WATCH: Miss U is on! Queen Pia, candidates kick off pageant in PH
MANILA, Philippines – All systems are go for the Miss Universe coronation in the Philippines on January 30. To officially start the event, a kick-off party was held on Saturday, December 10 at the S Maison Mall in Pasay City.
Present at the event were the members of the Miss Universe Organization led by president Paula Shugart, and former Ilocos Sur governor Luis "Chavit" Singson and his daughter Richelle Singson-Michael, the chairpersons of the host committee. Sponsors from SM Lifestyle, Okada Manila, and Solar Entertainment were also present at the event.
The Department of Tourism was also represented, led by Secretary Wanda Teo and Undersecretary Kat de Castro.
All photos by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
The 11 ladies – Miss Australia Caris Tiivel, Miss Indonesia Kezia Warouw, Miss Japan Sari Nakazawa, Miss Korea Jenny Kim, Miss Malaysia Kiran Jassal, Miss Myanmar Htet Htet Htun, Miss New Zealand Tania Pauline Dawson, Miss Philippines Maxine Medina, Miss Thailand Chalita Suansane, Miss Vietnam Dang Thi Le Hang, and Miss USA Deshauna Barber graced the event as the audience and fans cheered them on. (IN PHOTOS: Miss Universe 2016 candidates arrive for kick-off party in Manila)
Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach was also present to officially welcome the ladies, saying it was a dream come true for her to hold the pageant in the country.
"It’s not only a dream of Paula’s, a dream of the Miss Universe organization but also a dream of mine to bring back the competition here, and to show the world how beautiful the Philippines is. And it would really be great if I can finally have a proper walk on stage in no less than in my home country of course," she said, referring to the 2015 pageant where she was not able to have her full victory walk after host Steve Harvey made a mistake in announcing Miss Colombia as the winner.
As part of the kick-off, a jacket was presented by Chavit to Paula with the words "Miss U Is On."
The ladies will be traveling around the country for a week. Places such as Cebu and Siargao are part of the itinerary. – Rappler.com