Courtesy of: The Morning News
ORANJESTAD — Since the 2014 Carnival is Aruba’s 60th anniversary of this distinctive cultural manifestation, the Stichting Arubaanse Carnaval, (Aruba Carnival Foundation,) -SAC, which organizes and administrates over the many carnival events, wished to add one to the calendar that depicts the island’s cultural diversity and harmony.
During Aruba’s Diamond Jubilee Grand Queen Pageant on Friday, February 21, the island witnessed the crowning of Aruba’s first Multicultural Queen, Christina Marie Solijon, from the Philippines.
The first Multicultural Queen Pageant was initially scheduled for yesterday evening, February 24. It was intended to allow all the various nationalities and ethnicities living on Aruba to showcase their beautiful and talented people.
Unfortunately, as with many things in life, it is often slow going when making a drastic change, and initial reaction was limited, but sufficient to continue planning the event. However, the expense and time required to prepare costumes, gowns and a show also proved prohibitive for those interested in participating.
Christina Marie Solijon, however, though born in the Philippines and living in Aruba for only eight months, is a “true Carnivalista at heart,” declared Honorary Philippine Consul to Aruba Ami Henriquez-Mendez. “Ever since her uncle, the consulate’s Cultural Officer Paul de la Cruz, showed her pictures of Aruba’s Carnival while she still lived back in the Philippines, she was taken with the concept and enthusiastically wanted to participate.”
Christina, who works at the Dr. Horacio E. Oduber Hospital, once coming to live on Aruba was eager to participate in all the carnival events she could, and joined a group for the Torch Parade, which opens the season.
She was thrilled to be the Filipino candidate for what was supposed to be a full-blown pageant and coronation, but when all others contenders withdrew. Undeterred, she was happy to take the crown and perform her show during the final queen selection.
Aruba’s first Multicultural Carnival Queen is a stunning young lady with determination and charisma; worthy of the crown. She will be among the island queens adorning some of the beautiful floats that will make their way through Oranjestad’s streets this coming Sunday for the final grand parade, the last of this Diamond Jubilee Carnival.
“We sincerely hope to see this event become a regular part of the Aruba carnival calendar,” commented Filipino Consul Henriquez-Mendez. “We are very proud of Christina; she is a rare find with great beauty and heart, while fully embracing her adopted Aruban homeland and its culture.” Christina and the Consul expressed particular gratitude to her steadfast Aruban friends who came forward to help her prepare and participate in these events, providing her with a warm welcome to the island community.