R'Bonney Gabriel has landed in the Philippines on her first visit since she won the crown in January.
Gabriel, whose father is Filipino, is in Manila to attend the coronation night of the Miss Universe Philippines 2023 pageant, to be held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
Miss Universe shared on Instagram, "@rbonneynola arrives in Manila for the first time since winning the Miss Universe title and reunites with her family", along with pictures of Gabriel with her father R'Bon Gabriel, mother Dana Walker and other family members.
Gabriel, 29, was crowned Miss Universe 2022 earlier this year after a delay to avoid clashing with the Fifa World Cup.
The first ever Filipino-American to be crowned Miss Universe, she earlier won the Miss Texas and Miss USA crowns before competing in the global contest, held in Orlando this year. The model and fashion designer has always proudly spoken about her mixed heritage.
“I feel at peace knowing I have put in the work to develop into the truest form of myself. I’ve learnt the importance of embracing who I am," she said.
Gabriel wore a dress by Filipino designer Mark Bumgarner to her first engagement for the Miss Universe Philippines pageant on Wednesday.
The glittery silver gown was inspired by the Filipiniana dress, usually characterised by oversized sleeves.
The Philippines is considered a powerhouse in pageant circles, with global beauty contests still obsessively followed across the country.
A total of 38 hopefuls are competing at this year's Miss Universe Philippines. The Philippines has won the Miss Universe crown a total of four times, the last one being Catriona Gray in 2018.
While a date has not been announced, El Salvador is set to host the Miss Universe 2023 pageant.