Driving Ms Earth
Beauty pageants are big in the Philippines. Majority of the mothers of the previous generation may have wished their daughters end up as beauty queens. My mother is no exception. She did everything to bring me up unscathed, flawless, able to express my opinions and exposed to different designers that can help push me to that direction. I did exactly the opposite, participating in contact sports that got me heavily exposed to the sun, getting marking cuts and bruises from biking and running as far away as possible from being a demure and poised candidate. If it’s any consolation to her, I was – and still am – opinionated.
Beauty pageant winners usually have to have beauty and brains. But now the third largest beauty pageant in the world has added being a vanguard to the environment as part of the criteria of the Ms Earth pageant.
The pageant is a Philippine-based production, which selects among candidates from different parts of the world the spokesperson for the Miss Earth Foundation and United Nations Environmental Programme. It started in 2001 and had its fair share of publicity including uproar when the Afghan candidate in 2003 competed in a bikini, causing a national scandal in Afghanistan. There were other highly publicized candidates in the coming years, all about women, breaking the bonds of tradition and fighting for their place in the sun.
Part of the responsibility of Ms Earth is to help promote preservation of the environment through several campaigns including school tours, coastal clean up, tree planting etc. Ms Earth—along with her court, Ms Earth-Fire, Ms Earth-Water and Ms Earth-Air—brings attention to different environmental preservation programs including those of the World Wide Fund and Greenpeace.
This year for the Philippine finals, Peugeot, also a vanguard of beauty and environment protection, invited me to join the bevy of beauties from different parts of the country (not to compete—I don’t think having three kids, married and not even close from having a bikini body will pass in the application process) as they compete to be the country’s representative to the Ms Earth Finals in Thailand.
Ms Earth Friendly
More than 40 candidates were on board 12 Peugeot 3008s, to be shuttled from Manila to Batangas City. They were received by the city’s mayor and were toured in some of the city’s landmarks in the scorching heat of the sun at 11 a.m. Good thing the ladies enjoyed the comfortable ride of the 3008, which scored a 23.05 from an average of 24.32 of the chicdriven makeup test. Although some of them may have had problems putting their lipsticks during the test, it scored a four-fifths on the eyelashes and eyeliner application. The 3008 windshield is more slanted than usual and has a panoramic roof, which gives you quite a big perspective on the road and lots of natural light when putting make up on, but offers less protection from the sun.
A good number of the candidates were tall or wear really high heels, which require a weird angle when seating; the girls appreciated the spacious interiors and legroom—perfect for beauty queen legs. This car only got a Pro-RH bill because of its 5-seater capacity; however the seats are luxurious and offer just the right hug to give a comfortable power nap to keep the beauties fresh.
On the backside, the 3008’s height adjustable boot made it possible to accommodate the candidates’ luggage. This feature of the Peugeot really comes in handy on items you want to hide…your laptop bag and other personal items, when parking. There are other neat stuff like the flashlight and the push button collapse of the 60:40 backseat (which definitely had lady drivers in mind.) Other accessories that comes with are the heads up display, lots of buttons on the steering wheel, start and stop buttons, paddle shifters and a cooler center console to put your makeup kit in.
The safety aspect is also fully covered. It has airbags where you need it and alarms when you’re parking and stuff; it even has a light indicating whether all you passengers are wearing seatbelt.
Peugeot has the active start and stop technology that halts the engine when you step on the brakes, without cutting the AC and the other stuff. It promoting fuel saving and the fact that it is diesel powered give drivers a wining combination. This function takes time to get used to and sometimes a little distracting while driving in traffic situations, but you have the option to turn it off.
Ms Allure and Ms Active
The finalists, who are now in PonteFino Resort and Residences for their swimsuit competition, will also compete for a special title Ms Allure and Ms Active. (The 5-door diesel crossover comes in 1.6 Active,1.6 and 2.0 Allure.) Given the girls very hectic schedule, 5-inch platforms, and the requirement to be perky and camera ready all the time, I must say the title is fitting.
Things I really like with the Peugeot 3008:
1. The inside is really luxurious
2. The ride is a typical European car (premium feel)
3. The panoramic roof is cool especially on date nights; it’s like cruising in the moonlight
Things I am not so cool with the Peugeot 3008:
1. The start and stop takes time to get use to; it does come with a disabling button though
2. No light with the vanity mirror
3. The slanted windshield offer less sun protection for my hands and feet, thus I needed to double up on the sunblock
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