By Grace Valera Jaramillo
Eighteen-year-old Chastity Centina, 5’6′ multi-talented tri-lingual young lady speaks Tagalog, Visayan and English. She impressed the judges with her witty answers during the Interview segment held the day before, captivated everyone with her well poised and graceful cobra-walk at the evening gown portion and made everybody glued to their seats as she did Beyonce’s “Crazy in love ” dance number as her talent.
Except for the question and answer portion, Chastity consistently topped the Judges scores making her win the prestigious title of MISS TEEN PHILIPPINES-AMERICA.
It was also a great emotional moment for Chastity that night for she met her Dad, Chris Barnes, for the first time after 18 years. Having been borne to teenage parents, her Dad only saw and held her briefly when she was born. At the age of three, she was brought home to the Philippines and was taken care of by her grandfather Popoy, who brought her back to the U.S. only last year prior to her grandfather’s demise. (AURELIO CENTINA, nicknamed “Popoy” was retired from LOCKHEED-MARTIN Corporation, NASA Communications Project.)
It was a touching , tearful reunion for Chastity Centina and her North Carolina-based Dad, who found her only through Facebook.
First Runner-up and Miss Teen Philippines-Washington D.C. Hannah Cristine Delgado followed her closely (with a few points difference). She’s the youngest among the candidates having turned 15 only earlier this year. She was also voted by her fellow candidates as the friendliest hence she was given the Miss Teen Congeniality Special Award. Hannah is of Peruvian-American and Filipino parentage but she lost her father to lung cancer when she was 10 years old. Shyanne Carr, also of mixed Filipino African-American parents, was given the title Miss Teen Philippines Maharlika for her exotic royalty princess like beauty. The tallest of them all, Velarie Velasquez captured the Judges’ attention through her photos and was awarded Miss Teen Philippines Photogenic and was also given the title of Miss Teen Philippines-Visayas. Miss Teen Philippines-Luzon title went to Miss Niña Bonita Lapa who lived up to her name combining singing and dancing in her talent segment. Kathy Barnachea enthralled everyone with her elegant “tsunami” Binibining Pilipinas walk in her red gown. She has the title Miss Teen Philippines-Mindanao and garnered the two special awards of Miss Teen Popularity and Miss Teen Charity. And finally but not the least, the graceful lass Alyssa Avelino who got the Miss Teen Philippiness Maria Clara for her classic Filipina mestiza looks.
All of the girls were trained by professionals, (among them was Miss U.S.A. Nikki Poteet) from speaking to modelling, dancing and to practice interview. Each of them was given scholarship cash prize with the top winner getting the highest value. Aside from, crown, sash and scepter, Chastity also won a roundtrip ticket within the continental U.S. from Alpha Travel and ISA, gift items from MACYs, Lou and Cho Ortega, MJD Traders, Dr. Ryan’s dental clinic, facial treatment from SPA.
It was indeed a tough job for the Board of Judges headed by Miss Nikki Poteet, 2012 Miss U.S.A. and 2011 Miss Virginia-USA, together with Phil.Embassy’s Jose Gentiles, Atty. Arnedo Valera, John Paul Hamilton, and MACY’s Mila Ford.
ISA President Grace Valera handled the entire Miss Teen production from the opening dance number to the minutest detail together with equally patient and versatile ISA Officers, parents, former Miss Teen beauties, MHC team and other ISA volunteers, most of whom have handled the pageant for the last 28 years !
All of the teenage beauties, who are in honor roll and are consistent achievers, will take their oath as MHC Youth Envoys for Unity and Service during the 8th Annual Migrant Heritage Ball on 22 June 2013 and will be part of the MHC Fil-Am Youth delegation to the Int’l Youth Assembly at the United Nations (UN) in New York. They will also be representing the Fil-Am community in showcasing the Philippines to the American mainstream during the 4th of July American National Independence Day Parade in Philadelphia, PA, the birthplace of American Independence.
(Grace Valera-Jaramillo is the co-Executive Director of the Migrant Heritage Commission which is based in Washington, DC)