PH’s Maria Luisa Varela is Miss Planet

The Philippines may have missed the first cut at the Miss Universe pageant earlier this year, ending a 12-year placement streak in the prestigious global tilt, but it was able to score its first victory in a young international competition—the Miss Planet International contest.

Maria Luisa Varela from Navotas City bested 13 other aspirants in ceremonies staged at Koh Pich Theater in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Jan. 29 to inherit the title from Monique Best of South Africa.

This is the second edition of the international pageant conceived in 2019. No pageant was held in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the 2022 competition was canceled because of an Ebola out…

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