Bb. Pilipinas-International 2018 Ahtisa Manalo looked radiant and queenly as she faced members of the press at the send-off party organized by the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) at the Novotel Manila, Araneta Center before her trip to Japan to compete at the 2018 Miss International pageant.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment, and I’m not going in Japan to settle for anything less than the title,” Ahtisa confidently declared to the delight of her well-wishers and supporters that included Miss Universe Philippine Catriona Gray and Miss Supranational Philippines Jehza Huelar.
READ: Ready to win the crown
“I have to be the best in every way I can, even when nobody is looking, to stand out but not overpowering others. To meet with as much people as I can and to consider the Japanese culture as they are known to be homogenous people,” Ahtisa said when asked on her game plan and strategy in the forthcoming international pageant.
“I have to incorporate issues which are the focus of the Miss International pageant. I’m going to tackle women empowerment, gender equality, inner strength as well as the cultural side of the pageant,” the doll-face Ahtisa said regarding her planned speech for the finals.
Ahtisa, a 21-year-old Accountancy graduate of Manuel Enverga University Foundation, from Candelaria, Quezon is aiming for the country’s seventh Miss International title since Gemma Cruz won the first in 1964 and to tie Venezuela for the country with the most number of wins.
“Becoming a beauty queen has changed me a lot. I have to be prim and proper, I have to be responsible in what I say and in all my actions,” Ahtisa revealed. “I’m ready to cut my hair short when I apply at PNP,” she said regarding her wish to become a police officer.
Ahtisa was asked on the social issues and advocacies closest to her heart. On the LGBT issue: “Every gender deserves equal rights and equal opportunities in life. Many of my friends and a lot of those who have helped me in my career come from the LGBT community.” On animal rights and welfare: “I have 21 cats would you believe? I remember I cried a lot when my first pet died when I was about nine years old.”
On dealing with bashers: “I admit that I don’t post a lot. I don’t get affected by comments from people who don’t really know me.”
On other advocacy she wants to work on: “Environmental preservation which is the first issue that I took when I first joined a beauty contest.”
“I can’t wait to party with you (as Miss International),” Gray told Ahtisa. “Don’t forget to pray wherever you are in Japan,” Huelar advised her ‘baby girl’ co-queen.
Reigning titlist Kevin Lilliana of Indonesia will crown her successor during the Miss International 2018 finals to be held on Nov. 9.
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