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History of Miss Maui Filipina

By Michelle L. Santos

The first Miss Maui Filipina, Myrna Malaqui, was selected in 1959.  The selection of the queen at that time was based on popularity, a format taken from other queen contests in the Philippines in order to raise funds for scholarship.

Between 1959 and 1969, the pageant was held in plantation communities, such as Puunene.  In 1970, the pageant was moved from a Plantation style format to the Baldwin High School Auditorium, in which Mrs. Nancy Andres introduced the different phases of competition.  The contestants competed in the Swimsuit, Talent, and Question Phase.  Popularity was no longer the basis for choosing Miss Maui Filipina.  

In 1976, Miss Maui Filipina, Angela Moniz, was the first queen to receive a trip to the Philippines.  Since then, the trip is now called the Official Goodwill Trip of Miss Maui Filipina to the Philippines.  While on her official trip, Miss Maui Filipina has the opportunity to meet with dignitaries of prospective towns and of course take part in the cultural aspects of the trip and reuniting with family members.  

Following in the footsteps of the United Filipino Council of Hawaii, the official sponsor of the Miss Hawaii Filipina Scholarship Pageant, Mrs. Pauline Agres introduced the Terno/Speech Phase in 1978, in which the contestants would recite a speech based on the design she chose for her Terno Gown.  The Terno/Speech Phase took a new look in the year 2000, in which the contestants were allowed to design her Terno in other colors besides white.  The speech was then changed to reflect the theme of the pageant.

In 1978 the Pre-Pageant Interview? was added as a competition phase to the pageant. The contestants were asked questions, based on her biography, current events, and cultural aspects.  This is the highest scoring phase in the competition.

Miss Maui Filipina has the honor of representing Maui in the Miss Hawaii Filipina Scholarship Pageant, in which she competes with other island council queens.  From 1970 to 1999, the Maui Filipino Community Council sent both Miss Maui Filipina and her first runner-up to compete in the statewide finals.  The Miss Maui Filipina Scholarship Pageant has the distinct honor of having a Miss Maui Filipina or First Runner-up win the title of Miss Hawaii Filipina thirteen times.  Starting in the year 2000, Miss Maui Filipina would be the only representative to the Miss Hawaii Filipina Pageant.

Another interesting fact of the pageant is that there have been three instances where a Mother and Daughter  have shared the Miss Maui Filipina Title.  Jeanette Tapat-1972 and her daughter Elaine Paiva in 1994.  Judith Dagdag-1968 and daughter Rowena Dagdag-2000.  Agnes Macadangdang-1978 and daughter Celina Hayashi-2009.  There have also been numerous Aunt and Niece or cousins who have also won the title. 

Former Miss Maui Filipina and Miss Hawaii Filipina Queens also went on to compete in other local pageants and won their respective titles.  Miss Maui Filipina 1979 Cherie Saffery became Miss Maui, Miss Maui Filipina 1988 Diane Felipe also became Miss Maui and Miss Hawaii Filipina 2007 Cierra Rauch became Miss Maui 2008 and placed in the top 10 at the Miss Hawaii Pageant. She competed in the 2016 Miss Hawaii USA pageant and placed 2nd runner-Up.  Celina Macadangdang Hayashi was crowned Miss Valley Isle 2014 and placed in the top 7 at the Miss Hawaii Pageant. Miss Maui Filipina 2013 Shelly De Leon was crowned Miss Valley Isle in 2016, Jessie Lynn Sagadraca-Miss Maui Filipina 2014 won the title of Miss Valley Isle USA in 2015. Miss Maui Filipina 2015-Casey Salcedo, is Miss Maui 2016.

We are proud to say that the Miss Maui Filipina Scholarship Pageant is one of the longest running pageants in Hawaii and the longest on Maui.  Three women have played an important part in the founding and nurturing of the pageant to what it is today.  The Late Mrs. Raquel Nancy Andres, the Late Mrs. Pauline Agres and The General Mrs. Aggie Cabebe.  Mrs. Aggie Cabebe is a constant advisor to pageant committee members and a great resource of Filipino Culture and the Miss Maui Filipina Pageant.

As we celebrate the 59th year of the pageant, we can see that many changes have been made regarding the competition phases, however, the idea or purpose has remained the same, and that is to perpetuate the Filipino culture for years to come.