Ashley Ponce crowned Miss Molokai Filipina 2009.
By Melissa Kelsey
Molokai is a melting pot of world traditions, and the Miss Molokai Filipina 2009 pageant was a chance to celebrate Filipino culture with a local twist. As she danced the hula in graceful, delicate motions, Ashley Ponce charmed the audience at her coronation ceremony held at Home Pumehana Hall last Saturday. After Maui County Council Chairman Danny Mateo placed the silver crown on her head, three of her cousins presented her with gifts of flowers.
“I will try my very best to represent Molokai at the Hawaii state pageant,” said Ponce, who will travel to Oahu to compete for the Miss Hawaii Filipina 2009 crown on July 18.
Aunties and uncles gathered on the dance floor to dance ballroom, Filipino folk and the Electric Slide. Danny Mateo danced with emcee Starlet Luczon for one number, and Aunty Moana’s hula halau performed two dances.
“This is how it used to be,” said emcee Eugene Santiago, reminiscing about pineapple plantation era dances held at the Maunaloa and Kualapu`u community centers.
Formerly crowned Miss Molokai Filipina 2007 Deisha Pico made an appearance at the coronation ceremony and performed a final walk. The audience tried their luck for luxury raffle prizes, including a roundtrip ticket on Island Air, MP3 players and pearl jewelry. Auction items up for bid were a gift basket and a live goat. All proceeds went to Ponce to help fund her upcoming Oahu travels.
A 2007 graduate of Molokai High School, Ponce was active in the Student Council and Aunty Moana’s hula halau. She is currently working on a liberal arts associate’s degree at Maui Community College, and hopes to attend a university in Las Vegas. The Miss Molokai Filipina pageant was sponsored by the Molokai Filipino Community Council.