It was a great way to start the week as eight candidates from the highly anticipated Miss Earth beauty pageant visited The Manila Times office on April 7 to talk about their personal advocacies on saving the Mother Earth.
The annual competition is always a breath of fresh air in the beauty pageant scene as ladies of beauty and grace vie for the title of “the only pageant with proactive advocacy in saving the environment.”
With 48 candidates representing different municipalities nationwide, the eight ladies who came to The Times to represent their batch unanimously agreed that they all “got along great,” and even help each other in the pre-pageant activities.
Just a month away from coronation night for the 14th edition of Miss Philippines Earth, the ladies share that they are in the thick of pageant training and environmental lectures.
They identified mining as one of the biggest environmental threats in the country today.
First who spoke at the roundtable interview with the Lifestyle staff is 25-year old beauty Monique Manuel from Dinalupihan, Bataan. Her environmental advocacy centers on the consumption of organic food and use of naturally made materials.
“It is a three-pronged campaign on the economy, in agriculture and the environment,” she elaborated.
Manuel’s battle cry is “Go organic, save the planet,” and yes, she practices what she preaches, as she only eats organic food and cooks with all-natural ingredients.
Manuel first joined the pageant in 2009 and worked as a host for the Filipino-American channel, TFC.
Standing at 5’11,” the towering Kimberly Covert from Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental is captivating with her fair complexion and long stems. This 19-year old is a student of Silliman University, who enrolled in a business course but eventually took up music to pursue her passion in playing the guitar.
She campaigns for “sanitation awareness,” which she describes as “one of the biggest problems here in the Philippines.” Based on personal experience, the dumpsite near her hometown in Dumaguete heavily affects the environment, and even destroyed the bird sanctuary that once stood beside the site. Covert aims to “give awareness to people of higher positions of the garbage situation the country is facing today.”
Shaimaa Al Najjar of Rosario, Northern Samar shared that Super Typhoon Yolanda had affected her family. While she is based in Manila pursuing a career in modeling and in show business, some of her family members were not spared of the tragedy.
Since these natural catastrophes are said to be caused by environmental effects of climate change and global warming, this 24-year-old pushes for “environmental awareness that would reach the farthest communities from north to south.”
Al Najjar was a third year medical technology student at Centro Escolar University before joining ABS-CBN’s Star Magic.
From Sta. Rita, Pampanga, Angelie Crizelle Ocampo is a “chinita” beauty who advocates “proper waste disposal.” The 20-year old Tourism graduate is proud that her municipality practices the “no plastic” policy. Before joining the pageant, she was a senate staffer working under Senator Lito Lapid.
Leslie Ann Pine represents the municipality of San Leonardo in Nueva Ecija.
Although this 20-year-old grew up in California, USA, going back to her hometown in Nueva Ecija brought back memories of playing in the clear river waters. However, the river of her youth is now polluted with trash and heavily affected by dynamite fishing, making “segregation for clean rives” her main advocacy.
Interestingly, Pine was an account executive of Harley Davidson motorcycles in the United States before joining the pageant.
Diane Querrer from Tanauan City in Batangas is a second-timer in the Miss Earth pageant. She joined the competition in 2011 and is trying out her luck again this year.
Her advocacy to promote her city as an eco-tourism destination is her dream and advocacy.
“I would like tourists to explore and get acquainted with the beautiful sites Tanauan has to offer,” Qurrer enthused.
The 25-year-old beauty is a graduate of Business and is now pursuing a second degree in Mass Communication.
With a hoarse voice, Jaime Herrell from Cebu City managed to give an impressive introduction despite being ill on the day of the visit. The 19-year-old Acting student from the International Academy of Film and Television (IAFT) in Cebu describes herself as a “tree hugger.”
She advocates for individuals to “go back to basics and save the environment.”
Herrell envisions Filipinos to be more environmentally conscious by making small steps such as walking to school, driving small cars or riding bicycles to get around, and doing away with plastic straws for drinks to save the Earth from further destruction.
Finally, Cesdianne Daung from Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay is a 19-year-old who has survived the military threats that have long affected her hometown.
She narrated how her neighborhood would hear gunshots just at the back of their homes, as well as the current situation of residents in her municipality.
She advocates for a “clean environment,” focusing on anti-pollution and reduction of carbon emissions.
The coronation night of Miss Philippines-Earth will be held on May 11 at the Mall of Asia Arena.