MA. CRISTINA TALLADOR
Height: 5 feet 9 inches
Measurements: 31 inches - 24 inches - 34.5 inches
Occupation/Education: High School Student
Describe your childhood/growing up years (8-13 years old):
Growing up in a town where biodiversity is rich and how much its people value the importance of well-functioning ecosystems, I spent my entire childhood years exploring the wonders of nature. My parents would allow me to enjoy the sceneries and beaches that capture the beauty of Iloilo and the treasures it brings where the towering mountains meet the pristine waters of the seas. Through the intentional protection of forest and marine life that sustains the food security of the Ilonggos and the entire environment that breathes out the niche where the wildlife has set to thrive and progress for human development to prosper, I have lived in a paradise that Mother Earth has given us. Not until, it was heartbreaking to witness the cries of the Ilonggos when suddenly heavy rains flooded the streets, destroyed crops yet to be harvested, and caused the lives of many as an aftermath of super typhoons such as Yolanda and Frank. These were the darkest times of Iloilo when climate change’s havoc resulted in millions of properties being wiped out in just a blink of an eye.
As a child during those times, my innocence did not hinder me to understand that people must learn from the past and rekindle their relationship with nature. As I grew up as a teenager, I had the opportunity to be an active volunteer in my community. It all started when my family would set up tree-planting activities, conduct food and donation drives, and provide free medical consultations around the municipalities affected by the extreme effects of climate change. And from there, I nurtured within myself the interest in serving people becoming my purpose and putting meaning into my life. Just like a child, I consider every commitment to valuing the human life of every Ilonggo a set of small steps toward the reality of providing a healthy environment in the communities in Iloilo.
What lessons did you learn from your childhood/growing years?
My childhood is considered a building block of my passion as a researcher of local flora and fauna and my pledge to be of service to others. Living in Pavia municipality has brought my interest to appreciate life in the province surrounded by the bounty of nature’s gifts such as fresh air and an environment suitable for one’s well-being which is away from the buzzing city streets in Metro Iloilo. However, it is where I also started to realize how humans can continuously pose threats to Mother Earth through the transformation of wetlands into mega construction sites, emission of commercial wastes, and inflation of carbon footprints caused by insensitive human acts. It becomes my rite of passage to find a purpose. As a novice researcher, I have learned that one’s knowledge means nothing and will not save one’s life unless it is used to improve other people’s lives—that is using Mother Earth’s natural gifts through research and taking advantage of its promise that it can bring to the community.
My exposure to medical missions and outreach programs in the municipalities of Iloilo has built a compassionate heart within me. As a lifelong learner and throughout my journey towards striving for academic excellence, failure will always be there. Another lesson I have learned is that failure does not define who you are. If you have failed, it means you have had the opportunity to pause and experience a time to reflect upon how meaningful you strived in service to others. If you never fail, you will never learn to succeed and offer this triumph to whom you would like to dedicate your purpose in life.
Most memorable moment:
One of the most memorable moments in my life is when I had the opportunity to join the National Science Technology Fair. Together with my team, we proposed a study focusing on an under-appreciated wild-growing plant that is abundant in my locality which is in Iloilo. Through this, we explored its plausibility of becoming an immune booster that can be of great help to my fellow Ilonggos. Others may consider this plant as a weed, but based on our research, this can be a blessing in disguise.
This purpose of mine in conducting research for the benefit of others can be directly rooted in dedicating one of my birthdays to the hospital where my father is working. I had the opportunity to share food and medical supplies with the patients and the staff. As a 14-year-old celebrator, I never thought that this act of service will ignite my passion for others as I saw the patients wearing such authentic smiles as they welcomed me to receive just a simple gift that I prepared for them. I consider this one of the most memorable moments of my life because their smiles inspired me to improve the quality of human life, especially now that I have the skills in conducting research for the community’s development by highlighting local or endemic plants. This shows how research in Science and Technology can be a tool to maximize the blessings that Mother Earth has given us and to dedicate ourselves to protecting our planet by inspiring others to do the same.
Why do you want to be Miss Philippines Earth?
Being a Filipina from the City of Iloilo, it is high time that another Ilongga stands firm and becomes the Miss Philippines Earth 2023 in the call to promote eco-tourism, educate the youth on environmental well-being, and represent the voices of today’s women on social issues affecting the Mother Earth. To be crowned Miss Philippines Earth 2023, I will use this privilege to reach out and touch the hearts of more children not only in Iloilo but also in the whole Philippines that the Earth, their only home, needs its caretakers to be responsible citizens of their carbon footprints and always dare to C.A.R.E for a sustainable and livable environment.
What is your environmental advocacy and why did you choose this?
Given the opportunity of becoming an ambassadress of environmental wellness, I envision Filipinos, especially the youth, to see themselves in me and encourage them to become functional citizens with a true love for Mother Earth. On the other hand, the ignorance of our responsibility as caretakers of nature and those self-centered policies cripple the intentions of the many to protect the environment which starts within one’s community.
Hence, I have come up with the call on persuading everyone to “C.A.R.E.” which demands all Filipinos and others on becoming Changemakers who are Actualizing the protection of biodiversity, especially for the endemic flora and fauna, Reducing carbon footprints by using renewable energy resources, and Enabling the youth through education to become ambassadors of environmental wellness. With all these, we Dare to CARE and set forth purposeful trailblazers who do not abuse the gifts of nature. We all become the Earth’s protectors and make the environment livable with sustainable sources of energy. We start within our locality and all these conscientious efforts will positively ripple not only in the country but also in the whole Planet Earth. Through this, we secure the future of the next generations to enjoy environmental wellness allowing them to breathe in the fresh air, swim through pristine waters, and even enjoy the comforting shade of trees with their healthy families.
What tip can you share to promote eco-tourism in your City or Municipality?
Making Iloilo City a HOME for ALL that shelters biodiversity, nurtures green architecture, and holds a promise of being a livable city that would promote and even sustain its eco-tourism. It shall start by educating the youth on environmental issues and engaging them in decisions where they will feel heard as advocates for environmental well-being. Through this, no one would ever dare destroy their own home. The ecosystem and tourism of Iloilo City will house an interactive, collaborative, and consultative means to transform and renew the Earth by building up resilient communities not only for the Ilonggos but also for others who intend to have a safe space for healthy living to progress in our only Home which is the Earth.