MAKATI CITY, Philippines—Reigning Miss Philippines Earth Janelle Tee says the pageant is pursuing a virtual competition not only to adapt to the restrictions resulting from the government’s quarantine guidelines to address the COVID-19 pandemic, but likewise to continue its service to the Filipino people and Mother Earth.
“We believe, continuing our advocacy for the environment would contribute a lot to our wellbeing. Our advocacy for the environment is interconnected with everything, may it be for healthcare, our mental health, etc. which is very important most especially during this time of the pandemic,” Janelle told the Inquirer in an online interview.
“We’re making history as the first pageant to do it virtually. Yes, it is possible!” she said.
Carousel Productions initially scheduled the coronation ceremonies on May, but the quarantine restrictions pushed it to July.
After the face-to-face screening of applicants earlier this year, the successful aspirants embarked on a series of completely virtual preliminary competitions.
For the pre-pageant activities, the 33 official candidates stayed in their respective cities or provinces and participated through the Zoom online meeting platform.
All competitions were viewed live on the pageant’s official Facebook account, including the judging for the crucial categories which will help determine the semifinalists.
For the final ceremonies, the ladies will be parading from their own locations. The interview portion will take place real-time, with the judges giving their questions via Zoom from their own homes.
Janelle will not be able to physically relinquish her crown to her successor, though, and she will be delivering her farewell message virtually as well.
She told the Inquirer that she is hoping to pass on her title to “a woman who has the unrelenting ‘can do’ attitude. A queen who can fulfill the duties and responsibilities of a beauty title holder wholeheartedly.
And above all, a woman who has an authentic personality.
“The title has changed me in terms of setting a legacy for both beauty and responsibility. I’ve collaborated with different organizations for various advocacies. My voice is amplified because of this platform given to me and I will always be beyond grateful for that,” Janelle said.
Being Miss Philippines Earth, Janelle added, has been more than she could have ever imagined it would be.
“You have to be willing to unlearn and relearn, be adaptive, flexible and willing to do an all-around job as a beauty queen for the environment—from attending glamorous events, clean ups, tree planting, to adapting to the ‘new normal’ now.”
Janelle said representing the country “with pride and honor” in the 2019 Miss Earth pageant has been the most memorable moment of her reign.
She finished in the Top 20 in the global tilt hosted in the Philippines. Nellys Pimentel of Puerto Rico bested 84 other international delegates for the crown.
“I never imagined that I will ever be Miss Philippines Earth! It is truly a life changing experience. Nothing is truly impossible with God,” Janelle continued.
The purely virtual 2020 Miss Philippines Earth final competition will be telecast on GMA on July 5, at 10 a.m and can also be seen on the pageant’s official Facebook page later on.