Various advocacies geared toward the protection and conservation of the environment were highlighted by the 14 candidates who vied for the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) Ecotourism Ambassador 2019 held Sunday, March 31, at the NCCC Mall Palawan.
Crowned as Mr. & Ms. PPUR Ambassadors for this year are Toby Tadlas and Cherry Ann Balisacan.
The first runner up winner was Joyce Igpalina and the second runner up was won by Dennise Marie Lucero for female. On the other hand, the first runner up for the male was Jang Ibrahim followed by Julius Lansing as the second runner up winner.
Most of the candidates were for the banning of single-use plastics in the city because of its negative impacts on the environment.
Among others the candidates want to pursue as their personal advocacies are the promotion of indigenous woven products and handicrafts, putting up of a museum and library in the area around PPUR, and wildlife protection and conservation.
Jan Elmer Badilla, the information, education, and communications officer of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park ( PPSRNP), said all the contestants to the search for PPUR ecotourism ambassadors underwent a series of challenges which honed their personalities and skills and deepened their understanding of the need to protect their environment.
They went to various community-based sustainable tourism (CBST) sites like the Ugong Rock and Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour.
They also had a stint at The Yamang Bukid Farm, watering and gardening plants and selling healthy products to guests and visitors as part of the nine challenges of the search, Badilla said.
“We wanted an event na makakapag draw-in ng mga kabataan to expose them sa iba’t-ibang issues and advocacies sa PPUR,” said Badilla.
Badilla said the search has produced six young ambassadors since it started in 2016.
Some of them are currently employed at the city government to help promote the tourism industry of Puerto Princesa and continuing their respective advocacies.
The contestants received points from the challenges given to them which is equivalent to 40 percent of the total score. The advocacies they are willing to pursue is also 40 percent and the remaining 20 percent is for how they present themselves during the pageant proper.
Tadlas is advocating for the conduct of information drives in schools about environment protection, particularly the protection of the environment.
Balisacan, meanwhile, is advocating for the establishment of a museum that will showcase the culture of indigenous peoples (IP) at the PPSRNP.