A Filipino-Italian model was crowned Miss Philippines Earth 2018, earning a chance to represent the country in the international edition of the environment-centered pageant.
Celeste Cortesi, a 20-year-old who grew up in Rome, won after she agreed with the decision of the government to shut down Boracay for 6 months for rehabilitation.
When asked about her thoughts on how to prevent the island's situation from happening to other beaches, she responded: "I agree with the decision of President [Rodrigo] Duterte."
She also argued that there's the need to improve the drainage system and better cooperation from hotel owners, before being cut off because of the imposed 30-second time limit.
She beat 41 other hopefuls in the pageant held at Mall of Asia Arena Saturday night. She succeeded Karen Ibasco, who won the overall Miss Earth title last year.
Speaking to reporters after her win, Cortesi thanked her Filipina mother for pushing her to pursue her beauty queen dreams.
"I was not expecting this. I was so excited," she said. "I want to thank my mother who pushed me to participate in this contest. Thank you to the people who helped me, to the friends of my mother. I am really, really grateful for this."
According to her profile on the pageant's website, her advocacy centers around preserving trees.
"I believe we should protect our urban fragile forest, because trees are life," she was quoted to have said.
The night's other winners were:
- Miss Earth Philippines Air: Zahra Bianca Saldua of Las Piñas City
- Miss Earth Philippines Water: Berjayneth Chee of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental
- Miss Earth Philippines Fire: Jean Nicole de Jesus of San Rafael, Bulacan
- Miss Earth Philippines Eco-Tourism: Halimatu Yushawu of Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay
A date for the 2018 Miss Earth pageant has yet to be revealed.