Miss BALER, AURORA

VERNA ABBY CATUSALEM

Age: 24
Height: 5 feet 4 inches
Measurements: 32 inches - 24 inches - 34 inches
Occupation/Education: Sangguniang Kabataan Municipal Federation President

Describe your childhood/growing up years (8-13 years old):
My childhood was the toughest chapter in my life. Our family got broken, and my mom went to prison when I was just in grade 3. Me and my other 3 sisters were taken care of by relatives. Our dad had a rough time also during that time, and got hooked on alcohol. I also had terrible days at school, because I was constantly bullied. Then I had to undergo surgery due to appendicitis. My childhood was a bit sad and dark, but I’m glad that I was able to manage all these adversaries through faith in God, and with the love and support of other family members.

What lessons did you learn from your childhood/growing years?
I learnt that being part of a broken family is not an excuse to have a broken life too. Experiencing the situation first- hand, I would say that it takes a lot of courage and perseverance to not be identified with the situation of your family, but it will be worth it in the long run. By doing so, you give yourself a chance to be in a better space, and you will be able to serve as an inspiration to the rest of the world.

Most memorable moment:
April 10, 2010 was the day my mom was released from prison, and our family was reconciled.

Why do you want to be Miss Philippines Earth?
I want to become Miss Philippines Earth 2021 because I want my environmental advocacy to be heard, not only in my town and province, but in the entire country. I would like to use the platform to awaken consciousness on the environmental issues that our generation is faced with, and what we can do to help resolve it.

What is your environmental advocacy and why did you choose this?
My environmental advocacy is called KKB (Kanya-Kanyang Bag). I chose this advocacy because it’s very simple, feasible, yet relevant and impactful. This simply encourages shoppers and consumers to bring their own bags when they go to shops and stores. The products they buy will be put in their bags, instead of in plastic bags. The fast- growing generation of single- use plastic in our country is alarming. Just imagine how much plastic bag each consumer uses every day. And how significantly bringing one’s own bag for carrying the products they bought, will lessen the amount of plastic bags produced and thrown away every day.