Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach made her second visit to Malacañang. This time she met with President Rodrigo Duterte who welcomed her to the palace.
More than the thrill and honor to meet President Duterte, the beauty queen had serious business with her visit, laying on the negotiating table Miss Universe Organization (MUO)’s offer for the country to host the next Miss Universe pageant.
Wurtzbach, who looked gorgeous in a pink jumpsuit, was joined in her audience with the President by MUO President Paula Shugart, MUO Talent Development director Esther Swan and MUO VP for Business Development and Marketing Shawn McClain, together with Tourism Undersecretary Katherine de Castro and Secretary Wanda Teo, who unknown to many was a Bb. Pilipinas contestant herself in 1972.
Teo said President Duterte has approved in principle the proposal for the country to host the Miss Universe 2017 pageant agreeing that it will be a marketing coup for Philippine tourism. The only possible hitch is that the Philippines lacks adequate time to prepare for the MUO set pageant finals on Jan. 29, 2017 and may not agree to move it at a later date in May which the DOT officials preferred.
Teo said that she would start to talk with possible sponsors to raise the needed $12 million budget upon confirmation of the country as host. “We are ready to seize the moment,” Teo said. The DOT plans to have segments of the month-long beauty pageant filmed in the scenic spots in Palawan, Boracay and Cebu, which recently made the no. 1-2 top spots and top 10, respectively, of the World’s Best Islands 2016 Awards chosen by the New York-based Travel & Leisure magazine.
“For years, I’ve talked about someday having the pageant in the Philippines. 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,” Shugart said stressing that this is the right time to hold the pageant in the Philippines.
Wurtzbach said that she is keeping her fingers crossed and would continue to campaign for the Philippines to become a third-time host of the Miss Universe pageant. The beauty queen has caught the Pokemon Go fever. She was spotted playing the game by New Yorkers when she decided to stroll around near Paris Theater where she attended the premier of Woody Allen’s new film Café Society.