Philippines' Ahtisa Manalo crowned 1st runner-up in Miss International 2018

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 8) —  Philippines' Ahtisa Manalo was named first runner-up in the 2018 Miss International pageant held in Tokyo, Japan on Friday.

Venezelua's Mariem Claret Velazco Garcia bested 76 other candidates to bring home the international crown. She succeeds Indonesia's Kevin Lilliana.

The 21-year old Miss International stunned in the national costume portion as she flaunted a sparkling, multi-colored ethnic dress reportedly inspired by the Subanon tribe in Mindanao.

 

Manalo, on the other hand, donned a simple yellow one-piece for the swimwear competition.

 

The Filipina beauty also captivated during the evening gown competition, where she wore an intricately beaded Michael Cinco creation.

 

"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," Manalo said during the Top 8 speech.

"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."

"If I become Miss International, I will continue to be the voice of the youth in showing that nothing is impossible with hard work and determination. And with these beautiful ladies with me tonight, all families of beauty queens, all young dreamers and achievers, we will show the world that it is love, peace, and beauty that we care about. And together, we will make a difference," she added.

Reabetswe Sechoaro of South Africa was crowned second runner-up, while Bianca Tirsin of Romania and Anabella Castro of Colombia bagged the third and fourth runners-up citations, respectively.

The Philippines has brought home a total of six crowns from this beauty contest. Kylie Verzosa was the last Filipina to win the title in 2016.