AFTER four months of official pageant events, Chelsea Manalo, the daughter of an African-American father and a Filipino mother, was crowned Miss Universe Philippines during the contest’s culminating activity on May 22 at the SM Mall of Asia in Parañaque.

The 22-year-old from Meycauayan, Bulacan is a graduate of Tourism Management from De La Salle University.

Her background came front and center during the Q&A portion, with her answer: “As a woman of color, I have always faced challenges in my life. I was told that beauty has standards. But for me, I have listened to my mother to always listen to myself, uphold what you have. Because of these, I am already influencing a lot of women who are facing me right now. As a transformational woman, I have here 52 other delegates with me who have helped me to become the woman that I am.”

Stacey Gabriel of Cainta was named 1st runner-up, Quezon Province’s Ma. Ahtisa Manalo was named 2nd runner up, Tarah Valencia of Baguio was 3rd runner up, while Christi Lynn McGarry of Taguig was 4th runner up. The pageant’s runners-up will be representing the country in several other international beauty pageants.

Ms. Manalo will be competing in the 2024 Miss Universe beauty pageant in Mexico later this year.