The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday finally confirmed that the Philippines’ hosting of the Miss Universe pageant next year will push through after earlier reports of cancellation.
In a televised press briefing, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said they were able to convince the organizers to hold the international beauty contest in Manila, which is scheduled for Jan. 30, 2017, 5 a.m., at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“After all that’s been said and done, I happily welcome, on behalf of the Department of Tourism (DOT), the latest announcement of the Miss Universe Organization thru Ms. Pia Wurtzbach—that finally, the Philippines will, indeed, play host to the much awaited 2016 Miss Universe pageant,” Teo said.
“This is one proud moment for all of us, Filipinos, to bear witness to our reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of Cagayan de Oro City as she takes her final walk and passes on her crown to her successor, where else, but in her home country, the Philippines,” she added.
Wurtzbach confirmed the news through a video message from New York, saying she “could not wait to show you all my beautiful country.”
Teo said a popular celebrity in the United States with Filipino blood will perform in the pageant in Manila.
She also confirmed that Steve Harvey will return as host and reiterated that the Philippine government will not spend in organizing the pageant as promised by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The tourism chief said Davao, Palawan, and Iloilo will be featured in pageant events and photoshoots, but added that they were also looking to feature other places in the country aside from the usual tourist spots.
Cebu and Bohol were also confirmed venues of ancillary events. The DOT assured that Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao will be well-represented and visited by the Miss Universe candidates.
The DOT is coordinating with local government units, the Philippine National Police, and the Department of Transportation, Teo added.
Miss Universe 2016 in Manila is brought by the DOT, the MUO, and LCS Group headed by Gov. Chavit Singson & Architect Richelle Singson Michelle, in partnership with Okada Manila, SM Group of Companies, and Solar Entertainment Corporation.
“Journey to the Crown: A Celebration of Beauty,” a reality-documentary show featuring the Philippines’ penchant for beauty pageants will air over ETC on November 6, at 7:30 p.m. The weekly program will be hosted by 2010 Miss Universe 4th Runner-up Venus Raj and 2011 Miss Universe 3rd Runner-up Shamcey Supsup-Lee. YG/JE/rga