2007 Ginoong Pilipinas-USA proclaimed; Mark Figueroa from Chicago, Illinois wins title

2007 Ginoong Pilipinas-USA winner Mark Figuera [center] and his court [L-R]: 3rd runner-up (also won the special award – Ginoo of the Crowd) Henry Lee (Daly City, CA); 1st runner-up - Jay-Ar Ignacio (Delano, CA); 2nd runner-up – Ingel Catindig (Milpitas, CA); and 4th runner-up – Scott Cliffton (Madison, WI).

(Last year's winner Chris Friel shows-off his winning form before 2007 candidates' Swimwear Parade. More pics at Photo Gallery)

Text and Photos by Oliver Carnay

Twenty-two year old young entrepreneur, Mark Figueroa from Chicago, Illinois, was proclaimed the new Ginoong Pilipinas-USA in a ceremony held at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California, last Saturday, November 25th. Mark, a real estate broker who runs his own business, Amron Realty Group, bested out fifteen candidates and also won the Best in Swimwear competition.

Mark’s prizes will include a round-trip ticket to the Philippines plus the fare to the next annual Manhunt International, the internationally well-known male pageant (usually held in Singapore), which GP-USA is affiliated with, and where he will also get the chance to compete in. In April this year, last year’s Ginoong Pilipinas-USA 2006 winner Chris Friel represented the northern USA region. The competition was held in China and Chris won two special awards - Mr. Congeniality and Mr. Friendship.

Attended by community leaders and pillars of several organizations in the Asian-American communities in the United States, the annual GP-USA Search aims to showcase and feature best Filipino and Filipino-American male role models, and to celebrate and promote Filipino culture and values for the younger generations to emulate.
Aspiring applicants from different parts of United States are well-screened by the GP-USA Committee.

In celebration of its fourth annual competition, executive producers Elton Lugay and Thanh Dinh of Tangerine Productions received an honorary plaque, represented by Jason Chan from the office of the city mayor of San Francisco – Mayor Gavin Newsom, pronouncing November 25, 2006, as the “Ginoong Pilipinas-USA Day” in San Francisco.

The grand winner’s court include: 1st runner-up - Jay-Ar Ignacio (Delano, CA); 2nd runner-up – Ingel Catindig (Milpitas, CA); 3rd runner-up (also won the special award – Ginoo of the Crowd) Henry Lee (Daly City, CA); 4th runner-up – Scott Cliffton (Madison, WI).

On Friday (November 24), a day before the main event, preliminary judging was held at the Holiday Inn (Civic Center) for the special awards. Winners for these categories were announced the following day: Best in Barong - Michael Medina (Los Angeles, CA); Best in Formal – Mark Tomas (Honolulu, Hawaii); Best in Swimwear – Mark Figueroa (Chicago, Il); Mr. Popularity – Ralph Edward Gauna (El Sobrante, CA); Mr. Photogenic – Michael Montalban (San Francisco, CA); Mr. Congeniality – Erwin Macasarte (Las Vegas, Nevada).

Judges for the main winners this year include a roster of movers and shakers in the Asian-American communities from different states. Among them are: Rose Chung (President of Miss Asian-America); Jing Monsanto (Director, PJ Monsanto Foundation); Alvin Paris (correspondent, Mabuhay Beauties); Chanh Pham (Producer, Miss Little Saigon); Bong Prada Lim (Fashion Stylist and Los Angeles’ Patron of the Arts); Bradford Adkins (Adkins World Travel); Ram Puno (Producer, Model Search Intl.); Tony Vizmonte (publisher, Celebrity Chronicle); Noel Rominque (publisher, Philippine Headlines); Jason Chan (representative from the SFO mayor’s office); Dave Tiu (producer, Hataw Pinoy in Chicago, Il.); and Chairman of the Board – Mr. Ferdie Villar (Asian Journal Publications’ entertainment editor – SFO edition).

Entertainment was provided by international recording artist Dessa (who received a standing ovation after her performance!) with local San Francisco-based artists Clementine Dimacali, former Next Phaze member - Jay Ricz, and Pinoy Pop Superstars candidates: Karissa Campos, Matthew Lee, and Joyce Buensuceso.

The show, directed by Epee Rafanan and line-produced by Rina Alcantara, was hosted by former Ginoong Pilipinas-USA 2006 2nd runner-up winner Jerald Mutia with Miss Asian-America 2006 titleholder Jennifer Field; actress Giovanni Pico with Ginoong Pilipinas-USA 2005 winner January Reclosado; Peachy Matias and Tita Aida.

Special guests were movie actress Juliana Palermo (presenter for the grand winners) and last year’s winner – Ginoong Pilipinas 2006, Chris Friel, who gave his farewell speech and also headed the much applauded swimwear competition.

Browse more photos from the 4th annual Ginoong Pilipinas-USA at Photo Gallery.