Miss Earth beauty queens read about Nature to kids | Inquirer News
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Miss Earth beauty queens read about Nature to kids

READ-ALONG BEAUTIES Children raise hands to answer a question from 2011 Miss Philippines-Earth Athena Imperial (fourth from left) during the Inquirer Read-Along session. With her are her court Jonavi Quiray (Air), Muriel Orais (Water), Tarhata Rico (Ecotourism) and Michelle Gavagan (Fire). RODEL ROTONI

In hell or high water, they didn’t disappoint.

Heavy rains and floods did not stop reigning Miss Earth beauty queens from here and abroad from trooping to the Inquirer on Saturday morning to stress the importance of environmental protection.

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In an Inquirer Read-Along session, Miss Earth 2010 Nicole Faria read “Sa Bakawan (In the Mangrove Forest)” with fellow title holders, Miss Water Watsaporn Wattanakoon and Miss Air Victoria Shchukina, before an audience of about 60 children.

Winners of the 2011 Miss Philippines Earth pageant, led by Miss Philippines-Earth Athena Imperial, kicked off the session with a brief presentation on the environmental hazards posed by plastics.

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Imperial was assisted by Miss Philippines-Air Jonavi Quiray, Miss Philippines-Water Muriel Orais, Miss Philippines-Fire Michelle Gavagan and Miss Philippines-Ecotourism Tarhata Rico, who used photos and handmade puppets to illustrate the dangers of improper disposal of plastic wastes.

“Sa Bakawan,” a story about mangroves and the threats they face from pollution and mishandled solid waste, was authored by Miss Earth Foundation executive director Cathy Untalan, former Miss Philippines-Ecotourism Reena Sarmiento and children’s writer Mae Astrid Tobias.

The book was published by Adarna House and the Miss Earth Foundation.

Returning storyteller Dyali Justo read Adarna’s “Isang Mayang Uhaw” by Victoria Añonuevo, a story about a resourceful bird who finds a way to drink water from a glass.

The Miss Earth beauties were no strangers to working with children as they had also participated in similar activities in their hometowns.

“Today’s kids are very smart and disciplined and they can grasp information really well,” Faria noted.

Hailing from India, Faria had also engaged in volunteer work as a teacher in her hometown. “I’m going to use this experience as a motivational tool when I get back home. I’d tell our kids there, ‘You know the kids in Manila? They were so behaved and participative.’ I hope that inspires them.”

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Braving floods

Wattanakoon, the titlist from Thailand, had the same observation: “The children were very participative. They really impressed me. I hope the kids back in Thailand can be this confident, too.”

“I loved today’s session,” said Shchukina, a Russian. “I wish we could do it again.”

The children braved the early morning rain and floods to make it to the Inquirer main office in Makati City for the session. Among them were 18 wards from the Virlanie Foundation’s Tanglaw Home, also in Makati.

“We really make it a point to bring the children to the read-along sessions so that they will be encouraged to read. But because of the rains this morning, we initially thought it would be best to skip today’s session,” said their guardian Salve Bance-Coloma.

The children, however, “complained,” she said. “They insisted on attending the session despite the weather.”

Eight-year-old Erika Rueda expressed her resolve: “We really wanted to come because we always enjoy the sessions.”

“We get to read new stories, meet celebrities and learn new things. Today, I learned how to conserve water and how to dispose of trash properly,” Rueda said.

Twelve-year-old Ma. Sofia Garong of Pasig Elementary School was at first reluctant to go to the session because of the rains and heavy traffic.

Worth the trouble

“It was worth it. I really enjoyed the experience,” Garong said after overcoming her fears and making it to the Inquirer. “The stories taught me a lot of lessons. I learned to be more concerned about climate change.”

Garong came with regular Inquirer Read-Along partner Digna Aquino of the Library Hub in Pasig, along with other students from Palatiw Elementary School and Pasig Elementary School.

Patrice Cabug, a Grade 6 student from Palatiw, said she was “surprised that the session turned out to be fun.”

“I have always loved to read but I particularly liked the Miss Earth readers. They really know how to relate to kids,” Cabug, who considered herself a bookworm, said.

Hosted by Junior Inquirer editor in chief Ruth Navarra, the July 30 session was held in cooperation with Cathy Untalan and the Miss Earth Foundation.

Giveaways

Reusable bags courtesy of Envirosax and books courtesy of Vibal Publishing were also given away as prizes during the question-and-answer portion.

The children also received some 2,000 books donated by the Rotary Club of Makati. Club secretary Francis Macatulad, past president Pepito Bengzon, director Aiai Galvez and Gary Quemado handed over the books.

Saturday’s read-along session capped a series of such sessions held in July, which included 14 simultaneous sessions at SM malls nationwide on July 19 in celebration of National Children’s Book Day and a special session with “handi-capable” artists at Rizal Park on July 16.

On July 9, children’s show host Tonipet Gaba read a story to around 40 children in a session marked by the first commercial appearance of mascots from the children’s show “Sabadabadog.”

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TAGS: Adarna House, beauty queens, Books, Children, Miss Earth Foundation, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Daily Inquirer's (PDI) Read-Along program
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