Eco-friendly beauties in skimpy bikinis

By Nickie Wang/Manila Standard Today

15 May 2008

From being a thank-you girl in the Bb. Pilipinas 2008 beauty pageant, Karla Paula Henry, a 21-year-old guest services associate in a hotel in Cebu, won the coveted Miss Philippines-Earth title during the pageant’s night on Sunday at the Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila’s Grand Ballroom.

Karla, with her environmental message: “Be wise enough to use eco-friendly products, appliances and even vehicles to improve quality of our atmosphere,” emerged as the crowd favorite and bested 40 other delegates that had everyone in the ballroom drooling as they paraded in skimpy bikinis in the swimwear portion.

Melanie Felix, a 23-year-old Psychology student who came to join the pageant all the way from the US, was the first Miss Pagcor International Tourism Ambassadress, a title given for the first time in the pageant.

The other winners were Maria Venus Raj, of Legazpi City as Miss Philippines-Ecotourism; Kristelle Lazaro, of Candaba, Pampanga as Miss Philippines-Fire; Marian Michelle Oblea, of Obando ,Bulacan as Miss Philippines-Water; and Marie Razel Eguia, of Dipolog City as Miss Philippines-Air.

The new Miss Philippines-Earth was the choice of a board of judges composed of Earth Institute Asia president Dr. Corazon PB. Claudio, senior managing head of Pagcor Corporate Communication Dodie King, Asian GEM & Tourism Foundation and Cordyn Tours and Travel president Cecile Clemente, costume and fashion designer Eric Pineda, Crowne Plaza Galleria general manager Bridgitte Trattner, Korean Air regional manager Hong Jin, France’s Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Chesnel, TV host Kim Atienza, Ricky Reyes, and actress Anne Curtis.

This year’s pageant showcased several firsts.

Apart from a new beauty title, Miss Pagcor International Tourism, the winner of which has the duty to promote Philippine tourism abroad, it was also the first time that the contestants themselves acted as the interviewers in the question-and-answer portion of the competition’s semi-finals round. And, instead of holding regional competitions in the provinces and conducting screenings in Metro Manila as it was in the past years, Carousel Productions simply invited local government units to send their respective delegates.

For the other special awards, Miss Congeniality went to Jaydielou Dilidili (Indang, Cavite) while both the Miss Photogenic and Best in Swimsuit awards went to Filipino-American Nikki Martin; both the Miss Talent and Best in Long Gown awards went to Marian Michelle Oblea (of Obando); and the Best in Cultural Attire was won by Ma. Kristelle Lazaro (of Candaba).

Hosting booboos

Comparatively, the show wasn’t as spectacular as last year’s, but the female hosts Ginger Conejero and Nikki Gil were drop-dead gorgeous and did a good job. On the other hand, Rafael Rossel was dapper and we noticed the smile in every bejeweled member of the female gender whenever he was on stage.

The inexperienced Rafael committed several mistakes during the show, which actually started at 8 p.m. with a delayed telecast at 10 p.m. on ABS-CBN. The director had to do some retakes to rectify his errors. After the opening, Rafael stuttered several times complaining that he couldn’t read his lines from the teleprompter. Next, when he made the announcement for the winning delegate for the Best Cultural Attire Award, he referred to delegate from Candaba, Pampanga as Miss Municipality of Canada. Then he shuffled the names of the candidates during the Q and A in the semifinals round reading Miss Municipality of Obando twice. After that, he read “degradation” as “degration” five times during the final Q and A round. He read it properly only once for the last finalist. Finally, he bade goodbye inviting the audience to attend Miss Earth Day.

The winning question

The question for the final round was: “The lack of awareness is a primary reason why the degradation of our environment continues. If you win tonight, how will you teach the ignorant and the illiterate about the ill effects of global warming to our environment?”

Nervous yet was able to maintain her composure, the winning answer of Miss Cebu was: “How will I teach them? It’s very simple, I have a lot of idols with me which is Catherine Untalan and the previous winners who have already taught me in simple ways how to, uhm how to solve our environmental issues, and I would follow in their [foot] steps by maybe writing a book as they have, going to public schools teaching the young ones but most of all, I would encourage everyone in some little ways starting with my own little, starting with Cebu, to uhm to continue and be aware with our remaining pressing problems because we cannot solve one thing if we are not aware.”

That was the exact words of the new Miss Philippines-Earth. Now, it’s up to all of you to decipher that cryptic answer.

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