"I would encourage him to use the environment or to implement environmental knowledge in the curriculum of all schools," said Karla Henry, the country's representative when asked what she would tell newly-elected US president Barack Obama if she were given the chance to talk to the world leader.


 

 

Photo: Noel Orsal


Karla Paula Henry, the country's representative for the Ms Earth pageant was crowned as Ms Earth 2008. She won over Ms Tanzania, Miriam Odemba who was chosen as Ms Earth Air.

The young Cebuana lass bested 84 other contestants at the coronation held at Casino Filipino in the Clark Expo Amphitheater in Pampanga. Ms Mexico, Abigail Elizalde Romo was Miss Earth Water and Tatiane Alves of Brazil was hailed Ms Earth Fire.

The show was hosted by international singer Billy Crawford, together with Riza Santos, who represented Canada in the 2006 edition Ms Earth and Priscilla Meirelles Almeda, Ms Earth 2004 winner who represented Brazil.

The candidates of Miss Earth had been touring the Philippines and creating environmental awareness among Filipinos and millions of people in other countries.

Before the pageant proper began, the winners of the special prizes were announced. Karla Henry had claimed her prize as Miss Photogenic. Ms Panama, Shassia Ubillús, was hailed best in national costume. Ms Mexico was best in Swimsuit. Venezuela's Daniela Torrealba was best in long gown. Ms Australia was best in talent Andrea Carolina León of Ecuador was chosen as Miss Friendship.

The coronation proper began when the 85 contestants were then whittled down to 16. The line-up called representatives from Mexico, Spain, Thailand, Poland, Brazil, Philippines, Nigeria, Czech Republic, Colombia, Romania, USA, Russia, Tanzania, Korea, Venezuela, and Switzerland.

The top 16 displayed their shapely figures in their swimsuits. From there, they were once again trimmed down to the final 8. Those called were Spain, Brazil, Tanzania, Philippines, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland.

The remaining candidates were elegant in the evening gown parade but only four had to be chosen to go on to the final round. And these were Mexico, Philippines, Brazil and Tanzania.

The clincher question for the pageant that host Billy Crawford asked, "If you had the chance to speak the newly-elected US president Barack Obama about the state of our global environment, what will you tell him?"

The 21-year old Karla Henry said, "For me, what I would tell the newly-elected president of the United States, being one of the most powerful countries in the world, I would encourage him to use the environment or to implement environmental knowledge in the curriculum of all schools, whether in the United States or in the Philippines. Environmental knowledge is something all of us must share. But most importantly, we must teach the youth for it something we should instill in them so that in the near future they will be the ones to take care of our mother earth. I firmly believe in the saying that the children are our future."

Her answer was greeted with cheers from the enthusiastic home audience.

Miss Earth, considered to be one of the three big beauty pageants in the world, is produced by Carousel Productions and broadcast on ABS-CBN last night, November 9.