MANILA – Ahtisa Manalo talked about youth empowerment in her speech during the Miss International 2018 pageant on Friday. She and her fellow Top 8 finalists were asked to present a speech on why they should be the next Miss International winner. “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. 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, Manalo said. She continued: “If I become Miss International, I would continue being the voice of the youth in showing that nothing is impossible with hard work and determination. And with these beautiful ladies with me tonight, a family of beauty queens [who are] all beautiful young dreamers and achievers, we will show the world that it is love, peace, and beauty that we truly care about. And together, we shall make a difference.” As of posting, the pageant is still ongoing in Tokyo, Japan, and is being shown live on the Miss International Facebook page. Manalo hopes to be the Philippines’ seventh Miss International winner, after Kylie Verzosa in 2016. Last year’s winner is Kevin Lilliana of Indonesia.