REIGNING Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach arrived in Manila from New York City on Saturday morning to bolster the bid to again hold the Miss Universe pageant in the country after 22 years.
“You know, I’m still waiting for the confirmation on when it’s gonna happen,” the 26-year-old beauty queen said in a live chat on Facebook, declining to refer directly to the envisioned pageant.
“Right now it’s in the works. But hopefully, fingers crossed, it’s the one that I’ve been praying for. And I guess you know what that is. So let’s just hope for the best,” said Wurtzbach, who is set to call on President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday to discuss the matter.
The beauty queen will also be meeting with Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo and the Philippine Olympic Team who will be leaving to compete at the Rio Olympics this August.
Teo had said on Thursday that Duterte has already agreed to host the pageant next year.
“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.
If the plan pushes through, Teo said segments of the prestigious beauty tilt will be held in tourist sites like Palawan, Boracay and Cebu.
The last time the Philippines hosted Miss Universe was in 1994 with Sushmita Sen of India as winner. The only other time the pageant was held in the country was in 1974 when 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 edition was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Wurtzbach won the crown after a 42-year drought for the Philippines.