Physicist from Manila wins Miss Philippines Earth crown

July 16, 2017 - 1:04 PM
Medical physicist Karen Ibasco beams after being crowned as Miss Philippines Earth 2017 on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of the pageant's Facebook page)

Karen Ibasco, a 26-year-old physicist and college instructor representing Manila, won this year’s Miss Philippines Earth pageant and earned the right to represent the country in Miss Earth 2017 in November.

Karen’s victory was a big surprise during the pageant’s coronation night held Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena as she was considered a dark horse contender and did not figure prominently in pre-pageant predictions. Most pundits pegged her only as a Top 15 semifinalist going into pageant night.

But Karen — who surprised even herself when she decided to pursue college and later master’s degrees in applied physics at the University of Santo Tomas went on a surge during the final stretch of the pageant.

A week before the coronation night during the “sneak peek at the favored frontrunners” event hosted by mySlim dietary supplement products, Ibasco impressed several members of media and the blogging community with her charming, calm demeanor and extensive knowledge of issues concerning the environment.

During pageant night, Karen floored both the judges and the audience with her reply to the policy changes she would want for the environment.

“I’m just grateful that the Philippines has signed the Paris Treaty. What I want to see is to pass a carbon tax. In that way, we would invest in renewable energy to help our world to be a better place, greener, inhabitable for the whole country.”

Last March, the Philippines signed the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change that calls for the reduction of carbon emissions that have been linked to the occurrence of natural disasters and extreme weather conditions.

A contestant in last year’s Binibining Pilipinas pageant, Karen once dreamt of becoming a doctor but is glad that she was able to help cure the sick just the same in her capacity as a medical physicist.

And because of her profession, Karen’s advocacy is focused on “the conservation of energy and to embrace renewable and sustainable sources of energy in exchange for fossil fuel, which contributes to a huge percentage in global warming.”

Miss Philippines Earth Karen Ibasco (center) is flanked by Miss Philippines Earth-Fire Neliza Bautista, Miss Philippines Earth-Air Kim de Guzman, Miss Philippines Earth-Water Jessica Marasigan and Miss Philippines Earth-Eco Tourism Vanessa Mae Castillo. (Photo from the pageant’s Facebook page)

Four other beauties rounded up Karen’s elemental court.

They are: Jessica Marasigan of Caloocan who won Miss Philippines Earth Water; former Pinoy Big Brother housemate Kim de Guzman of Olongapo City who won Miss Philippines Earth Air; Neliza Bautista of Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, who won Miss Philippines Fire; and Vanessa Mae Castillo of Lobo, Batangas who won Miss Philippines Earth Eco-Tourism.

Established by Carousel Productions in 2001, both Miss Philippines Earth and Miss Earth were created with the aim of actively promoting the preservation of the environment and the protection of Mother Earth.

The Philippines has won the most Miss Earth crowns with Karla Henry, Jamie Herrell and Angelia Ong winning the title in 2008, 2014 and 2015 respectively. Beauties from Latin America, however, have also proven to be formidable contenders, amassing a total of eight titles including last year’s winner, Katherine Espin, the second Miss Earth crown holder from Ecuador.