Parade for Pia: A traffic jam welcomed by all | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. EDWIN BACASMAS/INQUIRER PHOTO
‘I LOVE YOU, TOO’ This was the response of Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach to supporters who shouted “We love you, Pia!”Many waited for hours to catch a glimpse of the 2015 Miss Universe, who waved to people gathered along Ayala Avenue. EDWIN BACASMAS
‘I LOVE YOU, TOO’ This was the response of Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach to supporters who shouted “We love you, Pia!”Many waited for hours to catch a glimpse of the 2015 Miss Universe, who waved to people gathered along Ayala Avenue. EDWIN BACASMAS

IT WAS a traffic congestion that many commuters, especially those who saw her, did not mind.


People from all walks of life cheered and waved as Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach’s victory parade passed by in Pasay City, Manila and Makati City on Monday afternoon and later in Cubao, Quezon City, in the evening.


While on board her float patterned after the Miss Universe 2015 crown, the beauty queen, clad in an emerald “terno,” blew kisses as she waved back to her countrymen who were eager to see her home.


Time stopped for those who wanted to see her.


Office workers, restaurant waiters, students, teachers, motorists and passersby ignored the afternoon sun and sweltering heat, as they dropped whatever they were doing to catch a glimpse of her.


Some went out to the streets with IDs still looped around their necks or nameplates pinned on their shirts.


“We love you, Pia!” they screamed.


It’s the same message that people shouted, whether they’re on top of the building or just on foot.


She answered back with an “I love you, too!”


Even the employees of the Supreme Court went out and cheered when the float passed by Taft Avenue corner Padre Faura at 3:42 p.m.


Policemen who were guarding their posts took their phones out of their pockets to take photos.

Smiles instead of frowns

Rare smiles were seen from those queuing on the Light Rail Transit UN Avenue station.


Usually, the long lines make passengers frown. But Monday, giddy smiles replaced the frowns as the motorcade passed by. Those stuck on the station’s stairs were in a perfect position to see the float.


The streets closest to the parade were filled to the brim.


The parade began later than the scheduled 2 p.m. start and struggled to navigate the route when it reached Taft Avenue in Manila because the marshals had failed to block public utility vehicles, private motorists and pedestrians from using the road while the parade was ongoing.


As early as noon, fans trooped to the vicinity of the Hotel Sofitel in Pasay City to warmly welcome the queen for her homecoming parade.


While waiting for their queen to emerge from the hotel, scores of supporters amused themselves by taking selfies with the float, whose design inspiration was the Miss Universe crown.

Float’s facade

The Manhattan-skyline-inspired crown served as the float’s facade, while the side panels used fully sequined royal blue fabric, to match the color of Wurtzbach’s now popular competition gown.


A mini gazebo at the rear end of the float also sported another crown replica for its roof. But it was barely used, as Wurtzbach stayed on the front platform, which made her more prominent.


Pandemonium broke out when Wurtzbach emerged from the hotel lobby and walked to the float, tightly guarded by a squad of security personnel.


Fans shrieked at the vision of their queen, who greeted them with kisses and a warm smile.


Plant boxes, chopped tree trunks, overpass, motorcycles and the back of cars also served as platforms for onlookers.


Some who couldn’t go down stayed in their office balconies, where they, despite the distance, waved and cheered on top of their lungs to welcome Wurtzbach home.


Those on the other side of the street ran against the flow of traffic to chase after the queen. This made the traffic flow on either side of the road heavier.


Confetti showers added color to the parade as the band tailing Wurtzbach played songs that were mostly about beautiful women, befitting the beauty queen it was dedicating the songs to.


The music, which played endlessly, provided a more festive mood.


Most people had one hand waving as their other hand took videos or photos, tirelessly trying to capture a moment they’ve waited for decades.


“We’re from the hospital. My sister had a checkup,” said Baby Rapis, 41, from Cavite province.


“We really wanted to see her because it’s been 42 years (since the Philippines bagged the title), I wasn’t even born yet at the time,” she added.


Rapis said it felt good that a fellow Filipino was able to bring the crown home. “Wouldn’t you feel the same?” she asked.


Members of a fan club called “Pianatics” came all the way from Cebu province just to see Wurtzbach’s grand parade.


Before the Makati parade, some club members waiting near the Makati Fire Station reenacted the Miss Universe 2015 mix-up in which host Steve Harvey wrongfully announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner.


The fans’ parody of the pageant announcement ended with a loud applause from people gathered along Ayala Avenue Extension.


“We want to show Pia today that we are here to support her and that we are very happy that she took home the crown,” said Pianatics member Amante Amante, who wore a crown similar to Wurtzbach’s and played her role in the reenactment.


Wurtzbach’s float arrived on Ayala Avenue around 5 p.m., about two hours delayed than the planned 3 p.m. parade at the Makati Central Business District.


The entire northbound lane of Ayala Avenue was closed to vehicular traffic starting 3 p.m. and motorists were rerouted to Buendia Avenue.

Confetti shower

A confetti shower from the RCBC Building at the corner of Buendia Avenue welcomed her arrival in Ayala as she raised the Philippine flag while the crowd shouted her name.


The Miss Universe winner gamely waved to the shouting fans and even responded to some asking to have her photo taken. She was accompanied in the float by some members of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) staff and her trainers from Aces and Queens led by Jonas Gaffud.


MUO president Paula Shugart and Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. chair Stella Marquez-Araneta also joined the grand parade aboard a private car.


Shugart even permitted some fans to take selfies with her while the parade was traversing Ayala Avenue.


However, some of the security escorts for the event had a hard time controlling the crowd from gathering along the street and blocking the parade’s route.


At one point in Makati, the float hit one of the vehicles of the security detail assigned to the parade. Organizers scrambled to tear parts of the crown replica at the front of the float to allow the driver to see more of the road.


During a lull in the parade when the float encountered a minor mishap, Wurtzbach got her phone and took selfies with screaming supporters from different points.


And when a rainbow flashed in the skies, she motioned as if trying to grab it, which observers rewarded with a chuckle.


Wurtzbach also declined to go under an umbrella when it started to drizzle, so she might see her fans better.


Rudy Canu, 45, an electrician, found Wurtzbach beautiful. “I have been waiting for a long time here. I really wanted to see her. I’m working here anyway, so I made sure to catch the parade. I’m very happy.”


The first leg of her parade ended at Rustan’s, where she left her float to take another car that brought her to Araneta Center for another parade.


At Araneta Center in Cubao, people gathered and lined up waiting for what they called the most beautiful woman in the universe.


People were giddy in anticipation, standing by for hours, for a chance to see how the beauty queen would look like in person.


The overpass connecting Shopwise store and Novotel—where she will reportedly stay—was crowded with people who wanted to be on the front line.


Even construction workers and engineers in helmets stopped and stood on the most convenient floor, tapping from time to time steel bars in their excitement to see Wurtzbach.

Portrait scene stealer

Jhojo Cartagena Jr.’s portrait of Wurtzbach was a scene stealer.


He drew the painting for three days using pastel chalk and said he would do his best to give it personally to the beauty queen.


“This is a glorious, historic day. I’ve waited for her long enough. Now, this day won’t last without me giving this artwork to her,” Cartagena said. “Where are you, Pia?”


At 6:30 p.m., Wurtzbach’s float reached Cubao. “She’s so beautiful,” shouted people mesmerized by the beauty queen.


All phones were raised to take her photo and video while she turned around to make sure people would see her face and not her back as she waved her hand.


Cartagena, for one, made sure to buy a new cell phone so he could take a picture of Wurtzbach during the parade.


As Wurtzbach’s float left, some followed it and ran, while some waited for her to pass by again near Novotel.

Pia for President

In a speech in front of Araneta Coliseum, Wurtzbach said: “Grabe, I’m so overwhelmed. Now, I feel I’m here in the Philippines. I hope I will serve as an inspiration for all of you—how I won as Miss Universe.”


“You all are an instrument,” she said.


The crowd shouted back: “Pia for President.”


The parade was capped by a 10-minute fireworks display.

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