living in Okada Camp and Mr. Juanito Buza came to speak with my parents. There was no pageant. I was turned over to the Bulataos, who trained me.”
Callie Racelo, Anna Broyles, Kimberly Matutina and Marli Genegabuas have been working for several months for the title, which earns not only scholarships, but eligibility to advance to the state pageant later in the summer.
“This is a scholarship pageant,” said Charlmaine Bulosan, a past KFCC president and pageant leader. “Contestants learn about the Filipino culture and earn scholarships, a part of it being earned from proceeds from admission to the event that includes not only the pageant, but liberal amounts of cultural pagentry.”
Salisa Pegeder, a graduate of Island School and the reigning queen, will crown the 2018 Miss Kauai Filipina.
“This has been an amazing experience,” said Pegeder. “It has not been anything I expected, how many new people I would meet, how many different functions I had to attend. The most awesome part is that I earned the crown 21 years after my mother, Melissa Pegeder — the 38th Miss Kauai Filipina — wore the crown. I am truly grateful for the experience because all of the people with the Kauai Filipino Community Council really took care of me.”
The mother of another contestant, Genegabuas, also was a former winner; Sandra Johnston reigned as the 1990 Miss Kauai Filipina.
“I grew up doing pageants,” said Genegabuas, a graduate of Kapaa High School. “Now, it’s time for me to learn about my Filipino side of the family. I want to motivate other young Filipina to be proud of their culture and heritage.”
Broyles is a veteran of previous pageants, ending her reign as Miss Kauai Veteran and recently participating in a local pageant.
“When I participated in my first pageant, it was a really rewarding experience where I met a lot of new people,” said Broyles, a graduate of Waimea High School. “By participating in the Miss Kauai Filipina pageant, I’m growing and have a way to add to my platforms. I love the Filipino culture — especially the food — and this is a great way to learn about my heritage.”
Matutina is a graduate of Kauai High School.
“I was a contender for the Boys &Girls Club Youth of the Year competition,” Matutina said. “This pageant is way different from that competition. I am used to being dressed in businesswear and speaking. When I was young, I saw some of the pageants because my mother was involved in it. I thought it would be cute if one day I was in it. Now, I know — it’s not about being cute, it’s about representing.”
Racelo, a Kauai High School graduate, rounds out the field.
“This has been such a humbling experience, and a great honor to represent the Filipino,” Racelo said. “It’s cool to have a voice in the community and make my family proud. I admit to not knowing enough about the Filipino culture, and this has made me want to learn more. Eventually, I want to get a master’s degree in social work to help underprivileged children have a better future.”
Tickets for the pageant chaired by Lemuel Soria are available from any of the contestants, or through the Kauai Filipino Community Council by calling 722-3453.
Proceeds go toward the KFCC’s scholarship fund which awards monies to graduating seniors of Filipino ancestry who are continuing their education.