Search on for Mutya ng Pilipinas Scandinavia

By Macel Ingles, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Dec 20 2012 11:48 AM | Updated as of Dec 20 2012 08:29 PM

OSLO, Norway - The search for Mutya ng Pilipinas Scandinavia is on.

The Mutya ng Pilipinas Scandinavia (MPS) said 12 finalists will be chosen from Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Screening of candidates are still ongoing in Oslo and Rogaland, while four candidates were already selected to represent Sweden, two from Denmark, one from Lofoten and two from Trondheim.

This is the first time that an all-Scandinavia search for Mutya ng Pilipinas finalists is being held.

Fil-Norwegian beauty Kirby Ann Basken won the Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia Pacific International title in 2007/Photo courtesy of Grace Vasquez

The finalists will compete for the Mutya crown in Oslo on February 8-9, 2013 and two of the pageant winners will represent the Filipino community in Scandinavia in the Mutya ng Pilipinas Finals in the Philippines in July.

In an email interview with ABS-CBN Europe, MPS chairperson Grace Vasquez said the pageant will not only recognize the "beauty and talents of young Filipinos in Scandinavia" but it will also raise funds "for projects that would benefit orphans, indigent families and other less fortunate members of Philippine society."

The MPS, an overseas pageant partner of the Mutya ng Pilipinas Organization (MPO), has been sending delegates to the national pageant since 2006.

As an MPO partner, Vasquez said that the MPS shares its objective to assist in "promoting tourism, social responsibility, fashion and beauty pageantry." In short, she says, it is promoting, "a Filipina with a social conscience," which sets it apart from other pageants.

Vasquez also says the pageant is the MPS' way of helping Filipinas in Scandinavia to discover their roots.

"The pageant (gives) them a better appreciation of the Philippines, its people and its rich heritage, which they now gladly call their own Filipino heritage," she added.

By taking part in Philippine pageants, Vasquez said "they (find) their Filipino roots – which they now gladly share with family and friends in Norway."

She should know as her very own Fil-Norwegian daughter Kirby Ann Basken competed in the Mutya ng Pilipinas 2006 pageant and won the the Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia Pacific title and represented the Philippines in the Miss Intercontinental pageant in Nassau, Bahamas in October 2007.

"Being from two different cultures gives you the luxury to grab and appreciate the best of both worlds. (One has) the unique ability to not only understand but to relate to more than one world, one culture," she said, quoting her daughter.

Basken is also the first Filipino-Norwegian to bag the Miss Norway Universe crown.

She will be hosting the pageant together with Fil-American pop artist Marvin Estrella, Mutya ng Norway 2011 Maria Bergensen and Filipino fashion designer Numer Exconde.

Philippine Queen of Soul Ella May Sison and dance artist Ricky Carranza will also be performing at the event.

The MPS is a a non-profit organization registered in Norway and has for its mission to " preserve and perpetuate the Filipino cultural heritage to Filipino-Norwegian families and neighbors in Norway through its programs of presenting, outreach and research."