16 February 2009

Miss Earth 2008: The opportunity and experience of a lifetime

Endings are always bittersweet. It was a delight to return home to see familiar faces and sleep in my own bed, but having to say goodbye to all the ladies and staff that shared in everything I did for almost a month was definitely difficult.

So what happened during those 3 and a half weeks? We had jam-packed days that started at 5 a.m., and ended at 1 a.m. Our activities in a single day would range from tree-planting to visiting schools, and then attending formal evening events. We did a lot of work, and got to participate in some fun events – fashions shows and photo shoots. The most important, however, were the various conferences and television interviews that allowed us to speak about our countries, our culture, and the environmental issues and solutions that were important to us.

The trip was very educational – and I truly enjoyed learning of the different delegates’ countries and environmental work. We had seminars and opportunities to speak to specialists in different fields, regarding their work from an environmental perspective – and we visited cities across the Philippines to see what kind of efforts were being done there.

One of the cities that remains special to me is Puerto Princesa, on the Island of Palawan. The city is known as the “City within a forest” for its excellent maintenance of its terrain and vegetation. It is also the location of one of the nominations for the new “Seven Wonders of the World” list -the subterranean river. What makes this underground river so unique is that it is the world’s longest navigable underground river, and we delegates had the opportunity to take a canoe ride to marvel at its beauty.

While there, we encouraged people to vote for it as one of the new Seven Wonders – and voting can still be done at www.new7wonders.com Aside from its stunning landscapes, Puerto Princesa holds a special place in my heart because I was awarded the title of Miss Puerto Princesa 2008 – an award given to the best final answer of the top 5 contestants in the swimsuit competition.

As for the final results, one of my good friends from the pageant – Karla Henry, Miss Philippines – won the title of Miss Earth 2008. I am proud of her accomplishment and I know she will be a great environmental ambassador. I did not make the semi-finals, but that is no disappointment. I still bring home a title, and most importantly, many great memories, knowledge and friendships, and a friend told me that the impression I left in the Philippines as Miss Earth Canada was as a “go-getter, smart, energetic and a well-rounded person.” I think this is a winning impression for Canada.

It doesn’t end here. I still have the title of Miss Earth Canada to fulfill, until next August. There are events that I am already booked for, including attending the Miss Eart United States Pageant in July, the launch of my evening gown designer’s line (ULTRA) in February, and the judging of the Miss North Ontario Pageant in May. Most importantly, I will continue to represent Miss Earth by being a “Green lifestyle” role model and environmental advocate.

Author: Denise Garrido
Bradford Times