Jemimah Joy Zabala, Miss Philippines Earth Water 2023.

Jemimah Joy Zabala, the newly crowned Miss Philippines Earth Water, made history as the first candidate from Puerto Princesa to win a title in the recently held Miss Philippines Earth (MPE) 2023 in Cebu.

Joy, a registered psychometrician who won the Miss Puerto Princesa 2021 crown, raised the standard by becoming the first candidate from the city to win a title equivalent to second runner-up in the MPE, a national beauty pageant that recognizes the most beautiful and environmentally-conscious woman in the country.

During her participation in the pageant, she became more environmentally conscious and learned about various environmental issues. Joy emphasized that residents of Puerto Princesa all have the responsibility to be “protectors of the Earth” and should take action to preserve its environment.

“What we have is truly beautiful, and we could lose it if we take it for granted,” she told the local media who attended her homecoming event at SM City Puerto Princesa.

Yllana Marie Aduana, Miss Philippines Earth 2023, and Jemimah Joy Zabala, Miss Philippines Earth Water, during their interview on Rise and Shine Pilipinas on May 3. | Photo courtesy of Miss Earth Philippines

“While growing up, I realized that guests from other parts of the country would be amazed by what we have. It was then when I realized that what we really have is beautiful,” she reiterated.

Joy said the city values its environment, but there is a risk of losing it if it is not properly cared for.

One of her aims is to motivate people to be more conscious about environmental concerns and to strive for continued efforts in preserving it.

“If we can just see the little things that we do and if those little things accumulate over time, it will have a powerful collective impact in the future,” she stressed.

Just like what she had said in her winning moment in MPE, “We should also be the first generation to make a solution, and I hope that we are the first generation that the next generations will see as the heroes of the earth.”

Joy said in an earlier interview with Palawan News that participating in a national pageant like Miss Earth Philippines is not as easy as it may seem to some.

Participating in a pageant like Miss Earth Philippines is intimidating and requires a great deal of courage and confidence, especially because the other candidates are not only beautiful but also highly intelligent and accomplished.

“I was first hesitant to join this pageant because I was intimidated by the Miss Philippines Earth platform; I feel like it’s not for everyone. Parang it’s for certain people lang who have strong knowledge about the environment,” she said.

It takes a great deal of hard work, dedication, and preparation to be able to compete at that level and stand out among a pool of talented individuals, she expressed.

She believes the Miss Philippines Earth pageant is more than just a beauty contest. Rather, it serves as a platform to inspire and encourage individuals to take an active role in preserving and protecting the environment.

It is a powerful initiative that raises awareness and motivates people to become advocates and stewards of the Earth, ensuring that future generations will have a sustainable and healthy planet to call home.

“Mahirap pala talaga siya kasi lahat magaganda at lahat magagaling. Alam nila why they are competing, and that’s because of the goal to be the main voice in protecting our environment,” she said.

Joy said that based on her experience in this year’s MPE, she is willing to train whoever wants to compete next. “I’m willing to help train others because I’ve been through it. I’ve seen and experienced many things.”