Miss Asia Pacific International Sharifa Akeel of the Philippines (center) poses with (from left) 3rd runner-up Misheelt Narmandakh of Mongolia, 1st runner-up Gabriela Palma of Brazil, 2nd runner-up Melania Gonzales of Costa Rica and 4th runner-up Nataly Angarita of Venezuela during the grand coronation night held at the Resort World Manila in Pasay City the other night.
Miguel De Guzman
Sultan Kudarat teacher crowned 2018 Miss Asia-Pacific International
Celso de Guzman Caparas (The Philippine Star) - October 6, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Mutya ng Pilipinas Sharifa Areef Mohammad Omar Akeel was crowned 2018 Miss Asia-Pacific International, besting 48 other beauties during the coronation night held at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila the other night.

The 21-year-old, 5’8” tall Sharifa is a Muslim teacher from Lebak, Sultan Kudarat. She is a Bachelor of Elementary Education graduate of Notre Dame of Salaman College.

Sharifa also won Best in Swimsuit, Best in Evening Gown, Darling of the Press, Best in National Costume 2nd runner-up, Miss ISKIN and one of five ambassadors of the University of Perpetual Help Systems.

Declared runners-up were Gabriela Palma of Brazil (first, also Best in Swimsuit), Melania Gonzales of Costa Rica (second), Misheelt Narmandakh of Mongolia (third) and Nataly Angarita of Venezuela (fourth).

The five finalists wearing gold ensembles by Albert Andrada answered a common question asked by host Joey Mead-King: What do you think is the biggest issue of diversity that the world is facing today and how do you think you can play a part to help resolve it?

  Akeel during the swimsuit portion of the pageant. Miguel De Guzman

Sharifa’s winning answer, “One of the biggest issues in our country is cyber bullying. We have to accept the fact that all of us were born with strength and weaknesses and with that we have our own imperfections. Let us appreciate one’s uniqueness and relevance. And as a millennial, I believe the millennials value compassion and idealism, striving for uniqueness and authenticity because you are a beautiful creation of God, no matter who you are and wherever you are in the world. Beauty is indeed diverse and it is visible to all of us.”

Completing the Top 10 were Raquel van Gool, Netherlands; Kilmara Salcedo, Panama (also Best in National Costume), Andreia Pereira, Portugal; Olga Plyusnina, Russia and Sirakan Chaiprasit, Thailand.

Other special awardees were Didar Atmaja, Kazakhstan (Miss Photogenic and Miss Talent), Sapir Turkenitz, Australia (Miss Congeniality) and Kim Vito, Italy (People’s Choice).

Miss Asia-Pacific International 2016 Tessa le Conge of the Netherlands, beauty and wellness guru Cory Quirino, Consul General of Monaco Fortune Ledesma and Renee Salud were among the judges. Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez also hosted the four-hour long event.

Sharifa is the fifth Filipina to win the crown after Charina Zaragoza (1982), Bong Dimayacyac (1983), Lorna Legaspi (1989) and Michelle Aldana (1993).

2018 MISS ASIA-PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL BEAUTY PAGEANT
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