Gov sees future in politics for Miss Philippines-Earth
Fresh from her victory in the Miss Philippines-Earth pageant, University of the Philippines alumna Athena Imperial of Casiguran, Aurora, got a job offer from the governor of her province.
Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo invited the smart and articulate beauty queen to work for the provincial government, saying that Imperial “has the makings of a great political leader.”
Imperial, a Communication Research graduate of UP, bagged the 2011 Miss Philippines-Earth title, edging out nine other finalists in a two-hour spectacle staged at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum Sunday night. She will fly to Thailand in November to represent the country in the Miss Earth pageant.
Angara-Castillo went to Puerto Princesa City with a small contingent of five to watch the pageant. “I came here knowing that she would win, but firstly, to give her moral support. Every time I heard her speak, I said that one day she will become the governor of the province,” she told the Inquirer after the ceremonies.
Together with Imperial’s family and friends, the entire Aurora contingent totaled not more than 20. “So when I saw the other groups having balloons, having tarpaulins, I said it doesn’t matter. Outside appearances do not matter, because we are so confident of the solidity of the qualifications of our candidate. And you saw, especially in the question and answer round,” Angara-Castillo said.
During the final round, the top five candidates were asked if they thought the Philippines was ready to harness nuclear energy, given the fact that it is one of the cleanest sources of energy.
Imperial answered: The country should not consider nuclear energy because there are other viable alternatives such as hydroelectric, solar and wind which are far safer.
The governor told the Inquirer that she had talked to Imperial’s parents and planned a dance party to celebrate her victory during Casiguran’s town fiesta on June 12 and 13.
The UP alumna said she only expected to crack the top five but not win the main title. But now with the crown on her head, she said she can continue with her plans for the environment.
She said she would use her skills to “lead people and persuade the people to become warriors for the environment, just like us, the winners of Miss Philippines-Earth,” said Imperial, who was a semifinalist in the 2009 Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant.
The Miss Philippines-Earth contest, now on its 11th year, promotes environmental protection and seeks ambassadors of nature through pageantry.
Imperial, who works as a researcher for GMA NewsTV, was also proclaimed the “People’s Choice” for garnering the most number of votes in an online poll conducted on the social networking site Facebook.
Her fellow UP alumna, Tarhata Rico from Makati City, was judged Miss Philippines-Ecotourism.
Her title, Rico said, “serves as an opportunity for me to express my advocacy and represent the Miss Earth Foundation.”
Pageant veteran Jonavi Quiray, who was earlier proclaimed Best in Swimsuit and Best in Cocktail Dress, was named Miss Philippines-Air.
Quiray, an architecture student, won as Mutya ng Pilipinas when the pageant was held in Puerto Princesa City in 2008.
Crowd favorite Muriel Orais from Cebu City was named Miss Philippines-Water. The nursing student was earlier proclaimed Best in Casual Wear, Best in Amazon Wear and Miss Photogenic.
Michelle Gavagan from Las Piñas was crowned Miss Philippines-Fire.
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