At the stroke of midnight, Cinderella’s majestic ball gown turned back into a raggedy frock, and her imposing carriage returned to its original state as a humble pumpkin. But this was no fairy tale.
Cinderella Faye Obeñita of the Philippines earned a bejeweled tiara as the clock hit 12 in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh, at the culmination of the 2021 Miss Intercontinental pageant on Friday night (Saturday morning in Manila).
The 25-year-old tourism officer from Cagayan de Oro City bested 71 other aspirants to become the second Miss Intercontinental winner from the country, just three years after Karen Gallman became the first Filipino woman to bring home the crown.
Obeñita earned the right to represent the Philippines in the 49-year-old global tilt when she captured one of the four titles at stake in the 2021 Binibining Pilipinas pageant in July. She was then considered a wildcard semifinalist in the national competition, earning a Top 13 spot after garnering the highest number of online votes.
Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) cheered the new queen in a social media post upon her coronation. “Stella Marquez Araneta and BPCI congratulate [Obeñita] for bringing home the second Miss Intercontinental crown to the Philippines,” the organization said.
“From a Binibini who won the hearts of many Filipino fans, she impressed the whole world with her grace and charm all throughout her pageant performance in Egypt,” BPCI added.Obeñita, the lone Asian in the winners’ circle, was also proclaimed continental queen of Asia and Oceania. She also received the “popular vote” and best in gala dress awards.
Grace in any language
During the crucial Q&A round, she was asked if speaking English is important for an international ambassador like a Miss Intercontinental winner.
She responded: “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, 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 that she is into.”
Obeñita continued: “I have learned here actually in Miss Intercontinental that a woman should be or should possess power of substance. 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 wherein it’s very hard to survive. And as 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.”
Provincial gov’t worker
Best in swimsuit Paulina Uceda from Mexico took the first runner-up spot, while Romy Simpkins of the United Kingdom was second runner-up.
Kelly-Mary Anette from Seychelles was third runner-up, while Canada’s Kaitlyn Li was fourth. Maria Paula Castillo of Colombia completed the Top 6 as fifth runner-up.
Misamis Oriental Gov. Bambi Emano also extended his congratulations to his constituent.
“I am beyond grateful and proud that our very own Cindy Obeñita, who works as a senior tourism operations officer in the provincial government of Misamis Oriental, won the Miss Intercontinental 2021 title,” Emano said in a social media post.
“Her victory is something worthy to be shared by all Misamisnons, and the whole Philippines in general. I am optimistic that she will continue to be our tourism ambassadress, promoting the province of Misamis Oriental to the whole world. Congratulations to Cindy Obenita,” he said.