TOKYO – Ma. Ahtisa Manalo, the Philippines’ bet to this year’s Miss International Beauty Pageant, was named first runner-up in the coronation night held at Tokyo Dome City Hall Friday night.
The 21-year-old accountancy graduate from Candelaria, Quezon mentioned about empowering the younger generation in her speech during the tilt’s top 8 round.
“Miss International is a celebration of youth and empowerment. I’ve always believed that age is not a barrier to reach our dreams or to have an impact on others. At 15, I started to help programs in my community for street children. At 19, I graduated college. At 20, I realized that I can speak for good causes to a wider audience, that’s why I joined our national pageant,” Manalo said.
“If I become Miss International, I would continue being the voice of the youth in showing that nothing is impossible with hard work and determination. And with these beautiful ladies with me tonight, a family of beauty queens – all beautiful young dreamers and achievers, we will show the world that it is love, peace, and beauty that we truly care about. And together, we shall make a difference,” she continued.
Miss Venezuela Mariem Velazco, besting 76 other candidates, won the crown.
The Philippines has six Miss International winners to date: Gemma Teresa Cruz (1964), Aurora Pijuan (1970), Melanie Marquez (1979), Precious Lara Quigaman (2005), Bea Rose Santiago (2013) and Kylie Verzosa (2016).
Here are the other winners:
4th runner-up – Colombia
3rd runner-up – Romania
2nd runner-up – South Africa
Miss International Asia – Singapore
Miss International America – Argentina
Miss International Europe – Netherlands
Miss International Africa – South Africa
Miss International Oceania – Guam
(Words by Florenda Corpuz, Photographs by Din Eugenio)