All the Times Ahtisa Manalo and Steffy Gerona Proved Their Genuine Friendship

All the Times Ahtisa Manalo and Steffy Gerona Proved Their Genuine Friendship


Beyond the dynamics of the competition, Miss Quezon Province and Miss Quirino prove that pageantry is also sisterhood

The Miss Universe Philippines competition may often cause distance between the candidates and their friends and family. In the months-long run up to the coronation night, these ladies navigate the emotional, mental, and physical challenges the pageant demands. But thankfully, they’re not alone. While there is indeed a race for the crown, forming bonds with fellow candidates becomes the backbone of a supportive and empowering community. These friendships go farther than the glittering stage, as Miss Quezon Province Ahtisa Manalo and Miss Quirino Stephanie Gerona prove so.

Miss Quezon Province
Miss Quirino

RELATED: The Four Queens from Miss Universe Philippines 2024 Competing in International Pageants

In the Spirit of Sisterhood


Where to next? Can you guess? In Boracay with my adorable roommate. I’m truly thankful to know you heartfully. Its rare to meet someone who is always so positive and happy. Love you Ahtisa! 💗 Love, Steffy Thank you @aquaboracay for having us! We had such a great time! #lovesteffygerona #ahtisamanalo

♬ original sound – STEFFY GERONA – STEFFY GERONA

It is easy to get consumed by the competition; the intensity and the passion is inherently part and parcel of the Miss Universe Philippines. However, past the dynamics of the competition, these queens found a way to foster the spirit of sisterhood during the activity-filled months of preparation for coronation night. During the girls’ swimsuit challenge in Boracay, Stephanie revealed that she was thankful she got to know her roommate, Ahtisa, so “heartfully.” “It’s rare to meet someone who is always so positive and happy,” she penned in her Instagram post; the two queens were holding hands in different outfits throughout their stay on the island. Ahtisa commented and replied, endearingly: “My love,” which is a testament to how close they became in the months leading up to Miss Universe Philippines.

In Celebration of Each Other

On coronation night, the top 10 delegates were called for a casual interview with hosts Jeannie Mai and Gabbi Garcia. Ahtisa’s question was: “If you were on a deserted island, out of all the ladies here, who would you choose to be stuck with and why?” The newly crowned Miss Cosmo Philippines answered graciously, “I have a lot of best friends in this competition, but I would pick Miss Quirino. She is a mom, and I know she would be able to take care of me, and I can take care of her also.” Jeannie Mai chimed in and said: “Smart answer, you always pick a mom; moms know what to do. I would choose [a mom], too.”

As a devoted mother of three, Stephanie is proof that dreams are limitless, and mothers can reach for the universe. Ahtisa’s admiration of Stephanie’s motherhood is a testament that the nurture and care that the latter provided in their friendship is irreplaceable.

During Stephanie’s Mother’s Day celebration with her husband and children, she was asked who she thinks will be Michelle Dee’s successor. Emotional, she answers, “Sobrang love ko si Ahtisa, and she knows that. During our Sponsors’ Night, I told her: ‘No matter what happens, kapag nanalo ka, or whoever, alam mong nandito ako for you.’ She’s [Ahtisa] so genuine…she’s prepared to be the next Miss Universe Philippines. If it’s not me, it’s Ahtisa.”

It is clear as day that the Miss Universe Philippines competition did not hinder them from building a friendship that transcends their different backgrounds and perspectives. In fact, it becomes a powerful avenue for mutual learning, understanding, encouragement, and love.

Queens Supporting Queens

Yes, the desire to win is the core of Miss Universe Philippines. But in vying for the Philippine sash, there is still room for love, respect, and most importantly, support. The sour taste of rivalry is lost in these girls—Miss Quezon Province and Miss Quirino are pillars of strength to each other throughout the competition and it is refreshing to see how they uplift each other as queens in their own right. In a post by Stephanie, she acknowledges Ahtisa’s crowning moment as Miss Cosmo Philippines 2024 and says, “I’ve seen your hard work! I love you, my queen!” to which Ahtisa replied: “I love you, babe! You are one of the best things to happen to me during MUPH!”

Once united in pursuit of a common goal, Miss Quezon Province and Miss Quirino prove that friendship extends beyond pageantry competition—and that friendship is paramount to the otherwise lonely and challenging Miss Universe Philippines journey.

Photos, Videos and Featured Image: STEFFY GERONA, AHTISA MANAL, MUPH QUIRINO (via Instagram and TikTok), MEGA ARCHIVES

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