JEMIMAH JOY ZABALA
Height: 5 feet 4 inches
Measurements: 32 inches - 26 inches - 36 inches
Occupation/Education: Administrative Officer
Describe your childhood/growing up years (8-13 years old):
Growing up in a Christian household, I developed a sense of reverence for God at a young age. Earlier on, I was led to the knowledge and understanding of God’s love. From this place, I have learned to receive love and to let it overflow to others. This grew even more as we were often brought and exposed by our parents to outreaches and rural communities. They brought us with them as they served others, and we mingled with farmers, natives, and people from all walks of life. However, I frequently had the impression that some adults thought we were just kids and we shouldn’t be there. Others probably assumed we were there without conscious engagement or as if we weren’t paying attention. Some may have thought that maybe our parents just had no choice. But it was through those engagements that I learned the essential values in life. I’m sure it had not been easy for them, but I am truly grateful that they made an effort to always take us along. They allowed us to see the realities of life. They got us involved. Unknowingly, these experiences formed in me a heart for service and a genuine passion to support causes He has put in my heart.
What lessons did you learn from your childhood/growing years?
During my childhood, I was known to be a shy and quiet little girl. I am not a bibo kid, and looking back, I actually wanted to be counted as one. Yet as I got older, I learned that there was nothing wrong with me being the gentle and reserved person that I am. I learned to reframe how I viewed myself. From that point, I started to embrace myself, recognizing that what I once thought of as weakness was actually a strength. I was simply made that way for a purpose. I realized I was often quiet because I was more inclined to observe and listen to people and my surroundings. And I was able to use that for others through my line of work. In a society that typically applauds those who have attained their standards, I learned to be at peace with what I could offer. I’ve come to realize that one cannot speak for oneself or others without truly lending their ears to listen. From that place of understanding, I gained the strength to speak for others as an advocate.
Most memorable moment:
By now, I have gathered lots of interesting moments in life. But one of the most unforgettable experiences I had recently was when I went freediving with my brothers. At first, I was hesitant to come with them because I didn’t know how to swim. I was always so afraid of sinking. Yet I came anyway, intending to learn how to swim in the open sea. But it came as a pleasant surprise to me that in just one day, I went from a complete non-swimmer to a freediver (beginner). Aside from that, I wanted to see the beauty that lay beneath the sea, but as it turned out, I saw more than just the water world; I also got in touch with my inner world. At that moment, I felt the truth of how nature is good not just for our eyes, but for our souls.
Why do you want to be Miss Philippines Earth?
Being Miss Philippines Earth isn’t just a response to the call of the people, or to the call of the earth; most of all, this is a response to the first ever call that we have ever received here on earth—to be stewards of all creation. We are all called for this purpose, and it’s something we have to live by no matter how we may feel about it. Being here as Miss Philippines Earth will allow me to make an advancement toward this purpose: to lead, lend my voice to certain environmental causes, and magnify my capacity as an individual in doing my share in ensuring a safe, livable, and sustainable home for all.
What is your environmental advocacy and why did you choose this?
I have chosen to advocate for Early Childhood Environmental Awareness because I believe it would have a huge impact, not just on the present but also on the future of the earth. Early childhood is a crucial time for learning and development, it is during this time that children are most receptive to ideas and concepts. However, in this digital era, I think there is a need to strengthen the interest and love of our children towards nature.
By raising awareness and educating them about the environment, we can instill in them a sense of responsibility and understanding about their impact on the world around them. Through this, we can help them develop a lasting sense of appreciation and respect for nature. I believe that they should be included in this cause. They should be involved.
Besides, this isn’t just for the environment, this is also advantageous for every child’s health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that spending time in nature helps improve cognitive functioning, boost immune function and reduce stress and anxiety. I believe this is a significant step towards building a more sustainable and healthy future for us and our home. As we aspire to heal the earth, we heal ourselves too.
What tip can you share to promote eco-tourism in your City or Municipality?
I count it a great privilege to live in a City that envisions itself as a place where man and nature can truly co-exist in harmony. Puerto Princesa, being the eco-tourism hub that it is, has already made significant efforts and taken initiatives to promote eco-tourism. This has even become part of our local culture and festivities.
While my advocacy focuses on giving children the opportunity to take part in the protection and preservation of our natural resources, with the number of people visiting our City, I also want to accord the same opportunity to our tourists by taking part in the same engagement. Launching a program such as "One Seed, One Visit" is a timely, collaborative, and relevant engagement. For every visit, one seed is given to the tourists. Then, they will be given a chance to plant that seed along their trip on any designated planting sites in the city. By incorporating an option for an environmental conservation activity in our tour packages, we give them the opportunity to join us in this cause and leave a mark in our home.