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Preparations under way for Miss Universe pageant

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By CLAIRE MORALES TRUE and JO ERLINDA MAUFIT

 

(Photo from philippinesnow.org)

 

Preparations, physical and security, have started for the Miss Universe pageant to be held at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City on January 30, 2017 as the event has secured global time slot that is expected to reach over 100 million people.

 

The pageant’s coronation night will be aired live at the Mall of Asia from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. to all television networks.

 

Organizers said the Mall of Asia will be transformed into a virtual Miss Universe village as it will host a range of activities that will culminate in the Coronation Night where a new Miss Universe queen will be crowned. Reigning queen Pia Wurtzbach will transfer the crown to her successor infront of fellow Filipinos.

 

Before Wurtzbach, Gloria Diaz won the Miss Universe crown in 1969 and Margie Moran in 1973.

 

Candidates from about 100 countries are set to arrive in the country as early as December for the pre-pageant activities like visits and photo shoots in top Philippine destinations like Davao City, Legaspi City, Cebu City and Vigan City. Also included in these events are Baguio City, Palawan, Tacloban City and Iloilo City.

 

Edgar Tejerero, president of SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc. (SMLEI), one of the partners of the Department of Tourism in bringing the prestigious event to the country, said they are “glad to bring one of the world’s most sought-after events closer to the Filipinos.”

 

The Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena will be the venue for the Governor’s Ball, National Gift Auction, National Costume, the Fashion Show, the Designer Showcase and After Party, among others.

 

The activities will lead up to the much-awaited Coronation Night on Jan. 30 at the MOA Arena where everyone will witness a rare display of beauty, talent and wit, all within an arm’s reach.

 

Arnel Gonzales, assistant vice president for the MOA Arena, said the Arena was chosen for the Miss Universe pageant because of its experience in hosting many events that have showcased the country globally.

 

The venue has hosted some of the world’s biggest international events, such as the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and the Papal Visit, as well as such entertainment acts as Madonna, WWE Live, and Cirque du Soleil.

 

The Depart of Tourism, SMLEI together with the Miss Universe Organization (MUO), LCS Holdings of former Ilocos Sur governor Luis Chavit Singson, Okada Manila and Solar Entertainment Inc. have officially signed the agreement to bring the pageant to the country.

 

The tourism department has said that the government would not be spending for the event, as the expenses would be shouldered by partners from the private sector.

 

The production costs of the pageant are estimated to run into US$11 million to US$15 million.

 

Speaking for Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, Undersecretary for Media Affairs Kat De Castro said that an inter-agency task force composed of the DOT, the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Department of Finance (DOF) has been formed to make sure the staging of the pageant runs smoothly.

 

She said that the DOTr and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) have been tasked to make sure that traffic is kept at the minimum during the pageant.

 

“One of the orders of President (Rodrigo) Duterte is when we do the final show, people will not experience traffic because it’s happening on a Monday morning,” de Castro said.

 

Last Nov. 16, major partners signed an agreement to secure the Philippine hosting of the pageant in the Philippines.


Miss Universe Organization vice president for business development Shawn McClain said the hosting of the pageant will help boost the country’s tourism. 


The Miss Universe Organization wants to host the pageant in Manila again for its “energetic” and “engaged” fan base, he added.


“The energy and the passion of the Filipino people is really powerful. This is a special place especially for the Miss Universe organization and the brand because it’s so popular here. There’s an energetic and engaged fan based and we couldn’t be happier to announce that the next Miss Universe pageant is going to happen here in Manila in January,” said McClain.

Ninety contestants from around the world are will vie for the coveted crown before an expected live audience of 15,000.

“We’ll be showing the world what the Philippines has to offer,” McClain said. “The Philippine government is not spending a single cent. It’s all private sector.”


Luis “Chavit” Singson, LCS Holdings president, said “Not only will this event bring joy to Filipinos with its pageantry, but it is expected to deliver incredible economic benefits through tourism as we are given a platform to showcase our local attractions before half a billion Miss Universe fans worldwide.”

 

The Philippines has already hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1974 at the Folk Art Theater and in 1994 at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Thelma Cruz

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