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Regions VIII and VII garnered their first victories as their candidates won the Mr. and Ms. Palarong Pambansa 2008 titles, respectively, in a pageant held at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum, April 20.
Seventeen-year-old Jiovanni Alonzo, a consistent honor student and a basketball player of the Tacloban Angelicum Learning Center bested 12 other candidates in the pageant that lasted until the early hours of Monday morning.
Alonzo, who appeared in a pintados festival outfit of Tacloban City during the opening presentation, won the Best in Regional Costume award. He also grabbed the Best in Filipiniana Attire and Best in Talent awards earlier in the competition.
Other winners in the male category were Jose Renato Unso (National Capital Region), first runner-up and Mr Photogenic and Francisco Lucas Fulgui (Region XII), second runner-up. Audrey Joseph Taylan (Central Luzon), Jan Cyril Guzman (Western Visayas) and Rafael Castro (Calabarzon) were the other finalists.
Proclaimed Ms. Palarong Pambansa 2008 was 13 year-old Eva Psychee Patalijug of Lapu-lapu City. She also received the awards for Best in Filipiniana Attire and Best in Regional Costume through her Sinulog Queen outfit. Also a consistent top student, she awed the audience during the question and answer competition when she mentioned the five core values of an athlete.
Patalijug outwitted Desiree Brigitte Balatero of Eastern Visayas, also Best in Sportswear and Ms. Photogenic and Clariss Faith Layacan of Mimaropa, first and second runners-up, respectively. Other finalists were Andre Ann Arevalo (Calabarzon), Klaudine Joyce Legazpi (Central Luzon) and Precious Que (National Capitol Region).
Other special awardees were Rafael Castro (Calabarzon), Best in Sportswear and Candy Ortega (Caraga) Ms. Talent.
Dep-Ed Center for Students and Co-curricular Affairs Executive Director Joey Pelaez headed the board of judges with Puerto Princesa City Councilor Rebecca Labit, Mutya ng Palawan runner-up Isabelita Dumdum, talent manager John Edward dela Vega and Mr. Puerto Princesa 2007Arthur Baldosano as members.
Jiovanni Alonzo
Nickname: Van-van, Birth date: November 3, 1991, Birthplace: Palo, Region: VIII – Eastern Visayas, Events: Basketball.
Eva Psychee Patalijug
Nickname: Eva or Psychee, Birth Date: April 22, 1994, Birth Place: Cebu City, Height: 5’ 7\", Weight: 52kgs, Vital Statistics: 33-24-34, Region: VII – Central Visayas, School: Saint Dominic Savio School, Event: Taekwondo

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