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40 women vie for Miss Asia Pacific in Manila

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Asia’s mother of all pageants is back!

Forty women from around the world will compete in the Miss Asia Pacific International 2017 beauty contest which will be held in Manila on Nov. 28.

Jacqueline Tan, president of Miss Asia Pacific International pageant, said that the candidates are expected to arrive in the country starting Nov. 10. Later, they will be presented to the members of the press.

Mutya ng Pilipinas president Hemilyn Escudero Tamayo (center) poses with Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia Pacific 2017 Ilene Astrid de Vera (left) and Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism International 2017 Jannie Loudette Alipo-on during send-off held at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City. (Robert Requintina / MANILA BULLETIN)

Mutya ng Pilipinas president Hemilyn Escudero Tamayo (center) poses with Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia Pacific 2017 Ilene Astrid de Vera (left) and Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism International 2017 Jannie Loudette Alipo-on during send-off held at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City. (Robert Requintina / MANILA BULLETIN)

Dubbed the mother of all beauty pageants in Asia, the Miss Asia Pacific International 2017 beauty contest returns after a decade of hiatus.

“With its advocacy to foster love and appreciation of cultural, physical, and spiritual diversities, Miss Asia Pacific International is set to inspire everyone to be comfortable in their own skin and to believe that their unique and distinct traits are key qualities that make them beautiful,” said Tan.

Tessa Le Conge of the Netherlands is the reigning Miss Asia Pacific International.

This year’s Philippine delegate to the international pageant is Ilene Astrid de Vera, 22, a mass communications graduate from the University of the Philippines in Cebu.

De Vera currently works as a marketing executive in a real estate company and has been modeling on the side for six years under Models Association of Cebu.

“I was handpicked to represent my hometown Cebu. When I got the news, I only had a week left to prepare for Mutya ng Pilipoinas. Talk about being an instant beauty queen. I had a simple life before entering the world of pageantry. I worked in marketing for a real estate and leasing company and did ramp modeling on my free days,” she said.

De Vera recalled that she was 15 when she was scouted by a designer while attending a wedding ceremony.

“The funny thing about it is that I really wasn’t supposed to be there because my mom just made me her last-minute plus one. Now 7 years after, I’m proud to look back at the work I’ve done and the people I’ve met through this job,” she added.

Many may not know it but de Vera joined some rallies and demonstrations in and outside the campus.

“I specifically joined those that concerned our right to free education and just compensation of workers. For so long, rallies and demonstrations were taboo in our society and that was mainly the reason why I joined it.

“I want to show to people and change the way they think about rallies. Through these, we can actually achieve power against the oppressors of our rights. Rallies are a form of unification and they can always be done in a peaceful way. In fact, the
Constitution allows the free execution of such so long that they do not cause prejudice to the rights of others.

“This chunk of my life is something I’m most proud of. It opened my mind to societal and national issues and molded me to become a more assertive and conscious Iska,” said de Vera.

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