by Jhon Steven C. Espenido
SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews) — Before 2023 ends, I would like to commend our very own Yllana Marie Aduana, a licensed medical laboratory scientist and drug analyst who recently clinched the title of Miss Earth Air 2023 in Vietnam on December 22. Also, I wish to congratulate the Miss Earth organization for selecting our gal as one of the elemental queens to champion their causes in protecting the environment and striving for monumental change.
As a Filipino, I am even more excited about the additional salient points Yllana will bring to the table, knowing she has been full of beans about all the environmental movements she believes in. In fact, she started living sustainably in high school and has continued since then.
As an advocacy-driven woman of the Earth, Yllana ardently advocates for E.A.R.T.H. education, which stands for Environmental Awareness and Action to Restore and Transcend Home. She strengthened this commitment when she joined Miss Philippines Earth for the second time and, over the course of months, traveled throughout the 17 regions of our country, imparting wisdom across the social spectrum about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their connection to nature.
Similarly, as a national titleholder, Yllana was blessed with the chance to speak before delegates of the Fourth Global Conference on Strengthening Synergies on the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations at the headquarters in New York last July, where she went viral on social media because of how she eloquently delivered her speech.
Right there, she recounted her experience prior to becoming a beauty queen, which involved extensive travel and participation in colloquiums, and admittedly, she has observed a lack of awareness among Filipinos regarding the SDGs. Yet, she has made a commendable effort to fill this gap by creating pamphlets summarizing the 17 SDGs, which I believe resonates well with her identity as a woman of the Earth, a woman for the Earth.
Now, more than ever, I hope that Yllana’s consequential actions will inspire aspiring beauty queens to embrace the same enthusiasm. Like it or not, we need more individuals like Yllana, particularly in the context of pageants such as Miss Earth. It is also vital for each of us—definitely—to do what is imperative for our environment. After all, we all thrive on the same planet, and we can only hope and act for the best, right? With the New Year upon us, why not become environmental advocates for the year and years to come?
Finally, to our queen, Yllana, you have already made us proud even before the competition began. Please know that for us, you are our forever Miss Earth. I wish you good health and a successful year of reign. Mabuhay ka!
(BATANG MINDANAW is AJhon Steven C. Espenido, 23, is from Surigao City. He is an AB English Language student at Surigao del Norte State University.)
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