The 65th Miss Universe competition, which the Philippines is hosting after much hemming and hawing on the part of organizers, now has the backing of the two only Philippine Miss Universe titlists before Pia Alonso Wurtzbach finally won the crown again for the country after four decades in 2015.
Gloria Diaz (Miss Universe 1969) and Margie Moran Floirendo (Miss Universe 1973) joined former Ilocos Sur governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, who’s bankrolling the event, in a press conference at the Makati Garden Club to express their support of the Philippine hosting.
They were joined in the press conference by Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo, who was a candidate in the 1972 Binibining Pilipinas.
Arranged by George Sison, Inquirer Lifestyle columnist and longtime friend of Diaz and Floirendo, the press-con was meant to introduce the involvement of the Miss U alumnae in organizing the pageant.
According to Sison, the addition of Diaz, a film and TV actress, and Moran-Floirendo, Ballet Philippines president and prolific patron of the arts, would help promote Miss Universe which will be staged Jan. 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
While Diaz and Floirendo have yet to be assigned official roles, Teo has already been in the thick of preparations, her agency closely working with Singson and the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) in showing off the country’s best tourist attractions. Just last month, the tourism secretary toured 11 Miss Universe bets around the metro.
“If he (Singson) was in it just for the money, he could have sued and gained $10 million for breach of contract,” Sison said in a phone interview, referring to the the initial cancellation of the Philippine hosting by MUO.
Sison said Singson believed hosting the contest would help improve the country’s image abroad.
“Chavit said, ‘Even if I don’t make money, this (hosting Miss Universe) will contribute to our image,’” said the Inquirer Lifestyle columnist. —Fran Katigbak