Miss U bets eager to return to Manila for the big event
Twelve Miss Universe 2016 candidates, who were in the Philippines this past week, said they can hardly wait to return for the two-week fun-filled events leading to the big pageant on January 30 next year at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The beauty titlists from across the globe flew in separately over last weekend for the formal opening of the most prestigious beauty contest, jointly hosted by the Department of Tourism (DoT) and private sponsors led by the Luis Chavit Singson Group of Companies.
Reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo joined the 12 hopefuls in visiting several tourist destinations, including Siargao Island and Oslob, Cebu, as well as Rizal Park and Intramuros, Manila.
Wurtzbach said, “It’s a dream come true to bring the competition home, and having the group visit makes it more real. They’ve had a great time and that makes us happy.”
Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart, in her kickoff party speech said, “It’s been very emotional now it’s finally happening. It’s a dream I share with Pia, knowing that the Philippines is an ideal and safe place for the 65th Miss U pageant.”
“This week’s events showcased the beauty and bounty of Philippines and it also just proved that the country remains a safe haven for international visitors,” said Undersecretary Kat de Castro of the DoT office of public affairs, communication and special projects.
De Castro led DoT officials, along with Miss Universe private sponsors, in sending off the departing candidates at the Manila International Airport Wednesday while DoT Secretary Wanda Teo joined President Duterte’s entourage in state visits to Cambodia and Singapore.
“They said they totally enjoyed their stay and one week is just not enough to experience it all, the tourist sites, the food and, best of all, the people,” de Castro said.
“We had such a wonderful time, like being in Cloud 9. We had a great time taking photos in Siargao. I just love eating those fresh mangoes,” said Miss USA Deshauna Barber.
“One of the things I appreciate are the children performers who gave us a wonderful welcome,” said New Zealand Tania Dawson, a school drama teacher.
Miss Myanmar Htet Htun elicited laughter when she said, “I’m so happy being here. The whale sharks were amazing, so gentle, and Filipinos are so hospitable and cute.”
Miss Korea Jenny Kim said, “I can’t wait till January. I enjoyed the Philippines, especially Siargao and Cebu. No wonder many Koreans come to visit here. Thank you for inviting us.”
Although they have similar places back home, Miss Malaysia Kirran Jassal said, “Siargao is exceptional, a paradise. Cebu and the people are so wonderful, as well.”
Miss Japan Sari Nakazawa said, “The Siargao is the most beautiful beach I’ve been to. I look forward to January and spend more time on the beach.”
“The people are so hospitable. I did not expect anything like this, unbelievable!” exclaimed Miss Australia Caris Tiivel.
The delegates were also treated to a travelog of the rich Philippine history at the centuries-old ruins of Intramuros and the Lights and Sounds Museum, calesa-rides and a visit at Dr. Jose Rizal’s monument in Luneta.