IN A PRESS CONFERENCE, Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo has officially announced that the Philippines will host the Miss Universe pageant on January 30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia. Maxine Medina, Binibining Pilipinas Universe 2016, will represent the country in the pageant.

Teo confirmed that the government will not spend on the pageant, which is estimated to cost USD 11 million, as various individuals and private companies have expressed interest to support the pageant.

She also welcomed this as a great opportunity to boost our local tourism industry. Segments will be held in some of the country’s famous places like Palawan, Boracay, and Cebu “in an effort to showcase to the world not just Manila, but other tourist spots as well.

This is the third time the Philippines will host the beauty contest that was founded in 1952 by the California-based clothing company Pacific Knitting Mills. The last time the country hosted the pageant was in 1994 when India’s Sushmita Sen won the coveted prize.

Twenty years earlier, in 1974, the Miss Universe pageant was held in the country at the Folk Arts Theater. Spain’s Amparo
Muñoz was declared winner in that contest. However, she was forced to give up her crown later that year, because she did not follow organizational rules, and refused to go to Japan. No one else took her place.

Wurtzbach is the third Filipina to win the Miss Universe crown. The first time came in 1969 when Gloria Diaz was adjudged winner in the pageant that was held in Miami Beach, Florida. Then only 18, she bested other candidates on the final question. It was about how to welcome the first men that had just landed on the moon – Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins – as soon as they were back on the planet.

After four years, the Philippines won the coveted title again when Margie Moran – Maria Margarita Roxas Moran in real life – was crowned in Athens, Greece. She also won the Miss Photogenic award. She said that she joined the contest because of the incessant urgings of friends and family.