The women of Red Poinsettia

Mrs. Poinsettia Ball Queen 2022 Cecille Skala

Cecille Magsino Skala was crowned Mrs. Poinsettia Ball Queen 2022 at the Red Poinsettia Grand Ball held December 4 at the tony Leonard’s Palazzo.

As a titleholder and longtime supporter of Nena Lozada Smith’s Red Poinsettia Charitable Foundation, Inc. Cecille knows how to show her appreciation. She had the Christmas flower tattooed on her navel close to her C-section. It goes to show, she said, how much certain things mean to her: The surgical scar to remind her of the joy of giving birth to her son Christopher, and the poinsettia to symbolize the organization’s mission to help underprivileged families in the Philippines.

“This is not for fame and glory,” she said of her title when interviewed by The FilAm. “Hindi ito koro-korona lang.” 

She said the Red Poinsettia humanitarian mission has kept her going at a time when she was looking for something meaningful in her life. The title made her feel proud and empowered.

Salve Queening is Mrs. Red Poinsettia’s Beacon of Hope and Light

Born in Tanauan, Batangas-born Cecille graduated from FEU and worked as a medical technologist. She migrated to Germany and, later, Sweden where she opened  the first Filipino-Scandinavian restaurant. It was her legacy, she said, to introduce traditional  Filipino cuisine to Swedish society.  She pursued her profession and became a cytotechnologist who examines cellular abnormalities. She also worked as a biological engineer in Oslo, Norway.  

In Sweden where she lived for more than 30 years, she dabbled in real estate. She left for the U.S. to start a new life and embark on a career as an entrepreneur. She currently resides in Las Vegas because she wanted to get back into real estate and become an entrepreneur in medical health and hospice care.

Salve Wong Queening is this year’s Mrs. Red Poinsettia Beacon of Hope and Light.

Salve, 63, who enjoys being with friends across the Tri-State of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, wore a red two-piece gown beaded at the top with a shimmery long skirt. At Red Poinsettia events, everyone wears all shades of red — whether they’re  in a gown, a cocktail dress or a business suit. More than 300 guests attended the December 4 ball, the first time it was held on a Saturday. 

“I’m so happy,” said Salve who lives in Milford, Connecticut with her husband John.  

Ladies in red with Deputy Consul General Arman Talbo (in dark suit), Nena Lozada Smith. Patriarch and Matriarch Hugo and Flor Gomez.  Next to Talbo is Carmen Conseur
The Red Poinsettia Classic Women of Elegance 2022

Born in San Fernando, Masbate, Salve came to the U.S. in 2001. She met her now-husband John three years later at a Filipino party.  “He is very understanding and supportive,” she said.

An energetic community leader, Salve was  “so delighted to support the prestigious Red Poinsettia Charitable Foundation, Inc.,” founded by Nena Smith, which sends  annual medical and humanitarian missions to the Philippines to help the less fortunate. Before she came to the U.S., she was a business woman in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental who ran a home decor and furniture store and a merchandise  boutique.  

She said meeting women like Nena has inspired her to become active in the community. She was past president of the Filipino Women’s Club of Connecticut, which has supported many of her fundraising galas over the years. At present, she is the branch president of the Connecticut Care Share Foundation, under the umbrella of the New York Phil-Am Lions Club led by Raymond and Nena Smith.  — Photos by Joros Razon and Nonoy Rafael      

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