Ms. Earth bets get up close to a success story in mangrove protection

LAGUINDINGAN, MISAMIS ORIENTAL—To stay true to the beauty title they are vying for, 14 of 85 Miss Earth 2019 candidates planted mangroves at the country’s cleanest coastline in Misamis Oriental province.

After that, they toured the protected Initao-Libertad Protected Seascape and Landscape, one of the top tourist drawers in the province.

The young women from Austria, Italy, Croatia, Malta, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Paraguay, Kenya, Reunion Island, China, Tonga, India, Liberia and Vietnam were treated to a trip to the Tubajon Aquamarine Park.

Ms. Earth bets get up close to a success story in mangrove protection
Jigger J. Jerusalem/INQUIRER MINDANAO

The park won the “Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan” awards of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in 2017, besting other coastlines in the country.

The park, at the village of Tubajon, Laguindingan town, near the airport here, has inspired Titania Matekuolava, a Ms. Earth candidate from the Pacific country of Tonga, to think about bringing the reforestation lessons she learned from the mangrove park back to her home country.

As a Ms. Earth candidate, she said she also wanted to reduce pollution in Tonga.

Matekuolava said it had been common practice among people in her country to burn trash because of the absence of a comprehensive solid waste management in Tonga, making air pollution a grave environment concern.

Tubajon chair Teodoro Oguis said the aquamarine park had been opened to the public, complete with amenities like bamboo cottages standing on stilts over clear seawater in the middle of the 22-hectare mangrove forest.

Ms. Earth bets get up close to a success story in mangrove protection
Ms. Earth candidates from Austria, Italy, Croatia, Malta, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Paraguay, Kenya, Reunion Island, China, Tonga, India, Liberia and Vietnam visit Misamis Oriental on Tuesday, Oct. 8. JIGGER J. JERUSALEM

“We want to maintain the pristine state of the aquamarine park as it is one of most beautiful tourist sites in Misamis Oriental,” said Laguindingan Mayor Diosdado Obsioma.

Lawyer Jeffrey Saclot, Misamis Oriental provincial tourism officer, said the province welcomed both the local and international beauty pageant candidates to the park.

“We have tourist attractions where guests may enjoy. It is one of the province’s treasures,” he said.