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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, April 11, 2007
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Some Lin-ay bets
steal the show

Miss Murcia, Miss Sagay and Miss Bacolod stole the show with their confidence.

Miss Don Salvador Benedicto drew laughs for her candid humor. Miss Bago acknowledged the disadvantages of being a first-timer in a beauty pageant.

The 23 candidates vying for the 2007 Lin-ay sang Negros crown were presented at the Provincial Capitol yesterday with the hopefuls greeted with questions ranging from the upcoming elections, how to promote Negros Occidental to their chances of winning the title on April 20.

Murcia bet Princess Dya Dim de la Cruz said she will promote the helpfulness and intrinsic resiliency of the Negrenses if she wins the crown.

Despite being noted by some members of the media as being the most confident among the 23 candidates, she acknowledged that her fellow contestants are also doing their best.

Another candidate with big pageant experience, Bacolod's Christer Mari Taclobos also dismissed that she is among the frontrunners to succeed last year's winner, Jan Nicole Puentevella, who represented the city.

Sagay's Margarette Bantiling said her beauty made her win in the Sinigayan Festival pageant and she hopes it will help her win the crown because she has learned how to attract people.

But Salvador Benedicto bet Frebejean Bartolo provided the light moment of the press presentation.

In a mixture of Ilonggo and English, Bartolo said she felt nervous in the presentation but she knows how to walk and this makes her confident because this could be her asset in winning the title.

The response elicited laughter from the audience. "I have hidden talents and I hope this will show as the pageant progresses," she added with a laugh.

Bago candidate Madel Magbanua said that her being young and inexperienced compared to her fellow candidates could be a disadvantage to her.

All first-time voters in next month's polls, E.B. Magalona's Ma. Corazon Bilbao, Aisa Caberte of Talisay and La Castellana bet Lara Angelika Vera also described the candidates as deserving of their votes.

A leader should be responsible, optimistic, and God-fearing, Bilbao said, adding that if an official is God-fearing, everything good will follow.

Caberte said she should be a good example for the people, especially the youth. Vera added that a leader should support the youth to help them become responsible citizens. The other candidates are Katherine Rosal - Binalbagan, Xyza Magbulogtong - Calatrava, Candy Granada - Candoni, Sugar Meshelle Tumpag - Cauayan, Vanessa Isok - Himamaylan City, Aprille Paz Felicisimo - Hinigaran, Curie Evangelista - Hinoba-an, Gretchen Simple - Ilog, Berlyn Grace Tolentino - Kabankalan City, Toni Kinlah Tumapa - Moises Padilla, Kareen Faye Gustilo - San Carlos City, Rhea Mae Balome - San Enrique, Carol Corcoso - Silay City, Rose Sheil Oņate - Valladolid, Elan Jane Esteban - Victorias City, and Deri Grace de Gracia - Sipalay City.

Producers of the annual beauty contest, led by award-winning choreographer Rene Hinojales, vowed to come up with an elegant pageant night show that will put emphasis on the province's finest tourist spots.

The show will be hosted by television personality TJ Trinidad. Hinojales, a Negros Occidental centennial awardee in choreography, said the province could expect 13 years worth of hard work on the pageant night show, which will deviate from the usual segments and instead present a travelogue and some trivia of Negros Occidental's finest tourism spots.

Marlin Sanogal, the Panaad sang Negros Festival action officer, said they initially expected 10 to 15 candidates from of the 32 towns and cities in the province since it was an election year and the mayors may be busy with their campaigns.

The Lin-ay sang Negros Talent Night is set at 7 p.m. at the SM City Bacolod Mall on April 18.

The winning candidate will receive P100,000, while the first and second runners-up will receive P60,000 and P30,000 respectively, Lin-ay committee chairperson Ian De Ramos said.

Nine special awards will also be given with each award coming with P5,000 cash, he added. The Lin-ay sang Negros will also be awarded a one-year scholarship in Negros Occidental with a monthly stipend.

She will also be employed by the Provincial Government for one year on a contractual basis and will help in its tourism promotions efforts, De Ramos said.

The candidates were pre-screened by Hinojales, scriptwriter Al Melgar, and de Ramos. *CPT/PP

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