Miss Planet Philippines Maria Luisa Varela was crowned Miss Planet International 2023 on Sunday, January 29 at Koh Pich Theater in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The 26-year-old entrepreneur who also bagged the Social Media award became the first Filipina representative to win the international pageant. She succeeded the first winner from 2019, Monique Best of South Africa.
Jemima Ruth Mandemwa of Zimbabwe and Ono Aya of Japan were named the first and second runners-up respectively. Rounding out the Top 7 were Tiffany Ha of Vietnam, Katarina Juselius of Finland, Alina Safronova of Latvia, and Srey Leak Pok of Cambodia.
Miss Planet International was founded in Cambodia and according to its official website, the pageant’s advocacy focuses on environmental protection, multiculturalism, poverty, ethical economic progress, clean renewable energy, world peace, and education.
This year’s edition was supposed to be held last November in Uganda but due to some controversial incidents with the host organizers, several contestants backed out and the pageant was canceled.
The original representative from the Philippines was Binibining Pilipinas 2022 first runner-up Herlene Nicole Budol.
Meet the new Miss Planet International:
Photos: Miss Planet International, Maria Luisa Varela / Instagram
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