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It’s official: PHL to host Miss U with Steve Harvey and Bruno Mars

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(Photo from GMA News)


MANILA (PhilAmPress) ―It's official.

Amid rumors that the Philippine hosting of the next Miss Universe pageant will be cancelled, the Department of Tourism (DOT) assured that it will definitely push through on January 30 at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

And it will be American Steve Harvey hosting the pageant which will start at 5 a.m. so it could be telecast in the United States, Canada and the Americas.

But Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo hinted at the possibility that Harvey may have a Filipino co-host.

And a popular artist with Filipino roots, probably Bruno Mars, will perform during the coronation night.


Teo did not name the artist, only saying that he or she is very famous in the United States.


“Talagang sikat na sikat na celebrity with Filipino blood (A very famous celebrity with Filipino blood),” Teo said.


Reporters at the press conference were quick to ask Teo if she was referring to Bruno Mars, who is behind the hit songs “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade.”


The Tourism Secretary neither confirmed nor denied it and merely replied, “Ayokong magsalita (I’d rather not say anything).”


Other popular artists in the US who have Filipino blood include Vanessa Hudgens of “High School Musical” fame, Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Scherzinger, “Glee” star Darren Criss, and The Black Eyed Peas member and lately American Idol runner up Jessica Sanchez.


“I happily welcome, on behalf of the Department of Tourism, 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 during a press conference.


She described the hosting of the event as not only an opportunity to showcase the wonders of the Philippines to the international community but also to witness the reigning Miss Universe pass the crown to her successor.


“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.


The Philippines' bet will be Maxine Medina, a 25-year-old interior designer and model. She will attempt to succeed Pia.


Aside from Pia, the Philippines had two other Miss Universe crowd holder - Margie Moran in 1973 and Gloria Diaz in 1969.


Teo said that the coronation night will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena on January 30, 2017.


She also confirmed that Harvey will reprise his role as host of the pageant. Asked by media if Harvey would have a Filipino co-host, Teo said that she would still have to ask the Miss Universe Organization (MUO).


To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte previously expressed disapproval of Harvey as pageant host after the latter incorrectly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the 2015 Miss Universe and Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach as the first runner-up during last year's pageant held in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Teo has since convinced the President to give Harvey another shot at hosting the pageant, noting that Harvey is on a five-year contract to host it and has already apologized for his major blunder.


The tourism chief said that Cebu and Bohol are among the confirmed venues for the ancillary events.


Three major islands of the Philippines (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao) will be well represented and visited by the Miss Universe candidates.


Teo said they intend to take the Miss Universe candidates on a tour of different destinations in the Philippines to attract more visitors to the country.


She said the candidates will be visiting various tourist spots in the country – from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – for photo shoots and other pageant events.


Some of the places she mentioned are Bicol, Davao and Iloilo.


“Not just Cebu, not just Boracay, not just Palawan,” she said. “I would like them (candidates) to see other places in the Philippines na hindi nafea-feature (that are not usually featured in the media)."


The DOT earlier assured that the government will not be spending a single centavo since the private sector will be shouldering the pageant's estimated US$11 million production cost.


The Philippines has hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1974 and in 1994.


"The Miss Universe 2016 in Manila is brought to you by the DOT, MUO, LCS Group of Companies partnership with Okada Manila, SM Group of Companies, Solar Entertainment Corp, our broadcast partner."


"This is one proud moment for all of us Filipinos to be a witness to the reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach of Cagayan De Oro as she takes her final walk and passes her crown in her home country, the Philippines," Teo said.


"We are counting on you, our media partners, event partners, sponsors, to join us as we welcome the Miss Universe candidates, their followers, and their supporters from all over the world. Together, let us show them the soul of the Philippines, and our warm Filipino hospitality," Teo said.


It was last July when Teo announced that the Philippines will host the next Miss Universe. The pageant has so far been held in the country twice – in 1974 and 1994.


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