(UPDATED) The Philippines' Cindy Obeñita won the Miss Intercontinental 2021 crown in Egypt on Friday (early Saturday in Manila).
The 25-year-old senior tourism officer from Cagayan de Oro, a newcomer in the pageant scene, won over 70 candidates in the competition.
She is now the country's second Miss Intercontinental titleholder, after Karen Gallman in 2018/19.
During the question and answer portion, Obeñita was asked if speaking English is important for Miss Intercontinental.
"As an ambassador, I don't think that speaking a specific language is very important here in Miss Intercontinental or any pageant at all. As long as that woman is a woman of power and grace, commitment, and intelligence," Obeñita said.
She went on to stress that a Miss Intercontinental winner should possess a power of substance to give hope and inspiration.
"No matter what language she speaks, and that woman is actually a woman of style and substance, then she can win any pageant or any endeavor she is into. Also, it's very important, I have learned actually here in Miss Intercontinental, that a woman should possess power of substance," she said.
"And I believe I am that woman because that is the essence of a modern-day Miss Intercontinental -- that we are living in a world that's very hard to survive. And as a Miss Intercontinental, I would like to be that source of hope, that source of inspiration on the true power of beauty and that is felt on the kindness of our hearts and definitely on the sincerity of our loving actions," she added.
The Miss Intercontinental 2021 runners-up are: Mexico (1st runner-up), England (2nd runner-up), Seychelles (3rd runner-up), Canada (4th runner-up) and Colombia (5th runner-up).
Aside from the crown, the Filipina beauty queen was also named Miss Intercontinental-Asia Oceania.
Meanwhile, Binibining Pilipinas sent its warmest greetings to the newly-crowned queen.
"From wildcard to Miss Intercontinental 2021! Your Cinderella story is truly inspiring. Thank you for raising our flag, Cindy! Good morning, Pilipinas from our new Miss Intercontinental," the organization said on Instagram.
Obeñita became a local trending topic on Twitter last July after impressing the viewers of the Binibining Pilipinas pageant during the question-and-answer round.
Asked about the importance of luxury items for a woman amid a struggling economy triggered by the pandemic, Obeñita said she would rather be a woman "who understands the problems of the Philippines" and be the one to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."
The beauty queen graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Mass Communication from Liceo de Cagayan University. She said she has been "academically multi-decorated" since her elementary years.
Aside from working in the provincial government of Misamis Oriental, she is also an events host, model, and brand endorser.
Obeñita, who considers Mother Teresa and Kobe Bryant as her role models, is an advocate for cervical cancer awareness and prevention, as well as press freedom.