MANILA, Philippines — The grand homecoming parade for Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray wasn’t gray at all as welcoming fans lined up the streets to cheer on the beauty queen.
The towering 25-year-old aboard a fiery red lava-inspired float was indeed a sight to behold. Draped in a sampaguita-and-anahaw-inspired terno by Mak Tumang, the beauty queen’s energy lured people on the road amid traffic and scorching heat.
Tumang is the same designer who made Gray’s fierce Mayon Volcano-inspired red, sexy gown during the Miss Universe 2018 coronation night in Bangkok last December.
The parade, which snaked through the cities of Pasay, Manila, and Makati, was held to honor Gray for her victory in the much-coveted international pageant.
The huge float carried an enlarged impression of the Mikimoto crown. It was a brainchild of Fritz Silorio, the same designer behind Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach’s float in 2016.
Time stopped for those who wanted to see the queen. Supporters rushed out of their schools, offices and even train stations just to witness the most beautiful woman in the world, or perhaps, the universe.
Fans screamed at the sight of Gray, who was endlessly waving and smiling, even saying “I love you” to her supporters.
Employees of the Supreme Court went out and cheered for her, too, as the float passed by Padre Faura in Manila.
Policemen and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcers on their respective posts also took out their mobile phones to take photos of the Fil-Aussie beauty.
Some solid “Catrionians,” on the other hand, took a step further to show their support. They brought posters, banners, and drawings for Ms. Gray. Some even sported her signature three stars and a sun ear cuff.
When the float arrived at Buendia Avenue, colorful confetti showered Gray and drums of the band started playing.
Despite the heat, Gray tirelessly smiled to fans throughout the parade, which started 2 p.m. at Sofitel Hotel and ended at around 6 p.m. on Ayala Avenue.
Another tribute for Gray is set to happen on Saturday, February 23, around Araneta Center in Quezon City where her pageant journey started as Binibining Pilipinas.
She will also have a homecoming celebration with fans and celebrities in an event dubbed “Raise Your Flag for Catriona” on Sunday, February 24 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. /kga