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AFTER 23 years, the Philippines will host the 65th Miss Universe pageant for the third time on Jan. 30, 2017.
This was confirmed by reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach on her Facebook account yesterday, one day after Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon-Teo made the official announcement in a press conference last July 28.
Nothing is sure yet about the venue for the staging of the show but Teo said that organizers are eyeing the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City or the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
“We are looking sa MOA or Philippine Arena,” Teo said, who was a former candidate in Binibining Pilipinas beauty contest.
Teo also said that pre-pageant activities will be held outside Metro Manila so that the girls can see the wonderful attractions in the country and provide job opportunities for the poor in the countryside.
“Hindi lang naka-focus sa Manila. Gagawin din natin in Davao, Cebu, mga ganon. Iikot namin para ma-kilala ang ibang provinces. I really want that everybody earn a living, hindi lang ’yung operators, ’yung travel agencies, hotels. I want it to go down to the grassroots para matulungan ’yung mga mahihirap,” she said.
Teo said that she wanted the candidates to see Davao, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Vigan, Palawan, and Boracay during their month-long stay in the Philippines.
“The President told us that the auxiliary events should be done in the provinces so as to avoid the traffic here in Manila,” Teo said.
The tourism chief also reaffirmed that the govenment will not be spending any single centavo for the staging of the pageant.
Teo said that the $11-million budget or roughly more than P500 million will be shouldered by sponsors from the private sector.
She refused to name the sponsors for the pageant and said that they will have a separate press conference for that.
The first Philippines-hosted Miss Universe pageant was held at the Folk Arts Theater in 1974.
The theater was specifically built by the Marcos administration for the staging of the contest. It was also the first time that the beauty contest was staged in Asia.
The late Miss Spain Amparo Muñoz was crowned Miss Universe 1974. Guadalupe Sanchez, who represented the Philippines in the contest, finished in the semifinals round.
In 1994, the Miss Universe pageant was held for the second time in the Philippines.
India’s Sushmita Sen won the title. The country’s bet Charlene Gonzales was one of the semi-finalists.
Apart from Wurtzbach, the Philippines has produced two Misses Universe – Gloria Diaz (1969) and Margie Moran (1973).
Since 2010, the Philippines’ bets to the prestigious pageant have either finished in the Top 5 or as semifinalist:
Venus Raj (4th runner-up, 2010), Shamcey Supsup (3rd runner-up, 2011), Janine Tugonon (1st runner-up, 2012), Ariella Arida (3rd runner-up, 2013), and Mary Jean Lastimosa (Top 10, 2014).
Paula M. Shugart, Miss Universe Organization president, has earlier said that it would be a great opportunity for the Philippines to stage the pageant for the third time.