MANILA - Miss International 2018 first runner-up Ahtisa Manalo has withdrawn her bid for this year’s Miss Universe Philippines pageant.
Through a series of posts on her Instagram Story on Saturday, Manalo said she is hoping for everyone’s understanding as she chooses to prioritize her health first.
“I was hoping that I'll be able to join this year. But after considering the opinion of everyone important in my life, we decided it'd be best for me not to push through,” she said.
“Believe me that I want to give you the fight you want to see, but I honestly don't think I can manage to physically perform the duties of a candidate as this surely involves physically draining tasks,” she added.
For now, Manalo said she is determined to work on “getting back to my 100% and continue hoping to step on the Miss Universe stage one day.”
It was in December when Manalo first made a cryptic post on Instagram, prompting her friends and fans to ask if she is setting her sights on the Miss Universe Philippines crown.
Manalo did not give further details then, but the timing of her post drew speculations that she is planning to join the new Miss Universe Philippines pageant.
She made the statement shortly after Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) confirmed that it has lost the Miss Universe franchise in the Philippines. BPCI is the same group that sent Manalo as a representative to Miss International, as well as Catriona Gray to Miss Universe, in 2018.
A separate namesake organization will hold the Miss Universe Philippines pageant starting in 2020.