MANILA, Philippines -- A Cebu-based model was crowned Ms Earth 2008 Sunday night at the Clark Expo Amphitheater in Pampanga.
If in last year?s pageant the country failed to even get a crack at the semifinals, Karla Paula Henry took home the Swarovski crystal-encrusted crown in the eighth edition of the international contest -- becoming the first Filipino and Asian woman to win in the Philippine-based pageant. She inherited the title from 2007 winner, Jessica Trisko from Canada.
Henry beat 84 other international delegates. She was also proclaimed Miss Photogenic based on votes cast by photographers and media scribes in an earlier program. She took home the $20,000-prize from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), a round-trip business class trip to any United States destination via Korean Air and other prizes.
Miriam Odemba of Tanzania placed second and was proclaimed Miss Earth-Air. Brazil?s Tatiane Alvez was Miss Earth-Water (third place) while Best in Swimsuit winner Abigail Elizalde of Mexico was Miss Earth-Fire (fourth place). They each received $2,000 also from PAGCOR.
As Miss Earth, Henry will push the pageant?s advocacy of environmental protection to other parts of the world.
During the question-and-answer round, the top four delegates were asked what environmental issue they would discuss with Barack Obama if given the opportunity to meet the US president-elect.
Henry said she would encourage Obama to incorporate environmental education in the school curriculum in the US. She added other countries, including the Philippines, must do the same to ensure that the youth will have sufficient knowledge in caring for Mother Earth. Her response was punctuated by a thundering applause from the audience.
Her victory last Sunday is also a personal vindication for Henry, who last March was shut out of the Binibining Pilipinas semifinals. The pageant selects the country?s representatives to the Miss Universe, Miss World, and Miss International beauty pageants.
She later joined the rival pageant Miss Philippines-Earth in May and handily won the title as one of the heavy favorites, along with fellow Binibini castoff Kristel Lazaro who placed third.
Sunday night?s pageant was telecast over ABS-CBN nationwide, and will be seen in countries in Asia, North America, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania through The Filipino Channel (TFC).