UST alumna and faculty member Karen Ibasco was crowned Miss Earth 2017 in the pageant’s coronation night at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
Ibasco, 26, bested 84 women to succeed Miss Earth 2016 Katherine Espin of Ecuador.
Ibasco is the fourth Filipina to win Miss Earth, following Karla Henry in 2008, Jamie Harrell in 2014 and Angelia Ong in 2015.
She graduated cum laude in both her applied physics undergraduate degree and her master’s degree.
The applied physics instructor called for energy conservation and the wider use of renewable sources of energy.
In the final question-and-answer portion, host James Deakin asked Ibasco who or what she thought was the biggest enemy of Mother Earth and why.
“I believe that the real problem in this world is not climate change. The real problem is us because of our ignorance and apathy. What we have to do is to start changing our ways, to start recalibrating our minds and redirecting our steps because together, as a global community, our micro efforts will have a macro effect to help save our home, our planet,” she answered.
Prior to the Q&A, she emphasized the importance of biodiversity in the ecosystem in the #EarthTalk segment of the pageant.
“Biodiversity is very important. We are very known in the Philippines to have a lot of biodiversity and they’re very important because they also balance the ecosystem. It’s very important for us to protect them, because as we protect them, we protect the environment to help save our home, our planet, our Earth, to be a better place to live in,” she said.
Ibasco won gold medals in the pre-pageant competition for the Asia-Pacific Best in National Costume Competition, Darling of the Press and Group 2 Swimsuit Competition. She also bagged silver medals for resort wear and long gown.
Last year, Ibasco joined the Binibining Pilipinas pageant. She tried her luck anew and won Miss Philippines Earth in July.
The Miss Earth Pageant was launched by local company Carousel Productions Inc. in 2001.