Cebuana student grabs Bb. Kalayaan 2012 title in Oslo

by Macel Ingles, ABS-CBN Europe Bureau

Posted at Jun 14 2012 03:16 PM | Updated as of Jun 15 2012 05:19 AM

OSLO - A 20-year-old student from Cebu City has been crowned Bb. Kalayaan 2012 in Oslo, Norway.

Keren Tanes, who wowed the audience over when she sang while playing the guitar, was an early crowd favorite. She also won the title of Ms. Photogenic and was a Facebook favorite. 

Other winners include Mary Catherine Joy Mendoza from Iloilo with Best in Costume, Novagrace Agoot from Kidapawan City who won Ms. Talent and the 3rd Runner up title. Finishing 1st and 2nd place are Cristine Joy Villena from Tayabas, Quezon and RC Crisel Villanueva from Ozamis City, respectively.

The contestants paraded in their long Filipiniana gowns and performed various talents in the competition.

Tanes, still flustered from all the attention she is getting after winning the crown, told ABS-CBN Europe that she is happy that she won and thanked everyone including the judges for giving her the top prize.

The Bb. Kalayaan pageant was hosted by the New Filipino Working Group and is part of the fiesta celebration held on the occasion of the Philippine Independence Day celebrations held at the St. Hanshaugen park last Saturday, June 9.

Aside from the pageant,  the NFWG also had a fiesta celebration at the park including a martsa ng kalayaan, and a seven hour program featuring various performers including rap artist Yellow Kid, streetdance instructor, Ricky Carranza from Finland, Drammen Filipino Dance Group, Hiyas Performers, Enzo Digno, The Baws, and Mary Fernandez.

Joining the celebrations are members of different Filipino organizations in Norway including the Living Word Bible Center, Drammen Filipino Dance Group, Bantay Bata 163, Batangas Association, Filipino Union in Bodø and Youth for Family and Life.

In his message to the Pinoy community in the fiesta celebration, Ambassador Bayani Mercado said that the occasion should be an opportunity to show unity as a people.

“As we commemorate the declaration of Philippine Independence, I believe it is always a good time to reflect on what we have accomplished as a people and as a nation. For me, it is also a good time as any, to show the world that we are united as a people,” Mercado told the crowd at the park.

A message of unity was also echoed by Jean Langerud, coordinator of NFWG.

“The New Filipino Working Group believes in unity, It is only through unity that we become strong... that we can be able to be one and giving service and love to our Filipino community here in Norway,” Langerud told ABS-CBN Europe.

The call for unity has become the theme of both celebrations of Independence Day celebrations held in the Norwegian capital. Another group, Filcom Norway, had a separate independence celebration last June 2.

Ambassador Mercado, in a speech delivered at both celebrations, expressed hope that the Filipino community in the future would only have one united Independence Day celebrations in the Norwegian capital.