Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Miss Universe candidates take a ‘groupie’ withTourism Secretary Wanda Teo in Rizal Park yesterday.
  MIGUEL DE GUZMAN


Get ready to shell out about P50,000 to see over 90 of the most beautiful women in the universe up close.
Tickets for the 65th Miss Universe pageant coronation night will be available online starting Dec. 20, with prices ranging from $160 to $1,000, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced yesterday.
In a press briefing in Makati City, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo revealed that fans could start buying tickets online through the Ticketnet website.    
General admission tickets cost around $160 (approximately P8,000), while VIP tickets would more or less cost $1,000 (almost P50,000), Teo said. Prices for upper and lower box tickets have yet to be announced.
Teo said only 200 tickets remain for the VIP section, as most of the seats have been reserved by the Miss Universe Organization (MUO). But she assured the public that many seats in other sections are still available.
The announcement came amid speculations online on the ticket prices for the final event of the Miss Universe competition to be held at the Mall of Asia Arena on Jan. 30, 2017.    
“I have heard that some things have been put on the internet, but we don’t know where it came from,” MUO president Paula Shugart said.    
Teo said the DOT is working on Miss Universe tour packages in response to demands from returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).    
“We’re still fixing it because the packages will not only be Manila, but will also include Davao, Cebu, all the provinces – also, Legaspi and Palawan,” Teo said, referring to the provinces hosting the pageant’s ancillary events.
“We will be submitting that soon (to the MUO). Before the end of the week, the packages will be ready,” she added.    
Eleven candidates of the 2016 Miss Universe pageant are currently in the Philippines for a week of pre-pageant tours and activities. Most of the ladies said this was their first time to visit.
Last Sunday, the candidates visited Siargao – the Philippines’ surfing capital – and said the beauty of the beaches and the locals’ warmth and hospitality awed them.     
“We had a wonderful time. We went to Cloud 9 beach and it is probably one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to,” Miss USA Deshauna Barber said.    
“It’s so beautiful it was like paradise. I’m definitely bringing my family back here,” Miss Malaysia Kiranmeet Kaur Baljeet Singh added.    
For Miss Myanmar Htet Htet Tun, the warmth and friendliness of Filipinos were “overwhelming.”   
“All the staff and all the people in Siargao have warm hospitality, I had a pleasant time with them. I think (I gained) a lot of friends here. All the Filipino friends are very cute and warm. I was overwhelmed by their support to all of us,” she said.    
Maxine Medina, the country’s bet for the Miss Universe crown, said this is just a taste of what’s in store for the contestants in January.
“I’m very proud that the girls are happy to see the place and that is just a preview of what is going to happen next. So, we’re very excited,” the Filipina contender said.
The candidates toured Intramuros yesterday and are set to be in Oslob, Cebu today.    
Reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach said seeing the new batch of candidates “brings back a lot of memories.”    
“I remember the days when I used to be a candidate for Miss Universe and my advice is, ‘Girls, enjoy it because it really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’ And I’m not going to lie, I miss it. I miss being Miss Philippines, but I’ll definitely miss being Miss Universe as well,” Wurtzbach said.    
Meanwhile, Shugart promised a “unique” Miss Universe competition next January.    
 Wurtzbach to donate to Caritas
Meanwhile, the reigning Miss Universe pledged yesterday to donate bags and shoes to the first celebrity bazaar organized by Caritas Manila.   
The 27-year-old Wurtzbach met yesterday morning with Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who also heads Caritas Internationalis, at his residence in Intramuros, Manila.
During their meeting that lasted for more than an hour, Wurtzbach reportedly promised to donate rubber shoes, formal shoes, gowns and other personal items to the church organization’s first “Celebrity Pre-Loved Luxury Sale” set on Dec. 13 and 14 at the Glorietta 5 Atrium, Ayala Center in Makati City.
The beauty queen said the pageant organization would also donate to Caritas Manila the proceeds from last Friday’s charity fashion gala called “A Royal Affair.” 
“We are all doing this just out of pure love and good faith and asking for nothing in return but just give back because we feel very blessed,” said Wurtzbach. “Of course, it’s timely because it’s the holiday season as well. So, let us give without expecting anything in return.”
Tagle thanked Wurtzbach for her generosity that would benefit the poor.
“Miss Pia, you are a towering figure. We look up to you… We are here for one purpose and it is to serve our brothers and sisters with no other motivation but love, caritas. We are happy that a person like you and other celebrities, if we might use that word, are offering whatever you could to support, especially the young people in need of education,” Tagle said.
The Manila prelate afterwards gave Wurtzbach his personal rosary that Pope Francis had given him.
Caritas Manila executive director Fr. Anton Pascual said the church group hopes to raise P2 million for the education of its 5,000 Youth Servant Leadership and Education Program (YSLEP) beneficiaries, who are currently taking college courses and vocational technology education. 
“This is our way of helping the poor and give them a good future. We believe that education is the great social equalizer,” Pascual said. With Evelyn Macairan
Source: Philstar.com, 12/13/2016

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