Pageant veteran Imelda Bautista Schweighart was crowned Miss Philippines Earth 2016 in ceremonies at the University of the Philippines Theater in Quezon City held Saturday night, June 11.
The 21-year-old Filipina-German student, who represented Puerto Princesa City, reigned supreme over other 45 candidates from all over the country as well as those who came from international communities.
Schweighart will go on to represent the Philippines later this year at Miss Earth, considered the third largest beauty contest in the world.
She will try to snatch a fourth consecutive win for the country, after the back-to-back wins of Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrel and Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong.
Trailing Schweighart are Kiara Giel Gregorio of London, who took the Miss Philippines-Air title; Loren Mae Artajos of Laoag City (Miss Philippines-Water); Shannon Bridgman of Rosales, Pangasinan (Miss Philippines-Fire); and Melanie Mader of Vienna, Austria (Miss Philippines-Eco Tourism).
Prior to winning Miss Philippines Earth, Schweighart was a semifinalist at the 2013 edition of Binibing Pilipinas. She was also a Miss Puerto Princesa titleholder.
All five contestants who made it to the final round was asked the same question, which was about their proposal to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte for their environmental advocacy projects.
Saying she is against genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Schweighart said she would ask Duterte to ban GMOs and other scientifically engineered crops.
“I will also ask for his permission to take him to Puerto Princesa to show how beautiful the city is,” she added.
This year’s edition of the pageant is anchored on the theme of Independence Day.
Playing on the idea of June 12th, only 12 ladies made the first cut.
During the previous editions, up to 16 ladies were included in the semifinals.
All 12 ladies donned the traditional “terno” during the evening gown competition.
Their swimsuits, on the other hand, were either colored red, blue, or white–reminiscent of the Philippine flag’s colors.
Also this year, the top 12 candidates were given 30 seconds to interpret hashtags that were of social and environmental significance.
This was the penultimate round before the grueling Q and A portion.
Schweighart picked the hashtag “#TunayNaDiwaNgKalayaan.”
Answering in both Filipino and English, Schweighart said the hashtag is a reminder to everyone to work together.
Freedom, she said, is letting each one free themselves by thinking of solutions to problems hounding the country.