PHL May Host Miss Universe Pageant in 2017, Pia Wurtzbach Ecstatic

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    REIGNING MISS UNIVERSE title holder Pia Wurtzbach.

    By JO ERLINDA G. NEBRES

    MANILA — The Philippines is ready to host the next Miss Universe beauty pageant in 2017 where the reigning holder of the crown, Filipina Pia Wurtzbach, is to transfer the crown to the winner.

    This as President Rodrigo Duterte has approved in principle the country’s hosting of the pageant upon the recommendation of the new chief of the Department of Tourism as the President met Wurtzbach and Miss Universe officials during a call in Malacanang.

    It was learned that the private sector has been asked and has agreed to shoulder the production costs of potential hosting of the forthcoming Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines next year.

    New Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo announced the private sector’s role in a press conference after her meeting with reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach at the DOT main office in Makati City.

    The DOT earlier said that President Duterte has so far “approved in principle” the hosting of the Miss Universe pageant in the country but plans are yet to be finalized and confirmed with the Miss Universe Organization.

    “We are really hopeful that the President will grant our request, especially now that the private sector have come together to shoulder the production costs of Miss Universe,” Teo said.

    “This undertaking would practically entail no expense on the part of the government,” she added noting that the event would give a big boost to businesses and livelihood of millions of Filipinos.

    Teo said that she was “overwhelmed” by the presence of the reigning Miss Universe, stressing that it was she who had “taken up the cudgels and leadership to make this happen.”

    “If this translates to reality, our tourism industry stands to gain tremendously,” Teo said.

    “I’m so proud and grateful of the full support she is giving us in our efforts to host the upcoming Miss Universe contest in the country,” she added.

    “The President agreed that sponsoring the event would be a tourism marketing coup with Philippines’ Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach at the helm,” Teo said, adding that the event would boost the country’s “It’s more fun in the Philippines” tourism campaign which she said she will continue.
    “Sponsoring Miss Universe is our focus right now, with the plan and sources of funding in tow. We are ready to seize the moment,” she added.
    Teo earlier said that the hosting of Miss Universe would have a greater impact to the country’s tourism promotion efforts.
    “Once Pia announces that Miss Universe is going to happen here, people abroad will start looking at the map and see where the Philippines is. And, we’re saying, we’d love to have you in,” she added.
    The country will be fielding Maria Mika Maxine Medina, a 25-year-old interior designer who has been modeling since 2008, in next year’s pageant.

    Wurtzbach said that she was “happy to be back home” since her last visit to the Philippines was during the coronation night of the Binibining Pilipinas (Miss Philippines) pageant last April.

    “It’s always been a dream of mine to be ambassador for the Philippines and to promote tourism. I still continue on pursing that goal of being an ambassador as I go throughout my reign and visit different countries around the world,” Wurtzbach said.

    “It’s no secret that it’s my personal dream and the dream of majority of Filipinos that someday we’ll see the Miss Universe (pageant) to be held here and we’re keeping our fingers crossed,” she added.

    The 26-year-old beauty queen said that even after the next Miss Universe is crowned, her duty to promote the Philippines will not end there.

    “It doesn’t end when I pass up my crown. I will still wear the Philippines wherever I go,” she said.

    Wurtzbach arrived in the Philippines from New York City last Saturday (July 16) and called on President Duterte in Malacañang on Monday, July 18, where they discussed the possible hosting of the pageant in the country.

    If the plan for the Philippines to host the pageant next year pushes through, segments of the prestigious beauty tilt will be held in tourist sites like Palawan, Boracay and Cebu, according to Teo.
    The Philippines hosted the Miss Universe pageant in 1974 and 1994. In the 1994 edition of the contest, Sushmita Sen of India was declared the winner.  In 1974, the Philippines’ Margie Moran relinquished her crown to Spain’s Amparo Muñoz.
    Miss Universe president Paula Shugart earlier said that this is the right time to hold the pageant again in the Philippines.
    “For years, I’ve talked about someday having the pageant here. I do know that with Pia right now, the entire worldwide focus is on the Philippines. I think it’s a great opportunity. I would love to be able to make it work. We’ll see,” Shugart said.
    The last Miss Universe pageant was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Wurtzbach won the crown after a 42-year drought for the Philippines.

     

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