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Aug 16, 2000

Salvadoran wins Costa Maya crown

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On some assignments for this newscast reporters must brave wind, rain, heat, mud, insects and even deadly snakes. Fortunately, the story I covered last night in San Pedro involved none of these perils and the only danger I faced was that of drinking too many Pina Coladas. Somehow, I managed to survive…and so did several thousand others.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Under a full moon, The Fifth Miss Costa Maya International Pageant got underway Tuesday night in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Five beautiful women representing the Mundo Maya countries of El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize competed for the prestigious title.

For the past week, the young ladies have been rehearsing and getting to know one another. We caught up with some of the contestants as they were getting ready for the pageant.

Sandra Glower Silis, Miss El Salvador

“Well, I am feeling anxious, nervous, a lot of emotions at the same time. I just want this to be over right now.”

Cindy Margo Ramirez Lopez, Miss Honduras

“I feel very happy. I am so proud to be here representing my country. I hope you come and clap for all of us because we need it.”

Valeria De Anda Gonzalez, Miss Mexico

“I feel very excited and I am happy too.”

Jacqueline Woods

“You’re not suffering with a cold or anything, I heard you sniffling?”

Valeria De Anda Gonzalez

“Actually I am sick, very sick, but I’m fine.”

This year, the pageant committee worked hard to make sure that the show would run as smoothly as possible and that the crowd would be kept entertained.

Marisa Salazar, Pageant Coordinator

“It promises to be very fun filled, we’ve put a lot of work into it. The choreographers, Rosita Baltazar and Malcolm Hitchcock, have really done a great job. I am sure that everybody will enjoy this and will remember this pageant.”

The event was well attended and the ladies did their best to capture the hearts of the judges and the crowd. Backstage it was just as intense.

The committee made sure that both presenters and contestants were ready for the stage. The women appeared in their cultural wear, swimsuits and evening gowns. There was even a question and answer segment.

Marisa Salazar

“At this time whoever wins right now is not important to them. They take back great memories of San Pedro and Belize and like Denise said when she came back, “I wanted this hold year to pass by so quickly, because I wanted to come back to San Pedro.”

However, there can only be one Miss Costa Maya. The crowd and the contestants waited anxiously for the judge’s decision…and then came the announcement.

Master of Ceremonies

“Miss El Salvador.”

(Miss El Salvador being hugged by contestants.)

Sandra Glower Silis

“I couldn’t believe it. I have a bunch of feelings inside of me that I cannot express. I feel so, so happy. I haven’t felt like this in a long, long time, you people have made me so happy. I am so grateful to all of you.”

It could not have been a better night for Miss El Salvador as she won the pageant on the night her country was featured on the opening of Costa Maya Festival 2000.

Eiden Salazar, Chairman, Costa Maya Committee

“Costa Maya depicts the Central American countries. It brings us together in one place, La Isla Bonita, San Pedro celebrating our richness, which is the Mayan culture.

Jacqueline Woods

“How long has the festival been going on and do you think it gets better every year or are you all struggling at this point in time?”

Eiden Salazar

“This is our ninth annual Costa Maya festival. It started as Sea and Air and yes, every year we struggled. We struggle financially, but this year we have been very happy because we receive more sponsorship than the previous years and tonight it shows.”

But no one could be more happy with the first night’s turnout and show than area representative, Patty Arceo.

Patty Arceo, Area Representative, Belize Rural South

“I’ve always said Costa Maya is not just something about San Pedro. It is just putting a little grain to ensure that Belize gets the publicity that it merits so much. Mundo Maya, Costa Maya, our Maya legacy is so broad, it is so beautiful. We need to know more about it an appreciate it, so that we can take it internationally and make it our little forum to market Belize, so that we can have more tourists coming and at the same time, develop our economy more.”

Tonight is Guatemala night. The fun and dancing continues with a number of cultural presentations and the music of the popular Guatemalan band, Apollo.

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