Miss Earth beauties and the Ati-Atihan tribes rocked the ‘Tamboe Salvo’ of the Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan festival in Kalibo, Aklan, regarded as the Mother of All Philippine Festivals, on October 21.
Festival organizer Albert Menez said the 23 beautiful earth warriors out of 84 candidates had a once-a-lifetime opportunity to witness and experience the traditional Ati-Atihan street dancing.
More than 2,000 merrymakers at Kalibo Pastrana Park in downtown Kalibo welcomed the first-time revelers with the rhythmic beating of drums and lyres.
The candidates in town were Chinese Taipei, Romania, Russia, Hungary, USA, Poland, Chile, Sri Lanka, Italy, Mauritius, Belize, Peru, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, England, Lebanon, Pakistan, Cyprus, Zimbabwe, Slovenia, Dominican Republic and Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrell.
Straight from Caticlan airport, the Miss Earth beauties had their courtesy call with Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores at the provincial capitol before proceeding to Kalibo Bakhawan Eco-Park.
The young women planted mangrove propagules at the mangrove reforestation site as part of their environment-themed pre-pageant activities. They were also treated to some hearty delicacies and sumptuous lunch by local organizers.
In the afternoon, school children lined the road from Barangay New Buswang waving mini-flags to welcome the Miss Earth beauties while they were in police convoy to downtown Kalibo.
The candidates also had a courtesy call with Kalibo mayor William Lachica and Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi) officials.
Then, the young women with their official Miss Earth red shirt and sash joined the sadsad street dance up to the stage of Kalibo Pastrana Park. They were given also the chance to introduce themselves in front of thousands of spectators.
Menez said 42 Ati-Atihan tribes and modern groups danced to the streets to start the opening salvo, a preview of the 2017 Ati-Atihan festival in reverence to Senor Sto. Nino de Kalibo.
In Boracay, the Miss Earth Beauties sashayed down in a fashion show in the evening at Movenpick Resort and Spa Boracay. The event was hosted by Miss Earth Philippines 2013 Angelee Claudette delos Reyes.
Miss USA Corrin Stellakis won the gold for Group 2 swimsuit competition while Miss Russia Alexandra Cherepanova took the silver and Miss Columbia Michelle Gomez settled for bronze.
Miss Sweden Cloie Skarne was chosen Miss Movenpick Boracay while Miss Columbia was Miss Boracay Body and Miss Denmark Klaudia Parsberg took the Best in Resort Wear award.
On October 22, the Miss Earth beauties joined the coastal clean-up and visited the eco-tourism sites of Motag Living Museum and Nabaoy River in Malay, Aklan.
BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL