“I hope this day will never end,” said President Rodrigo Duterte as he met with 84 Miss Universe candidates in Malacañang on Monday.
The President admitted that he never imagined that he would be “in a room full of beautiful women.” This as Miss Universe 2016 candidates paid a courtesy call on Duterte. Two candidates, Misses Findland and Switzerland, were not able to join the event because they were not feeling well.
“I’d like to make an admission that never in my life I have been with a room full of beautiful women,” he said, eliciting laughter from the crowd.
The President deviated from his usual impromptu speech as read a prepared speech.
“I usually do not read my speeches. I am not up to it really but this time because they told me that I must behave in my language, in the adjectives that I would be using to characterize or define your beauty, all of you,” he said.
Duterte said it was a “privilege and honor” for the Philippines to host the 65th edition of the pageant as he thanked the Miss Universe for giving the country the opportunity to host the pageant.
“It is an event which has undeniably brought enormous pride and joy for the countries of winning candidates. We all share of fame to our very own Ms. Gloria Diaz, Ms. Margarita Moran, and the reigning Ms. Pia Wurtzbach,” he said.
“I must say that God is really good. Aside from the worries of governance, with all the troubles in the world, when we look at you, we forget the universe, but only you,” he added.
He urged the candidates to use the pageant as an avenue to push for their own advocacies.
“More than presenting beauty and brains, the Miss Universe competition or any beauty contestant for that matter is an opportunity for you to represent your country, to promote your advocacies, and to advance women empowerment to a greater audience,” he said.
“More importantly, this is chance for you to make an impact, to inspire change, and even be the change that you wish to see in the world,” he added.
A photo opportunity with the President was held after his speech.
Earlier, the candidates visited the cities of Vigan, Baguio, Cebu and Davao.
“I hope that the contestants had a wonderful time visiting place such as Vigan, Cebu, Baguio, Batangas, and Davao. It is truly a great honor for us to be sharing with you our most beautiful destinations including the rich culture and history behind each of these gems,” he said.
The coronation of the Miss Universe will be on January 30 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. RAM