Miss TANAY, RIZAL

SOFIA GALVE

Age: 24
Height: 5 feet 7 inches
Measurements: 34 inches - 24 inches - 37 inches
Occupation/Education: Chief Operating Officer / Speech Communication Student

Describe your childhood/growing up years (8-13 years old):
My mother had been very hands on during my formative years, so by the time I was pre-adolescent, I have already begun exploring my independence. I studied in a public school and was very active in extracurriculars between the ages of 8 and 13. I consistently won championship medals in HeKaSi quiz bees and essay writing competitions representing my school district and the province of Rizal. Moreover, I was a student-leader and a prolific campus journalist during this time. I won championship medals in Editorial writing and represented the province during regional competitions. I also shined academically, however, this and the extracurriculars occupied most of my time so I had no sports or other major activities. I did love spending time visiting other provinces though, particularly my mom’s hometown in Pangasinan. This is when I was first exposed to simple farming activities, as well as to a minimalist lifestyle that does not want and waste much.

What lessons did you learn from your childhood/growing years?
One of the most important lessons I learned growing up is that everything is subjective and not everything will be as you planned it to be. Midway through elementary school, I was forming this notion that because I excelled academically and have been very approachable to my classmates, I would be a universally likeable personality. Lo and behold, some still found my demeanor to be too bossy or demanding. Because I was young and naïve back then, I thought these were things that needed changing. It was only when I entered adulthood that the real lesson dawned upon me: the other kids were judging subjectively, which almost all of us do, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they were wrong, or that I was wrong. It just shows how subjective the human lens is. This helped me move through life experiences putting less significance on what others say but more on what I perceive will make the greatest benefit and the least damage to the people around me.

Most memorable moment:
The most memorable moment in my life was probably when I learned I passed the UPCAT. It may seem shallow, but since I was young back then the feeling was climactic. It was the culmination of a 10-year goal and hard work to get into my dream university. Nothing came close to this feeling, mostly because of a heartfelt conversation I had with my mom at a bookstore prior to taking the exam. We are not a well-off family, so I had the biggest reservation about asking my mom to buy me a 600-peso reviewer book for college admissions. I remember uttering these words to her, “ma, promise itong 600 pesos na ‘to papalitan ko ng 1 million pagkatapos ko ng college” (“mom, I promise I’ll exchange this 600 pesos for 1 million when I get out of college”). I’m glad to say I am about to hit this goal next year.

Why do you want to be Miss Philippines Earth?
I want to be crowned Miss Philippines Earth 2021 because this once-in-a-lifetime privilege can help me reach a wider audience that may learn a lot from my advocacy. It is high time for the Philippines to go back to our roots and appreciate farming on a deeper level. This type of education, matched with a feasible social enterprise model can help cascade benefits to communities as well as to our environment in general. I believe being Miss Philippines Earth 2021 will also present opportunities to collaborate with the brightest minds in the country in the fields of ecology and sustainability. Collaborating with experts is one of the ways we can make a true impact for Mother Earth.

What is your environmental advocacy and why did you choose this?
My environmental advocacy is eco-entrepreneurship. The premise of my advocacy is to create and apply a sustainable social enterprise model starting in our own barangay. The model is as follows: we will utilize smart waste management, particularly vermicomposting whose fertilizer byproducts we can use for agro-forestry projects whose income will benefit the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) of our community in Brgy. Cayabu, Tanay whose farming activities will help conserve and reforest our land.

The idea came to me around the same time my co-founders and I started planning Tagpuan last year. We were introduced to a parcel of land that also happened to be a Protected Area (PA) by the DENR, which is when I began my research on nature reserves. There is a mandate that the use of a PA should be non-degrading and conservative in nature, and should also benefit the original community residing in and around the PA. I thought, there could be a feasible model that we can apply to this, in such a way that we can lessen the environmental impact from tourists and turn it into something helpful instead. Thereon, the idea of using our future tourists’ biodegradable wastes into a useful byproduct was born. This also led to the addition of the term Ecopark in our business name.

I chose this advocacy because it hits several birds with one stone, so to speak. It lessens negative environmental impacts of tourism, helps reforest our land, boosts economic activity, and provides opportunities to IPs as well. If executed properly, this may be a feasible model for old and new corporations alike planning on developments on the greener, virgin pastures of the Philippines.