Maturity and destiny—these were the two factors that helped Filipino beauty queen Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach bag the Miss Universe crown in Las Vegas, Nevada last December, according to Miss Universe 1973 Margie Moran.
During Wurtzbach’s homecoming special at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Thursday night, Moran said “being in the right place at the right time” helped Wurtzbach to end the country’s 42-year title drought in the prestigious pageant.
“And it came during a time when she was more mature because she has a gift of God that came with the experiences in her life—while growing up, working, being a breadwinner,” Moran told television host Boy Abunda, when asked what she thought was Wurtzbach’s edge among other candidates.
Wurtzbach joined Binibining Pilipinas thrice before finally being crowned as the country’s representative to Miss Universe on her third attempt. She emerged 1st runner-up in 2013 and finished in the top 15 the following year.
Moran also commended Wurtzbach’s “wisdom” and “confidence” in speaking.
“She speaks with wisdom, and I think that gives her also the confidence, and loving whatever she does,” Moran said.
“And having a definite advocacy gives her very good qualities representing our country, the Philippines, this day,” she added, referring to Wurtzbach’s advocacy of raising HIV/AIDS awareness in the country.
Moran, the Philippines’ second Miss Universe, was among the Filipino beauty queens from the past decades who joined Wurtzbach in her homecoming at the Big Dome. At one point of her long overdue victory walk that capped the night, Wurtzbach was joined by Moran on stage as the audience cheered.
Moran also shared to the crowd her fondest memories when she was crowned Miss Universe decades ago in Greece.
The 62-year-old beauty queen said she owned the moment and felt like a Greek goddess, noting how she was the crowd favorite despite few Filipinos in the audience.
“Like I said, being in the right place and the right time, the most memorable thing is being in Greece. In Athena, in the Acropolis. I felt like a Greek goddess, a Hellenic god. And you know, unlike today, there were only three Filipinos in the audience dahil wala pang mga (because there were still no) OFWs [overseas Filipino workers] that time,” Moran said.
“Pero I was still the favorite of the crowd (But I was still the crowd favorite), I was Miss Photogenic as well. I was the favorite of the press. ‘Yung tatlong Pilipino, taga-embassy pa (The three Filipinos there were from the embassy). So I was so proud. I felt when I won I was the most important person that moment. And I was so proud to wear the sash Philippines,” she added.
Moran’s Miss Universe win shortly came after Gloria Diaz took home the crown in 1969.
Wurtzbach’s homecoming special was hosted by ABS-CBN actor Xian Lim and correspondent Dyan Castillejo. Kapamilya singers Erik Santos, Yeng Constantino, Jed Madela, Piolo Pascual, Sam Milby and Asia’s Got Talent finalist Gerphil Flores also performed during the event. CDG