The candidates of Austria, Vietnam, Mexico, Thailand, and Venezuela were this year’s winners in the swimsuit, long gown, and talent preliminary competitions of the Miss Earth international pageant for the fire and water groups held on October 28 at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum.
In the talent competition for the pageant’s water group, 26-year old Melanie Mader, who works as a medical assistant in Vienna, won the gold award.
Mader took home the topmost award after impressing the 18 judges and the crowd with her rapping skills on a mashup of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” and Black-Eyed Peas’ “Where is the Love?”
The bronze award was won by Puerto Rico’s candidate, Krystal Xamairy, and the silver by Guyana’s bet Xamiera Kippins.
The long gown competition for the same group was won Phương Khanh Nguyễn, a 23-year old marketing student from Bến Tre, Vietnam. The bronze was won by China’s Guo Yameng and the silver by Italy’s Sofia Pavan.
In the swimsuit competition also for the water group, 20-year old psychology student Melissa Flores of Michoacán, Mexico, won the gold. The bronze was awarded to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Nađa Pepić and the silver to Phương Khanh Nguyễn of Vietnam as her second award.
In the fire group for the long gown competition, 26-year old Nirada Chetsadapriyakun, a teacher from Amnat Charoen, Thailand, won the gold. The bronze was awarded to Romania’s Denisse Andor and the silver to Dominican Republic’s Gabriela Franceschini.
In the swimsuit competition, the gold award went to 21-year old Diana Carolina Silva, a social communication and advertising student from Barquisimeto, Venezuela. The bronze was won by Spain’s Carolina Jane and the silver was given to Gabriela Franceschini of the Dominican Republic as her second award.
Vietnam’s Phương Khanh Nguyễn also received three minor awards in both water and fire groups — Ms. Hotel Centro, Ms. Ruj Beauty Care & Spa, and Miss San Vicente.
The other minor award recipients from the water group are Guo Yameng of China (Ms. Ai World); Ecuador’s Diana Valdivieso (Ms. Lily’s Touch), Serbia’s Nina Jovanović (Ms. Pal Properties).
For the minor awards in the fire group, the winners are South Africa’s Margo Fargo (Ms. Club Agutaya); Spain’s Carolina Jane (Ms. Coral Bay Nickel Corporation), and Sweden’s Yasmin Mindru (Ms. Nature’s Best Travel & Tours).
The minor awards were given by the sponsors of the local events of the Miss Earth 2018 international event organized by Carousel Productions, Inc. (CPI).
Each of the 59 candidates who were at the preliminary events did her best to court the 18 judges of the international pageant that promotes the protection of the environment worldwide.
Phương Khanh Nguyễn, who won most of the minor and major awards, told Palawan News she was surprised to learn that she was one of the crowd favorites.
She said she fell in love too, with the warm-hearted Palaweños who welcomed all the candidates with passionate affection.
“Actually, this is a big surprise for me. But the biggest surprise was that when I arrived, the people here are so friendly and have big smiles on their faces which melted my heart,” she said.
Phương Khanh Nguyễn said she will visit the Philippines again as she considers it her “second home.”
Edna Villadolid, one of the team leaders of CPI, said all the candidates did well despite having little time to prepare due to the quick phases of the events and all the traveling.
“As a team leader, I am very happy because my girls [Water group] had received a lot of special awards. Nagbunga lahat ng pagod nila. Kasi from Manila pa lang, wala pang tulog iyong mga alaga namin. But then they did their very best para matapos iyong mga activities nila,” Villadolid said.
She said the CPI is looking forward to making San Vicente, one of the beautiful municipalities they have visited, as their regular Miss Earth pageant in the coming years.
On October 26, the Miss Earth 2018 candidates were in San Vicente to witness the signing of an ordinance that seeks the protection and conservation of the sea turtles (pawikan).
They stayed at Club Agutaya where they had the chance to commune with the sea turtles, do a meet-and-greet with municipal officials and residents of San Vicente, and welcome the arrival of the inaugural flight of Philippine Airlines (PAL) Express among others.
Maruj Avila Encoy, the executive producer of the Palawan events of Miss Earth 2018, said bringing the candidates to San Vicente translates to showcasing the municipality’s beauty to the world and what its initiatives are in environmental protection.
“San Vicente is like a sleeping giant. Gusto namin ipakita sa lahat kung gaano kaganda ang Palawan lalo na sa San Vicente, especially in protecting our sea turtles (pawikan) dahil wildlife ang isa sa bumubuhay sa tourism industry natin. So, sana matularan ng ibang munisipyo or ng ibang probinsya iyong aming ginagawang pagprotekta ng ating kalikasan,” Encoy said.
San Vicente municipal tourism officer Lucylyn Panagsagan said with Miss Earth 2018 candidates witnessing the signing of Municipal Ordinance No. 01. 5-2018, their residents will always be reminded of the significance of the event for the strict compliance of the law.
“Protecting our sea turtles is just one of the realizations, recommendations, and objectives in our tourism master plan. Sana po ay tulong-tulong tayo with the community for the sake of our future generations,” she said.
The Grand Coronation Night of the Miss Earth 2018 will be held on November 3 at the Mall of Asia.
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