Using pageant influence to advocate for Environment Sustainability and Philanthropy – the story of Miah Llanes
A strong proponent of global philanthropy, Miah Llanes believes in the transformative power of environmental sustainability to create a safer and healthy planet for us all. In 2020, Miah joined the Miss Philippines Earth’s pageant, and is now actively serving as an ambassador of environmental protection campaigns worldwide. We had an interesting chat with Miah to get to know her better, and also about her advocacy.
Please tell us about yourself, early life, education, work experiences etc.
I grew up in a small province in the Philippines where I spent most of my childhood years. My humble beginnings have profoundly taught me the value of respect, kindness and faith in God. My parents instilled in us the critical value of education. I moved to the main city to obtain my college education and I can say that it’s one of the best decisions I made. I have lived in three countries namely the Philippines, USA, and currently working in the cosmopolitan city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
What influenced your decision to participate in Miss Philippines Earth?
Since my childhood days, it has always been my dream to join a national pageant. I am passionate about the environment and I believe that if you truly love something, you will make a way to engage and contribute to its betterment. I volunteer and became an active member of the Emirates Environmental Group, a Dubai-based NGO that aims to protect the environment.
My principal decision to join the pageant was mainly influenced by these three things; important elements that are so close to my heart: my love for the environment, children and education. By joining the Miss Philippines Earth, I was able to secure an international platform to voice my global advocacy of integrating environmental education across all school curriculums, and more specifically, emphasize climate change education to the younger generation.
Please share your journey/experiences during the pageant and how it has changed your life.
It is such an exceptional privilege to be an international delegate of this years’ pageant, and more specifically, represent the Filipino Community in Dubai. With the fabulously talented effort by my team, I was able to represent the Filipino community in Dubai, and highlight the global talents of the Philippine fashion industry in the Middle East . In fact, I felt that I had already won just by joining; it has been an absolutely “crazy” experience for me since this was my first national pageant. Although the pageant was also virtual, and we had to struggle in finding resources due to the situation, I was beyond blessed to have an amazing and talented Filipino community, who so generously and unconditionally supported my journey. As a Filipino, we have the spirit of “bayanihan” culture where we help one another most especially during hard times. Overall, the national pageant has dramatically changed my life in a way that has strongly fueled my passion to continue my advocacy and proactively engage in initiatives related to children’s education, environment, and global health.
Your advocacy project; what is it about and what upcoming activities do you have?
I was raised by parents who taught us the value of compassion to others by sharing our blessings. Recently, I joined an initiative focused on giving groceries to less fortunate communities deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic here in Dubai and back home. My family and I also participated in distributing goods in our province, and I am happy that, even though I was not physically there, they found various means to maintain the importance of humanitarianism to COVID19 affected communities. These international initiatives came as no surprise to me partly when I was in high school, I also became a leading voice in initiating different campaigns in helping poor families in our area. During my college years, I utilized my birthday resources in giving away meals to street children and other less privileged people living in the streets of Recto, Manila. Next month, I will be celebrating my birthday and have already teamed up with my high school friends to start a fund-raising campaign for RCS students for distance learning needs to provide school supplies, including printers and tablets to the students in my hometown and also with iUplift Philippines through GoFundMe. This is in response to the growing needs of students that will aid them in distance learning. I am really excited and looking forward to this and I can also add that I support and promote slow & sustainable fashion – fight against plastic.
What is your opinion on adding subjects related to Environmental Sustainability to the curriculum, and at what age do you think children should start learning about it?
Educational intervention related to climate change needs to be implemented at an early stage of a child’s development process. Therefore, I feel the need to really integrate Environmental Education and Sustainability across all school curriculums, and make children fully cognizant about the impacts of global climate change both locally and globally. I want them to explore environmental issues, engage in problem solving and to think critically about ways to take complex and multilevel actions in order to protect and improve the environment. The younger generation are our hope and future, and we must instill this type of educational to shape their future outlook. In fact, I think the younger the better, so the first grade would be ideal. Other countries like Italy have already executed such concept, and more recently New Jersey in the US, so I think that it is really something that we need to take action and have broader stakeholder discussions on.
How do you plan to use your influence to impact the lives of others positively?
I want to inspire other people to show love and respect for our mother earth because it is our home. Even after the damage we continue to cause, it remains forgiving. It is in our human nature to act without realizing every risk, providing us with food and water to sustain life. Our well-being solely depends on this planet.
Finally, what advice would you give the youth who are still trying to find their purpose in life?
I believe that finding our purpose in life can be a lifelong endeavor. It is okay if you are unsure yet and may feel completely lost. Just breath, but follow your dreams, don’t let your fears be bigger than your dreams knowing that you are capable. Never give up, trust yourself and be confident that whatever life brings, you are limitless and that one day everything will make sense.
Support Miah’s fundraising project here:
Marc Anthony Sanchez
Special thanks to Goshopia
Lorena De La Torre
Hair & Makeup Artists:
Tristan Czar R. Crisostomo
Michael Angelo Gomez
Special thanks for Support:
Kagandahang Flores Family headed by Tito Rodgil Flores
Miss Philippines Earth Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXvIhzWD9qg