Gampon holds her breath

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Miss Kauai Filipina 2019 Isabel Gampon beams for several cameras with her overall trophy at right.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Miss Kauai Filipina 2019 Isabel Gampon, center, and her court, including from left Venus Sebastian, Tiffany Sagucio, Gwyneth Abella and Courtney Teves, pose Saturday during the 61st annual Miss Kauai Filipina Scholarship Pageant at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Isabel Gamon works through her contemporary dance routine during the talent phase of the 61st annual Miss Kauai Filipina Scholarship Pageant Saturday night at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Recipients of the Kauai Filipino Community Council scholarships, including from left Kahiau Gonsalves of Kapaa, Azea Minia of Waimea, Kimberly Ramos of Waimea, Krysten Padasdao of Kauai and Jenny Villanueva of Kauai (missing is Juliana Tampus of Kapaa) receive their awards Saturday during the 61st annual Miss Kauai Filipina Scholarship Pageant at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Isabel Gampon is crowned by Marli Genegabuas and Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami Saturday night as Jean Iida presents Gampon with the queen’s scepter after Gampon was announced the 2019 Miss Kauai Filipina at the 61st annual Miss Kauai Filipina Scholarship Pageant presented by the Kauai Filipino Community Council at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

LIHUE — Isabel Gampon took the whole shot Saturday night, copping a good portion of the special awards and the 2019 Miss Kauai Filipina crown before an audience of more than 800 people cheering and hooting at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

Gampon, the daughter of Christopher and Raydene Gampon, aspires to get a degree in psychology before joining the U.S. Air Force, where she aims to become an officer, she said at the 61st annual Miss Kauai Filipina Scholarship Pageant.

“The Kauai Filipino Community Council has done a great job all these years, promoting and perpetuating the Filipino culture through this pageant, and at the same time, recognizing and awarding deserving young men and women of Filipino descent through its scholarship program,” said Virgie Cruzada, the pageant chairperson.

Since its inception, the KFCC has awarded more than $350,000 to graduates of the three public high schools on Kauai.

“This is the reason we have this pageant,” said Abigail Iloreta of the the KFCC Scholarship Committee. “Tonight, we have six deserving students — two each from Kauai, Waimea, and Kapaa high schools — who will receive $1,000 awards towards their future paths.”

Scholarship recipients, nestled in the VIP section of the audience, included Juliana Tampus (Kapaa), Kahiau Gonsalves (Kapaa), Jenny Villanueva (Kauai), Krysten Padasdao (Kauai), Kimberly Ramos (Waimea), and Azea Minia (Waimea).

Gampon also earned a $2,000 cash scholarship along with a cache of prizes.

“Over the years, the Miss Kauai Filipina Scholarship Pageant has proudly presented the significance of preserving and perpetuating our unique cultureal heritage,” said Mario Trinidad, the KFCC president. “The pageant is a way of providing excellent opportunity for personal development of our young girls while at the same time maintaining an ethnic identity in this community of varied cultures.”

En route to the crown, Gampon maintained her composure on stage as Venus Sebastian, a Kauai High School graduate, was named the winner of a new Social Media award for popularity on the social media scene. Sebastian, the daughter of Artemio and Jesusa Sebastian, also copped the Spirit awards for ticket sales and ad sales before tying Tiffany Sagucio for Photogenic honors, the first time a tie developed in the history of the pageant.

Sagucio, a Kauai High School graduate and the daughter of Edgar and Silvestra Sagucio, earned a $1,500 cash scholarship and a host of prizes as she was named the pageant’s First Runner Up to the cheering of an agreeable audience.

Gwyneth Abella, a Kauai High School graduate who considers her mother, Aida Abella, a heroine for being able to get her to where she ended up, was voted the Most Congenial by her peer contestants. She also earned honors for the Best in Terno Speech Phase for her saga of getting from the Philippines to Kauai before being named to the pageant’s Second Runner Up crown that arrived with a $1,000 cash scholarship.

And Gampon waited with baited breath. The anxiety was broken when Gampon was announced the Most Beautiful Terno, a beautiful orange piece that reflects the passion and strength of red and the happiness of yellow. She also captured awards for Judges’ Interview, Best in Swimsuit, and Best in Talent for her strong contemporary and interpretive dance number that opened the talent portion. Those awards brought her to the crown presented by Mayor Derek Kawakami, and triggered her dad’s camera into action.

“While the rewards are great, at the end of this event, it is the journey that holds true value at the finish,” said Kawakami. “This pageant is a time-honored tradition here on Kauai that started with a small community eager to inspire young Filipina women to pursue artistic self-expression and higher education.”

Gampon will represent the Kauai Filipino Community Council when the state Miss Hawaii Filipina pageant unfolds, July 27 at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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