Before anything else, I have a question. Have you ever wondered why most of the Visayan beauties are victorious in beauty pageants? To answer that, let us review first our geography lessons. Visayas is a group of islands located in Central Philippines. According to some scholastic theory, the term “Visayas” was derived from the Srivijaya Empire of the 7th Century Malay People. In Sanskrit, sri means “fortunate”, “prosperous” or “happy” and vijaya means “victorious” or “excellence”. (Wikipedia)
Although theories are not recognized and accepted as the truth, the victories that these women achieved were sufficient enough to support these meanings.
In the recent victory of a Visayan Filipino beauty in Miss Earth 2014, let us reminisce and bathe in the beautiful presence of the first Earth Goddess of Asia.
I present to you, Karla Henry, Miss Earth 2008.
“What I would tell to the newly elected president of the United States, being one of the most powerful countries in the world, I would encourage him to implement environmental knowledge in the curriculum of all schools whether in the United States or in the Philippines. Environment knowledge is something that all of us must share, but most importantly we must teach the youth that this is something that we should instill in them so that in the near future they will be the ones to take care of our mother Earth.” – Karla Henry, Miss Philippines
It has been 6 years that she brought honor to her country when she won Miss Earth, held on November 9, 2008 at the Clark Expo, Pampanga, Philippines. This was the first instance that a host delegate won a title in 8 years. She bested 84 delegates from all over the planet. She travelled to Vietnam, Singapore, Spain, USA, Guam, Turk and Caicos and the key cities all over her home country, the Philippines. (Wikipedia)
Her victory is bittersweet. Earlier that year, this Filipino-Canadian became one of the official candidates of Binibining Pilipinas but was shut out of the semifinals come coronation night. Failure did not hinder Karla to chase after her dreams instead it became a fuel to strive for excellence. Her hardwork paid off as she was named Miss Philippines Earth, the right to represent her country in Miss Earth and thus in her winning, she achieved a personal vindication. (Philippine Inquirer, 11/10/2008)
“I can say that I felt more complete as a woman now.” – Karla Henry, Miss Earth 2008 (Philippine Star, 03/22/09)
In Greek Mythology, Demeter, the true Earth Goddess, has a well-known tragedy, the loss of her only daughter in the hands of Hades, god of the underworld. Although Persephone is not technically dead, her absence created the cycle of the seasons. Demeter pleaded to Zeus to help her take her daughter back. To cut the long story short, Hades agreed to return Persephone every 6 months. There is summer and spring when Persephone is having a great time with Demeter, while autumn and winter if not.
Just like Demeter, Karla, as a modern day Earth Goddess has her own share of tragedy. She was stabbed at her back by a drunken tenant while she was on her way to her apartment in Mandaluyong City, Thursday morning August 11, 2011. Thankfully, she was immediately rushed to a hospital and was declared stable. The tenant was apprehended and charged with frustrated murder. (ABS-CBN News, 08/11/2011)
As a gesture of thanksgiving to another lease to life, the Earth Goddess returned to Cebu City in January 2012 to celebrate the world famous Sinulog Festival. She led the dancing and merry-making together with the Cebu local government contingents. (Wikipedia) Her story of survival solidifies the fact that earth goddesses are formidable and resilient.
Currently, Karla can be seen hosting or judging beauty pageants and doing corporate shows around the Philippines. As for what’s the latest buzz in her private life, here’s good news to some of her oblivious followers like me, the Earth Goddess is expecting a bundle of joy.
I chose to make a tribute to Karla Henry because I find only a handful articles dedicated to her. I want to offer and disclose to the world my humble contribution about this lovely earth goddess. It is just fitting that I initiate this thread being a fellow Visayan like her. I know how it feels to be a town girl, a naïve “probinsyana” finding your luck in the busy and crowded streets of the Metropolis. Karla had to overcome all the obstacles, the sacrifices, and the challenges in her life in Manila. She climbed the steepest ladder on her way to the top and won an uphill battle. I just hope for Karla all the best, a great life Our Creator can give especially now that she is preparing to build a family of her own.
To close this thread, let me just say that I am very proud albeit I am just an ordinary fan, I was able to share my love and sincere devotion to the First Earth Goddess of Asia and I hope that Miss Earth will go beyond 14 years, to be known now more than ever, championing the cause of environmental preservation today and to the future generations.
Credits to the owners of the images