THE Miss Universe–Philippines Organization announced that Kristeen Mae Boccang representing the province of Apayao is now part of the Miss Universe–Philippines Top 40.

The organization bared that Kristeen replaces Evangeline Fuentes of Pangasinan who withdrew from the pageant due to health reasons.

“We wish you all the best, Evangeline, and congratulations, Kristeen,” the Miss Universe – Philippines stated

The 23-year-old Kristeen from the municipality of Conner, is the first I-Apayao to join the prestigious pageant. A veteran of beauty pageants, she is the current Dayag ti Apayao 2023 Second Runner Up, and was crowned Binibining Conner Tourism 2022 and the Panagbunga Festival Queen 2017.

Kristeen said she is proud to be part of the Miss Universe – Philippines pageant. She said that this is an opportunity for her to promote the province especially its rich culture and tradition.

“I joined Miss Universe because it was a dream of mine to represent my beautiful province of Apayao and introduce it the rest of the Philippines. It would be the very first time for Apayao to join a national pageant and I hope that by joining I would be able to inspire my fellow yApayao and let other people know of where and what Apayao could offer to everyone,” Kristeen said.

“Apayao is a very rich place and now this serves as an avenue for me to promote Apayao,” she added.

She said that her advocacy is geared on environment and the protection of the rich natural resources of Apayao which is known as the “Cordillera’s Last Frontier of Nature's Richness.” She hopes to intensify the campaign on the traditional lapat system of Apayao or the unwritten law of the Isnag people which is for the seclusion of an area or a property prohibiting anyone to enter, catch or gather any product from the declared area.

Apayao officials led by Governor Elias Bulut Jr., Congresswoman Eleanor Bulut-Betang and the municipal government of Conner assured their full support to the Miss Universe pageant journey of Kristeen. (PR)