What strikes most visitors to Puerto Princesa is the environmental initiatives of Mayor Edward Hagedorn. As such, the choice of this city for the Miss Philippines Earth pageant, was a fitting tribute to this noble cause. We were there upon the invitation of Carousel Productions’ genial President Ramon Monzon and the beauteous Lorraine Schuck, since my husband Rupert was invited to be one of the nine judges, and who later on was appointed Chairman of the Board of Judges.
The much loved Mayor Hagedorn, who was then departing for Manila to attend the Underground River launch at Malacanang, personally welcomed us at the airport, along with statuesque beauty Ping Valencia, Vice President for External Relations of Miss Philippines Earth.
The magnificence of Puerto Princesa’s natural environment became most apparent during our tour of the Subterranean river, a spectacular eight-kilometer long stretch with limestone karat caves and which opens up to the South China sea. Geared with life vests and helmets, we took the 1.5 km tour, the only allowable area open to tourists. With the support and thrust of President Aquino and Mayor Hagedorn, the Underground River is a contender in the new Seven Wonders of the World. A boat ride away is a gorgeous sanctuary, the newly opened Sheridan Resort, where nature lover, the demure Mia Borromeo, Philippine Tatler’s Editor at Large, was all praises for this oasis by the sea. It boasts an infinity pool by the beach, with a commanding view of the sea on one side and the breathtaking mountains on the other.
The title of Miss Earth was awarded to Athena Imperial from Casiguran Aurora. Her eloquent response to the final question, not to mention the confidence she exuded, became her crowning glory. The Miss Earth beauty pageant not only focuses on beauty, but on living with a reverent respect for nature.