Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Real Queen of Beauty

High tide or low tide?”, that’s probably one of the smartest question or should I say answer that has ever been given in the Miss Universe Pageant. That of course pertains to the eloquent reply of Miss Philippines Charlene Gonzales when asked about how many were the islands that make up the Philippines. Then she completed by saying, that it’s 7,107 during high tide and 7,108 on low tide. The fabulous line has indeed became a by-word during that time, selling mostly to people who borrows that line to respond to whatever question , some totally unrelated just to be able to use that line. Aside from that, we had never really taken that context so seriously. That we have indeed 7,107 wonderful islands scattered like rosary across the richest marine area in the world.

Charlene Gonzales produced one of the most famous answers in an international beauty competition. When asked by the host about the number of islands in the Philippines, she boldly asked back, "At high tide or low tide?"

Ours is a beautiful and rich country, history will testifies that many races in the past had tried to own us simply because of our rich and abundant natural wonders. Our seas flourish with vast marine species of fish and underwater flora and fauna. Our mountains are filled with high value elements and mineral deposits. Our forests thrive with exotic plants and rare animals never to be found elsewhere. Our lands are fertile for crops and our beaches are the best in the world. Our scenic landscapes are incomparable and one of a kind. Our hidden natural wonders are simply awesome and breathe-taking. Our climate is the envy of the people above the Equator. Our people are the sweetest in the world, sadly just the same, our people are the least likely to believe and appreciate that we are indeed a beautiful and rich country.

So we never really care about what we have or for what is left. Look at us today? The mountains are gone, the seas are polluted, the air is contaminated, the lands are wasted and dirty and the people, well I couldn’t say much cause I myself is part of it. Guess we have exercised too much freedom and democracy that we have acted beyond our limits. The grasses do not grow anymore, the fishes are floating dead in the shores, the animals are endangered, the waters are rushing from the high hills because the trees are no longer there to stop it and there still many more mess which are unpleasant to the eyes and irritating to the ears that need not be mentioned. Guess we have become too complacent to think that all of these things would never run out.

Then it all comes back to us. We pay for all our negligence, abuse and disrespect for the things that we have blessed with. Numerous flash floods and landslides have unjustly claimed the lives of our fellowmen. We are running out of steady food supply and the prices of food commodities are always increasing. Lot of diseases are spreading out of our dirty and uncontained misbehavior like throwing garbage wherever we want. We go on with our daily lives as if nothing alarming is going on. We are too concerned with our individual families that we forget the Mother that always provides, Nature.

And like all other mistake, we will never know that we have made one unless we are badly affected and until we learn our lessons and rise from it. It’s never too late too make up for all our shortcomings. We could always undo whatever falling out we may have with our friends and with our loved ones. Same for our environment, whatever abuses and disregards we may have done to her, it’s still within our reach to bring her back to her original glory. Plant more trees, stop illegal logging, don’t hunt the animals in the forest, avoid dynamite fishing, don’t throw your wastes everywhere at your convenience, conserve water and electricity, the possibilities for a renewed and healthy environment is limitless and just waiting…

Mirriam Quiambao had almost brought home the Miss Universe crown in 1999 after falling off the stage and regally picking up her shoes like nothing has ever happened. We may have caused a lot of damage to Mother Nature but it’s not too late to pay her back for all the bounties and all the beauties she gave our land. In 2007, the new7Wonders Foundation, in an official declaration in July 07, 2007 formally launched the campaign for the world’s New Seven Wonders of Nature. They are the same organization that officially selected the New Seven Wonders of the World, the latter being consisted of outstanding human architectural and engineering marvel. Now it is nature’s turn to grab the spotlight as seven of the world’s most amazing and incredible natural wonders will be selected and recognized.

Since January 01, 2009, the national qualification phase has been over and unfortunately, only one attraction from the Philippines, the Palawan Underground River has been able to be part of the 261 qualified nominees. We used to have three other entries running, the Mayon Volcano, the Chocolate Hills and the Tubbataha Reef but they didn't make it. Voting for nominees will continue through July 7, 2009. The top 77 nominees by group categories (the top 11 in each of the seven groups) will be eligible for consideration by the New7Wonders of Nature Panel of Experts, the Panel of Experts will then review these 77 nominees and choose from them the 21 Official Finalists, according to published criteria. The selection will be announced on 21 July 2009, and the 21 Official Finalists will then enter the third and final phase to vote and choose the Official New7Wonders of Nature.


The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located about 50 km north of the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. It features a limestone karts mountain landscape with an 8.2 km. navigable underground river. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it winds through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea. It includes major formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers. The lower portion of the river is subject to tidal influences. The underground river is reputed to be the world's longest. At the mouth of the cave, a clear lagoon is framed by ancient trees growing right to the water's edge. Monkeys, large monitor lizards, and squirrels find their niche on the beach near the cave.

As of this time, the Palawan Underground River tops the Category E (Forests, National Parks and Nature Reserves). It is still a way to go before the final 77 are selected. Like what Janina San Miguel said, we just don't feel the any pressure right now, but when the on line runs out, I just hope that we got the long legs to keep the Underground River running at the top od its class. We can never be too confident, we just need to keep on voting and supporting.

Being an OFW, far away from the land that I call home, the least I could do is to create awareness of this campaign. In this place that I could only see sands of limitless boundaries, I could only wish to the moon at night to behold the beauty of our local natural wonders on my behalf. The reasons balikbayans try to visit as many places in the Philippines during their short vacation period is because once they are back to the country where they work, they just begin to miss home and everything in it. And that's probably something that Filipinos in the Philippines don't realize. It is because the beauty of our lands is so close to them that they just don't see it.

We have screwed up many things before but many times we have proven our worth as a united nation. Four times we have won thru internet votes the Miss Universe Miss Photogenic Award. Now we can make it happen again, this time for the New Seven Wonders of Nature. Let us show to the world that no matter how bad our image is as far as politics, corruption, economy, peace and order is concerned, ours is nation blessed with extra ordinary God Given natural wonders. Let us give Mother nature the respect and recognition she deserves. Let us be aware that we have 7,107 islands that other nations can only dream of. Let’s take pride and join hands together to place the Philippines in the list where she rightfully deserves to be included. This is the right time. rs of nature, please visit

1 comment:

  1. a truly relevant and interesting post. quite a read but its all worth the wait. your thoughts are expansive yet coherent. keep up the good work dude. you're not a scalawag as you might think you are. fact is - you are a brilliant writer.