In Ryzza Mae’s footsteps
Leah C. Salterio (The Philippine Star) - July 25, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Undoubtedly, it’s “the first, the original, the most prestigious talent search on Philippine TV.” The much-awaited selection of “the cutest and the brightest” happened again in the top-rating noontime show, Eat, Bulaga! on GMA 7, as the Little Miss Philippines search chose its new winner.

Two years after Ryzza Mae Dizon was crowned and became the next TV sensation (following in the footsteps of Aiza Seguerra), the Little Miss Philippines search commenced anew. This time, however, the search included the child’s rapport with the parent as the contest was called Little Miss Philippines My Mini Me.

Seven-year-old Allyza Imatong of Montalban, Rizal, who impressed the judges with her self-taught pole dancing ability, was crowned as winner. With an average score of 95 percent, Allyza brought home P200,000, a crown, sash, scepter and other big prizes from the pageant sponsors.

First runner-up was Pauline Fheb Sitchon of Mandaluyong City, who did a declamation piece. Tied for second runner-up were Gella Vergara of Cebu City, who belted out Somewhere from West Side Story (she also won Best in Talent) and Meljeleth Shahar Catada from Taal, Batangas who rendered Patuloy ang Pangarap.

The Dabarkads Choice Award was given to Chrizela Alyanna Veloso of Lucena City (Quezon) for garnering over 16,000 votes. Judges for the finals were Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Carmina Villarroel, Mike Enriquez, Aiza Seguerra and Elmer Villasanta (brand manager of Magnolia Chocolait).

Little Miss Philippines is one of the longest-running contests in Eat, Bulaga! (which is marking its 35th year on TV this month). The first grand winner of Little Miss Philippines was Glaiza Herradura, who was crowned in 1984.

To date, most recognizable and perhaps most successful among showbiz stars who started their careers after joining Little Miss Philippines is Aiza. Several other actresses started their careers by joining the popular talent search — Gladys Reyes, Camille Prats, Julie Ann San Jose, Pauleen Luna and Jessa Zaragoza.

On the Ryzza Mae Show, former Little Miss Philippines contestants — Dindin Llarena, Lady Lee and Camille — guested and reminisced about their memorable stint in joining the pageant, which paved the way for their showbiz careers.

As early as January, the Little Miss Philippines search this year was announced, with auditions scheduled nationwide. However, only 18 aspiring little misses successfully made it to the finals last July 12.

The young girls had a busy schedule getting ready for the big day. They had their pictorial and their photos were posted on Eat, Bulaga!’s Facebook account. They even visited Manila Ocean Park.

The pre-judging of Little Miss Philippines My Mini Me happened in three batches, as the 18 finalists were made to show their respective talents over three days. There were those who sang and danced. There were others who displayed more impressive talents, like playing the banduria, reciting a declamation piece or doing a puppet dance.

Judges for the pre-judging were Dabarkads Ruby Rodriguez, Sheryl Cruz and Family Life and Child Development psychologist Dr. Lillian Guadiong.

During the finals, seven were chosen to compete for the title. They included Venice Erlola Alawag of Laoag City (Ilocos Norte) who did a dance number; Ayaka Takakuwa of Calamba, Laguna who sang a Japanese song; and Marjorie Bianca Mae Guerra of Cotabato City who played the banduria.

AIZA SEGUERRA AIZA SEGUERRA AND ELMER VILLASANTA ALLYZA IMATONG OF MONTALBAN AYAKA TAKAKUWA OF CALAMBA BULAGA LITTLE LITTLE MISS PHILIPPINES LITTLE MISS PHILIPPINES MY MINI ME MISS PHILIPPINES
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