Miss Philippines-Earth 2011 Athena Imperial hopes her successor can help sustain the country’s newfound glory in the global pageant scene.
“There was a time when Indian candidates were the Asian bets everybody was looking forward to. Ngayon, nagsusunud-sunod na ang panalo ng Pilipinas. Dapat lalo pa nating galingan,” Imperial told the Inquirer during the 2012 Miss Philippines Earth candidates’ presentation at the Music Hall of SM Mall of Asia (MOA) in Pasay City recently.
Imperial was also proclaimed Miss Earth-Water in the international competition last year.
The Philippines has been gaining recognition in various global beauty competitions in the last two years, starting with Venus Raj’s fifth-place finish in the 2010 Miss Universe pageant.
Aside from Raj and Imperial, the other accomplished beauties were 2011 Miss Universe third runnerup Shamcey Supsup, 2011 Miss World first runnerup Gwendoline Ruais and college student Danica Magpantay, the first Filipino to be proclaimed Ford Supermodel of the World.
Other Filipinos have likewise fared well in several minor international competitions.
“Ang daming magagaling na candidates this year!” exclaimed Imperial. “Expectations are high because many of them are veterans, having competed in the Binibining Pilipinas and Miss World Philippines pageants. And more than being beautiful, a lot of them are aware of the environment,” she added.
“The Miss Philippines-Earth is a woman of beauty. But more importantly, a woman of the Earth is aware of what is currently happening in her society, most especially in the environment,” Imperial said.
The pageant’s winners become spokespersons of the environment who advocate action to help preserve the planet. “That is what sets us apart from the other beauty pageants. We do hands-on jobs, we really get down and dirty,” she explained.
Among the most impressive candidates this year is San Juan City’s Samantha Purvor, who has already been proclaimed Best in Swimsuit, Gandang Ricky Reyes, Miss Extraderm, Miss Pontefino Residences and one of the Best in Runway in different preliminary competitions.
Purvor – a Sports Science major at the University of the Philippines in Diliman – has also participated in the 2011 Binibining Pilipinas and 2011 Miss World Philippines pageants.
Another formidable bet is Quezon City’s Stephany Stefanowitz who was proclaimed one of the Best in Runway and Best in Styling.
Tabuk City’s Glennifer Perido, meanwhile, was also hailed Best in Resorts Wear and Miss Golden Sunset Resort.
Imperial will relinquish her title today, 7 p.m. at the SM Centerstage, MOA.
ABS-CBN airs the pageant at 11 p.m.