Cebuana beauty queen, Maria Gigante, bags first “Universal Woman” title for the Philippines

Philippine contender Maria Gigante won the Universal Woman title in a ceremony held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Friday, March 22. She beat Lisanda Chirinos from Venezuela, who became the first runner-up. Before they announced the 24 semi-finalists, Maria also won the Universal Woman – Social Media award.

Cebuana beauty queen, Maria Gigante, bags first "Universal Woman" title for the Philippines | CebuFinest

Cebuana beauty queen, Maria Gigante, bags first “Universal Woman” title for the Philippines

Maria, who is from Cebu and works as a host and entrepreneur, outshone 43 other contestants to take the crown from last year’s winner, Valentina Sanchez, who is also from Venezuela. This stopped Venezuela from winning two years in a row.

The Universal Woman pageant is for women aged 25 to 45, and there are no rules about how tall, heavy, or married you can be. Even moms can join! The first contest was in the United Arab Emirates last year.

Maria also won the Universal Woman Sympathy award in the early rounds, and her project to help others was one of the top five chosen by the judges. She got the most votes in the online poll, which won her the Universal Woman Social Media award during the final show.

Three other contestants were named as part of Maria’s court in Cambodia: Elisa Myshyne from France as second runner-up, Brianna Mai from Cambodia as third runner-up, and Tavera Pena Chabelli from the Dominican Republic as fourth runner-up.

Newly crowned Universal Woman Maria Gigante from the Philippines (center) poses with her court, composed of (from left) Lisandra Chirinos, Brianna Mai, Tavera Pena Chabellie and Elisa Myshyne. [Photo credit: Universal Woman Facebook Page]

ALSO READ: From Cebu to Earth: Jamie Herrell, second Cebuana to win Miss Earth

Maria has been in other big competitions before, like Binibining Pilipinas and Miss World Philippines. She was also crowned Binibining Cebu – Charity in 2017. Arnold Vegafria, who manages talents, including Maria, chose her as Universal Woman Philippines 2024. He’s the one who runs the Miss World Philippines contest Maria joined in 2022.

During her reign, Gigante is expected to work on charitable projects with groups that the Universal Woman organization has chosen to partner with.

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