Fifty-nine candidates of the Miss Earth 2018 will arrive in San Vicente town on Friday to witness the signing of an ordinance that will protect the municipality’s endangered sea turtles (pawikan) and to help promote its tourism industry.
The candidates compose the pageant’s fire and water groups and represent more than half of the total 90 pageant contestants, according to the organizers of this year’s Miss Earth.
Maruj Avila Encoy, the executive producer for the Palawan event of Miss Earth for Carousel Productions, Inc (CPI), said it will be the first time for San Vicente to host the international search that advocates clean and healthy environment.
“Batang San Vicente ako. I love promoting my hometown since noong nag-aaral pa lang ako ng tourism. Noong nabigyan ako ng opportunity na kunin itong Miss Earth, ang unang pumasok sa isip ko is dalahin sa San Vicente para maipakita ang beauty ng aming bayan,” said Encoy.
The candidates will be staying at Club Agutaya, an eco-boutique resort at Long Beach, Barangay San Isidro, San Vicente.
Dixie Mariñas, Club Agutaya vice president for operations, said they are optimistic that the candidates who will witness the signing of the ordinance to protect the sea turtles in San Vicente will help promote it not only as a tourism destination in the country but as a municipality that takes care of the protection of its wildlife.
“Kailangan natin turuan ang community within our area na mahalin ang kalikasan at pangalagaan ang wildlife. We want to secure our natural resources not only for us but for our future generations,” she said.
Mariñas added the international pageant can help San Vicente in sending out the message to the world that tourism in the town requires the shared responsibility of future visitors to protect its wildlife and environment.
Part of the visit of the Miss Earth candidates is the opportunity to be one in nature with the sea turtles after the signing of the ordinance, Mariñas said.
“This ordinance will show the kind of commitment the stakeholders of San Vicente have in preserving and protecting the environment and its wildlife,” she said.
Municipal administrator James Inawasan, on the other hand, said any area in San Vicente where the sea turtles will be found will be declared a protected area.
“For example, if dyan sa Club Agutaya, that’s an area pala ng mga sea turtles natin, ide-declare natin siyang protected area or sanctuary. Ganoon din sa other areas. Maglalabas tayo ng mga guidelines, at soft impact tourism activities lang ang i-implement,” he added.
Inawasan said the participation of the Miss Earth candidates in witnessing the ordinance signing will, hopefully, translate to promoting the town as a fresh destination to consider by travelers worldwide.
He said they are more than prepared to welcome the pageant candidates, and the exciting experience they will bring to San Vicente.
Meanwhile, San Vicente municipal tourism officer Lucylyn Panagsagan said as an emerging tourist destination, the town has natural attractions that are worthy to show the world.
“Ang San Vicente ay emerging destination pa lang. Right now, ang aming attractions ay yong natural. We have beautiful islands and islets, the famous long beach na talagang kilala sa San Vicente and of course, Port Barton,” Panagsagan said.
She said although their municipality still lacks some facilities, the municipal government is trying its best to develop its tourism attractions.
Next year, they will establish their forest eco-park as well as some community-based sustainable tourism (CBST) sites.
The Miss Earth is an eco-themed beauty pageant that promotes environmental awareness and is acknowledged as one of the biggest pageants in the world.
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