Ecuador bagged the Miss Earth 2016 crown at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Saturday night.
Katherine Espin bested delegates from 82 countries across the globe and lived up to her billing as the candidate to beat since day one of the Manila-based pageant when she was named co-winner of the “Darling of the Press” award with the Philippines’ Imelda Schweighart.
Espin, a 23-year-old model and cosmetologist, became her country’s second Miss Earth titlist after Olga Alava who won in 2011 and followed up the recent victory of Angela Bonilla at the Miss Global 2016 pageant also held in Manila.
While the 23-year-old model and native of La Troncal, Canar, Ecuador was widely predicted to win this year’s title, Schweighart’s early elimination surprised many pageant followers. The Fil-German beauty from Palawan has caused controversy when she told Miss Austria Kimberley Budinsky on Facebook Live that President Rodrigo Duterte was “doing Hitler stuff in the Philippines” but quickly apologized declaring that she supports the President. Schweighart is the second Philippine representative to miss the semi-finals cut after Jean Harn in Miss Earth 2007.
Espín, a graduate of Universidad Catolica de Cuenca, has earlier won Best in Long Gown and Resorts Wear and the special titles as Miss Hannah Beach Resort, Marco Polo Star of the Night, Miss Phoenix Petroleum and Miss Rotary Best Body. She competed and missed the 2015 Miss Bikini Universe title when she finished first runner up.
“I truly believe in the 5 R’s, which is re-think, reduce, re-use, recycle and respect. Because I believe that as human beings, if we apply that to our everyday lives, we can make a change, and we will reduce the problem that we just mentioned. If we apply that to our everyday lives, I believe that we... can save the place we live in which is our Mother Earth,” the stunning beauty answered the Final Four question, “If you were selected as Miss Earth 2016, what would be your program to protect Mother Earth from climate change?”
Espin, who wants to pursue her advocacy to implement environmental education in schools to promote a positive climate change to the future generations. “I truly believe that there should exist on every academic pensum an environmental class and I will work hard on it to make it possible.” She was crowned by outgoing titlist Angela Ong.
In Espin’s court of honor were Miss Earth Air Michelle Gomez of Colombia, a model and Psychology student; Miss Earth Water Stephanie De Zorzi of Venezuela, a model; and Miss Earth Fire Bruna Zanardo of Brazil, also a model.
Cloie Syquia Skarne, actor Gabby Concepcion’s daughter, reached the Top 8 with Miss Russia Aleksandra Cherepanova, Miss USA Corrin Stellakis and Miss Vietnam Nguyen Thi Le Nam Em who won the most photogenic award.
The Miss Earth 2016 final show telecast on ABS CBN was hosted by Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez. The board of judges included PNP Chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. Dela Rosa, Matthias Gelberg, Liza Pavlakos, Arnold Vegafria, Jamie Herrell, Jose Pardo, Wanda Teo, Sophie Sumner, and Lorraine Schuck.
Espin as Miss Earth 2016 is expected to act as spokesperson for the Miss Earth Foundation, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other environmental organizations.
Miss Earth is an annual international environmental-themed beauty pageant promoting environmental awareness.
The Miss Earth Foundation works with the environmental departments and ministries of participating countries, various private sectors and corporations.
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