BACK-TO-BACK VICTORY FOR THE PHILIPPINES Angelia Ong of Manila receives the 2015 Miss Earth crown from last year’s winner, Jamie Herrell of Cebu, in a back-to-back victory for the Philippines in the pageant’s 15th edition at Marx Halle in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday night. Ong bested contestants from more than 80 countries. PHOTO FROM THE MISS EARTH TWITTER PAGE
EVEN ON foreign soil, the Philippines managed to make history in the Miss Earth beauty pageant, scoring the first back-to-back victory by a country in the contest’s 15-year run.
Manila’s Angelia Ong received her title as 2015 Miss Earth from last year’s winner, Cebu’s Jamie Herrell, in the ceremonies held on Saturday night (Sunday in Manila) at Marx Halle in Vienna, Austria—the first time the pageant was held in Europe.
The Miss Earth pageant has been held mostly in the Philippines. Its first overseas edition was in 2010 in Nha Trang, Vietnam.
It was set for staging in Bangkok, in 2011, but massive floods in the Thai capital prompted the organizer Carousel Productions to bring the pageant back home.
Ong bested 85 delegates from around the world to snag the Philippines’ second consecutive victory, and third title. Karla Paula Henry was the first Filipino to win the crown in 2008 in Pampanga.
Most number of winners
The Philippines now has the most number of winners in the contest, followed by Brazil and Venezuela with two each.
But unlike her predecessor who topped almost all preliminary competitions in the 2014 contest held in the Philippines, Ong had a relatively slow start in the Vienna pageant.
She placed second in her subgroup’s Miss Friendship race, and third in her subgroup’s evening gown contest.
Ong made up for it with her performance on pageant night, and impressed the judges in the final question-and-answer round.
‘All things possible’
When asked to come up with a slogan for the pageant’s next 15 years, Ong said: “We will, because we can.”
She added: “I want to let everybody know that all things are possible, and all things are feasible if we work together.”
Among this year’s judges were Catharina Svensson Brink, the pageant’s first winner; Diana Alando Oyugi, the president of the United Nations Women’s Guild in Vienna; and Dick Gommer, the former country director of the UN Industrial Development Organization and coowner of Global Water Engineering.
They were joined by personalities in the entertainment and fashion industries.
Australia’s Dayanna Grageda was proclaimed Miss Earth-Air, Brittany Payne of the United States was Miss Earth-Water, while the Miss Earth-Fire title went to Thiessa Sickert from Brazil.
In an earlier interview, Ong told the Inquirer: “The crown deserves to go to the Philippines again. I have the right mind and spirit, and I’m ready to face the challenges that come with the crown. I believe I’m the right person to inspire and educate people on how they can help preserve and protect the environment.”
The 25-year-old marketing management student at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde said she hoped to use the crown as a platform to participate in the current United Nations climate change conference in Paris.
“We planted 21 trees on Nov. 9 to serve as a countdown for the climate change conference. If the Lord grants me the crown, I am willing to take part in the biggest conference on climate change. It’s also the theme of Miss Earth 2015,” Ong said earlier.
‘Perfect for Miss Earth’
The Miss Earth pageant is seeking a global spokesperson for the protection of the environment.
In an earlier interview, Carousel project director Peachy Veneracion said the 2015 edition was special because “Austria is a first world country, ecotourism-friendly. It promotes sustainable living, aware of climate change. It is perfect for Miss Earth.”
She said more countries had signified their intention to host the contest in the coming years.