After four jampacked weeks of activities, a 22-year-old psychology graduate from San Juan, Puerto Rico, bested other 84 delegates to win Miss Earth 2019 at the end of the coronation night held on Saturday, 26 October at luxurious The Cove, Okada Manila.
Reigning Miss Earth 2018 Vietnam’s Nguyen Phuong Khanh crowned Nellys Pimentel, the first Puerto Rican to win the crown.
Her win made Puerto Rico the fourth country overall to win all the Big Four beauty pageants (Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International and Miss Earth).
Khanh’s victory last year was the first for Vietnam not only in Miss Earth but also in other major international pageants. Reigning elemental queens Melanie Mader of Austria and Valeria Ayos of Colombia joined Khanh to crown the elemental winners.
Twenty-three-year-old model and graduate assistant teaching introduction to communication, USA’s Emanii Davis is Miss Earth — Air.
Biology and chemistry student, Czech Republic’s Klara Vavruskova, 20, is now Miss Earth — Water and 24-year-old model and SMM specialist Belarus’ Alisa Manenok is Miss Earth — Fire.
The Philippines’ Janelle Tee, who finished in the top 20, was aiming to win the Philippines’ fifth title, joining the rosters of Karen Ibasco (2017), Angelia Ong (2015), Jamie Herrell (2014) and Karla Henry (2008).
Just like Tee, Ghana’s Evelyn Appiah another local favorite failed to advance to the top 10.
The top four finalists were asked the same question: “There are many people, including some notable international leaders, who still don’t believe in climate change. How would you convince them of the seriousness of this problem?”
Pimentel responded by saying, “I would have to say that addressing this issue of people not believing in climate change is more of a matter of lack of education and not only a lack of education but also the ignorance and not wanting to inform themselves of the fact that we are living in a planet that is our biggest home, and we have taken advantage of it instead of putting back what it is giving to us. Making notable leaders and a lot of influencers engage with themselves and become better people is the most important thing to do.”
CNN Philippines’ anchor and award-winning automotive journalist James Deakin returned as host for the third time. The two-hour show also featured special performance by Grammy award nominee R & B singer and songwriter Shontelle who graced the Miss Earth stage for the second time and also became part of the judging panel.
The rest of the judges for the pageant coronation night and live telecast include Dr. Jikyeong Kang (president and dean, Asian Institute of Management, MVP chair of Marketing); Cecile Guidote-Alvarez (Philippine Educational Theater Association founder); renowned Filipino theater actor Leo Valdez; Carousel Productions executive vice president Lorraine Schuck; Environmentalist, travel blogger and ABS-CBN’s G Diaries host Ernie Lopez; and Environmental activist and incumbent Mayor of Loreto, Agusan del Sur Lorife Magadan-Otaza. Prior to the grand coronation, the delegates went through three preliminary judging rounds where they were evaluated based on figure and form, beauty of face and poise, and intelligence and environmental awareness. It was a tough call for the respective panel of judges in each round as the delegates showed how competitive they were.
The 85 delegates were divided into three groups — fire, water and air — and were involved in tree planting, ecological projects, coastal cleanup, school tours, radio and television appearances and seminars, as well as courtesy visits to partner organizations and government official.
The highlight of the tour was the fire group’s visit to Cavite and Batangas on Tuesday, 8 October.
The first stop was Barangay Patungan in Maragondon, Cavite where the group together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and farmers and agriculturists from DV Boer farm launched the deployment of artificial habitat for sustainable marine fisheries by planting jackstone artificial reef.
They signed a manifesto of support to the preservation of marine ecology to ensure food security not only for this generation but also for the next Filipino generation. The following day, the group visited the 11-hectare DV Boer Farm situated in Lian, Batangas. It is a breeding haven of full-blood boer goats directly imported from Australia that receive optimum nutrition and are independent from commercial feeds.
“I decided to come home for good. I then began the propagation of agriculture-based socio-economic endeavor, initially by way of goat breeding and raising. With the common good foremost in my mind, I prepared myself for the expected greater challenge ahead as I strengthened my faith in the perfect guidance by the Divine Providence to get me through,” said DV Boer Farms CEO and founder Soliman Alaer “Dexter” Villamin Jr., who used to work in the pastry department of a Manila five-star hotel and an executive pastry chef in Bangkok, Thailand.
The 19th edition of the advocacy-driven pageant took on a floral theme to celebrate the national flowers of participating countries, some of which, unfortunately, are on the brink of extinction.
The theme was a reminder of how nature could be brought back to life if people from all walks of life would show genuine care for its protection and preservation.
This year’s batch was armed with passion and commanding presence not just their beauty.
As each delegate showcased the national flower of her country, they carried with them a positive attitude, vibe and message that nature can bloom once again if people would do their part to protect it.
This year’s pageant edition also promoted the #MEandMYTreeCampaign in light of the alarming calamities and the burning of the Amazon, Borneo and African rainforests which are considered as the lungs of the Earth.
Through the campaign, Miss Earth and its delegates encourage people in different parts of the world to plant a tree in their surroundings to alleviate the effects of these unfortunate incidents.
Miss Earth 2019 finals were aired live on Fox+ and in television networks in Latin America and streamed live on Miss Earth’s Facebook page, while Philippine local airing was on Sunday, 27 October, on ABS-CBN Sunday’s Best.
Photos by Alfonso Padilla