Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Distinguished Josenian alumna Jamie Herrell visited USJ-R yesterday afternoon and talked about nature preservation before tourism students of the university.
Herrell, who rose to fame by winning the Miss Philippines Earth and Miss Earth titles in 2014, has been a staunch advocate for environmental protection and tourism promotion in the country.
“I’ve been to many beauty spots of the Philippines, but what saddens me is how we don’t take care of our environment,” she told College of Commerce students at the Engineering AVR.
She lamented how human greed has led to the devastation of the environment in exchange for profit. She cited as an example the mining activities in Cantilan, a second class municipality in the province of Surigao del Sur.
“They are really into mining to the extent that maybe at some point that beautiful island might become red, all of its natural resources taken away, brought out of the country in exchange for money that won’t even go to our people’s pocket,” she said.
Herrell is of Filipino American descent. She was born in the US and came home to Cebu, her mother’s home province, where she studied Mass Communication at USJ-R before transferring to another school to study acting.
Despite having travelled to see the world, she said she is still smitten by the beauty of the Philippines.
“Philippines fascinates me so much more compared to all the countries that I went to,” she revealed, adding that everything in Europe — its buildings and churches — all looked the same.
She said something is lacking in other cultures which she only finds in the Philippines — and that is the warmth of the people.
“I know people who travelled around the world and they say that they’ve never seen people so happy and so hospitable in any country that they’ve been other than the Philippines,” she said, adding that this Filipino brand of happiness was most evident even during the aftermath of Supertyphoon Yolanda in 2013.
“We were smiling and we were happy, and that something’s to be proud about because when times get worse, we don’t wail and cry; we smile and we think forward,” she said.
However, Herrell said what’s holding the Philippines back were not only the corruption of its leaders that resulted to the poverty of its people, but also the Filipino’s “lack of passion in loving the Philippines.”
“Let’s admit it, we’re not proud enough,” she said, adding that Filipinos were so hospitable that they only think of what the foreigners would think.
“We don’t think about our country, we don’t think about what we want, what we need or what to do to make our country better,” she said.
She told Josenians that to be really proud of the country, one has to work hard for it. She urged them to help each other and help preserve the environment.
“That’s where it all begins. Philippines for me is a like diamond in the rough,” she said. “The only thing that lasts needs a little bit of polishing, and the one that needs to be polished is not our ecotourism spots, not our food — it’s us, it’s our lack of pride and how we should care for the environment.”
Het visit at USJ-R was her first stop in a nationwide campaign to promote eco-tourism through her ISLA 7107, a slipper line business that showcases the country’s tourist spots in the designs.
Text by IPA; photos by USJ-R IMC
University of San Jose - Recoletos
Year Founded 1947