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Pia recalls journey to the Miss U contest

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REIGNING Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines reminisced her wonderful journey to the most prestigious beauty pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2015, remembering she ordered a whole pizza as her celebratory meal when she won the title.

“Let me tell you, it wasn’t cool to be the 9th country called during top 10! I was dying in anticipation. My heart was pounding and I remember thinking ‘How am I ever gonna get the chance to do final question if I don’t pass the swimsuit competition first! But all the hard work paid off as I got into top 10 and eventually finding out that I actually ranked pretty well for this round. Thank God for my trainers @gymbassy and of course, the ever so strict @johncuay. So, as a reward, I ordered a whole pizza for myself. As my celebratory meal. No regrets! Sorry, Papa J (referring to her mentor Jonas Gaffud),” said Wurtzbach on Instagram.

The Filipino-German beauty queen, who is set to relinquish her crown in Manila on Jan. 30, 2017, also remembered the story behind the blue evening gown she wore during the competition.

“Months before competing I thought about what change I can do to the Bb. Pilipinas organization to improve and help future Miss Philippines. It didn’t take long before I made a promise to myself that after years of not really having a choice on our final look, it’s about time we showed a Filipino made gown. Especially at Miss Universe.

“Tangkilikin ang sariling atin, di ba po? The story behind this evening gown is long but quite interesting. Maybe one day I can tell a more detailed story. Basically this blue Albert Andrada gown almost didn’t make it in time for the final night because of flight cancelations due to bad weather in Manila.

“But to the rescue was another Filipino designer who is based in LA, Oliver Tolentino. He lent me his beautiful red gown that I wore for the preliminary competition. (Judges select top 15 to compete for final night during prelims. I wouldn’t have made it this far onto the competition if I didn’t pass that round.) But then this blue gown finally makes it 2 days before the final night.

“And with a little lambing I was finally getting Madam Stella’s (national director) permission to wear Filipino designers. Years of saving my brownie points from Madam Stella and she finally agreed. But on one condition, ‘Just make sure you win.’ After all the drama and getting doubted for my color of choice, I stood by my gut feel and advanced to the next round,” said Wurtzbach.

Wurtzbach said that she was thankful Steve Harvey asked her about the US military presence in the country during the question and answer portion at the time when it was still not controversial.

“After the top 5 Q&A where I was asked about my personal stand on US military presence in the Philippines (Imagine if that was asked now. Whew. But thank God for all the intense Q&A training with Tito Nad Sigulanon.), it was then time to call in the top 3. I just wanted to hear Steve Harvey say “Philippines!” so badly. And I remember singing this song in my head to help me calm down, “Hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Are you gonna drop the bomb or not?” And so Steve did as I advanced to top 3! Who else was nervous when I was last to be called for the final round?” she asked.

Wurtzbach thanked her supporters who helped her fulfill her childhood dream to become Miss Universe, the third titleholder from the Philippines after 42 years.

“Coming into the competition, I was ready to do my best to make my childhood dream come true. I really wanted to be Miss Universe. But as I was doing the years of training prior that night, I realized that there was something more to attain here than personal achievement.

“I wanted to proudly represent the Philippines and bring back home the crown. This was when I was called for top 15 at the start of the competition. And behind me is yes, a baby photo of me. Shown during our short video intros,” she wrote on IG.

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