Words | Flor leano
Chic, confident and charming, Ahtisa Manalo captured the hearts of the audience and claimed the 2018 Binibining Pilipinas-Ms. International crown although she was a first-timer in this prestigious pageant and
definitely was not an early favorite. Being young at the age of twenty, she was full of life and looked naturally fresh and glowing during the pageant. Of course, her mestiza features make her a certified head-turner but she also wows her spectators with her intelligence. During the Q&A, she answered with spontaneity and composure and left the judges in awesome admiration. Ahtisa said that as beauty queens, they should constructively respond to criticisms. This has probably been her guiding principle in life so she keeps the advice of her mentors. While some young people hate to be corrected, she allowed herself to be molded and never had a qualm when given some fort of disciple. And now, look at where she is! She is enjoying the fruit of her sacrifices with the sash and crown of pride as 2018 Binibining Pilipinas-Ms. International and soon, she will fly to Japan to represent the country.
Initially, she is learning basic Nihonggo and mastering Japanese greetings in preparation for the pageant. She also familiarizes herself with the Japanese culture and would like to know more about the Japanese. She admits loving Japan more now that she has learned a lot about this country. “Ms. International is all about culture appreciation. I love learning culture and promote respect for culture as well,” she explains. She said that her love for culture probably stemmed from her stint as a festival queen. In 2017, she finished 2nd Runner-up when she represented the Province of Quezon in Reyna ng Aliwan. Before the pageant, she really spent a lot of time in learning more about the culture, values, traits and heritage of Quezon so she could proudly represent her province. “When ate Kylie [Versoza] competed for the 2017 Ms. International, she also learned the Japanese culture. This was probably one of the reasons she won. That is why, I will do the same,” she adds.
Now that she is a certified beauty queen, not much has changed in her she said. Although winning a crown instantly gives pressure on keeping one’s looks, she stays true to herself. “Before the pageant, I was comfortable in pants, shirts, and sneakers. If I have my way, it would still be this way,” she shares. Her simple demeanor being raised in Quezon Province remains she said because twisting her taste and style to please others is not her cup of tea. “When it comes to fashion, I believe that you have to wear something that you are most comfortable with not because it’s the current craze,” she reveals. When it comes to beauty, she defines it as being confident in one’s own skin. Meaning, you have to love who you are and what you are made of. She bubbly shared that she mastered “kilay art” and can finish a perfectly arched eyebrows in just a minute! “I love doing my own eyebrows and I further accentuate my eyes with eyeliner. I think my eyes make me look attractive so I emphasize them a great deal,” she says. When she is not too busy, she follows the eleven-step skin care routine but can just go for a thorough facial wash when she immediately wants to rest. She goes by the principle of healthy diet and stays fit with 40 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrates and 20 percent healthy fats. She trims down to perfection with swimming and will probably do more fitness activities as the pageant approaches. She strongly recommends reading as it sharpens the mind. Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom is her favorite book as it teaches about how one should live and shows that every action has a certain effect on a person and to others.
Armed with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, this young lady is all prepped up for bigger challenges. She thinks that age should not hinder one to achieve. “At a young age, people are full of power and dynamism so they should strive harder. In this way, they will be surprised at what they can do and achieve,” she stresses. She also advised that people should take advantage of their age so they can plan and start building up their future. In order to succeed she said that people must focus on discovering their strengths then plan well what to achieve. “Finally, do not let anyone say what you cannot do. If not, people’s opinion will drive you nuts,” she ends.
Photographer: Ari Simangan
MUA: Grynne Bejarin
Hair Stylist: Arnel Palmera
Stylist: Patrick Henry
Associate Stylist: Ali Abdullah
Video: Edward Keeler