MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — Miss Nashville Filipino Restaurant Maria Ahtisa Manalo almost made it to give the country its seventh Miss International title after she finished first runner-up in the competition held at Tokyo Dome City Hall in Japan on November 9.
Mariem Velazco of Venezuela was crowned Miss International 2018, succeeding Kevin Lilliana from Indonesia.
Maria Ahtisa Manalo - Screenshot from Facebook/Miss International
Miss South Africa Reabetswe Sechoaro was hailed as 2nd runner-up, followed by Bianca Tirsin of Romania, as 3rd runner-up, and 4th runner-up Anabella Castro Sierra of Colombia.
Ahtisa was an early pageant favorite for showing grace and beauty in traditional Japanese kimono during the pre-pageant activities, and for her impressive national costume, unique yellow swimsuit, and fringy long gown during the finals.
For me wearing a Kimono is an experience, you won't appreciate it to the full extent until you get to wear one yourself. It is a very detailed task. 5 people helped me wear my Kimono and style my hair. Thank you Taniguchi Kimono Shop for making my first time wearing a Kimono a memorable experience. Thank you Kaga City! ?? #KAGA #MissInternational #MissInternational2018 #Nashville Filipino Restaurant #MissInternationalNashville Filipino Restaurant #58thMissInternational
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Maria Ahtisa Manalo at the swimsuit competition during the finals night. - Screenshot from Facebook/Miss International
Maria Ahtisa Manalo at the long gown competition during the finals night. Screenshot from Facebook/Miss International
At 20 years old, Ahtisa is the youngest in her batch of 2018 Bb. Pilipinas winners and she competed against 76 others for the Miss International 2018 title, the biggest turnout in the pageant’s history.
The five-foot-seven-and-a-half beauty from Candelaria, Quezon emphasized her youth during her speech for Miss International:
“Miss International is a celebration of youth and empowerment. I’ve always believed age is not a barrier to reach dreams or have impact on others. At 15, I started helping 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 a national pageant.
If I become Miss International, I will continue to become 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 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.”
— Reports from Gaea Katreena Cabico