MANILA — While there are no formal discussions yet, Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart on Thursday said they’re “very open” to host another Miss Universe coronation in the Philippines.
“We were so successful in January, we always talk about it, certainly, we entertain it, we’re obviously very open to it,” Shugart said.
Meanwhile, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo admitted she wanted to achieve at least two Miss Universe hostings under the Duterte administration as one of her envisioned legacies.
“We’re working on it. Depende pa sa presidente,” she said. For a date, she said “next year could be a possible year.”
Shugart and Teo on Thursday dined with Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters and Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittanaere at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati.
During the welcome luncheon, the beauty queens entertained photo requests and chatted with Filipino pageant fans.
Some 20 fans posed for pictures including Sundee Abando, a Miss Universe fan for 21 years.
“This is a dream come true for me, I have watched Miss Universe since 1996 and I did not imagine that I would be able to meet them in person,” Abando said.
Taking the opportunity to promote the Bring Home A Friend (BHAF) campaign during the event, Teo encouraged the beauties to come back to the Philippines and participate in the program.
“We encourage our beauty queens to visit again the Philippines for the holiday season and bring over their friends and family with them. Just like Iris, who was crowned here, she came back with the Miss Universe 2017 candidates and her successor Demi-Leigh,” Teo said.
“I would definitely recommend my friends to come here. The thing that stood out for me, has been the people. The people are so warm, so welcoming and they just share love and happiness,” shared Nel-Peters.
Meanwhile, Mittanaere said she will promote the country to her friends, citing the Philippines as a significant place for her.
“I will bring all of my friends so they will understand the woman I am today because of my crowning moment here. I want to know more about the Philippines so I will bring them and go to vacation with them,” she said.
For her part, Miss Canada Lauren Howe said the BHAF as an “incredible” and “creative” campaign.
“I love the message behind it. People should experience the Philippines because of its people and incredible places and I have known that since I was a child because of the Filipino community in Canada,” she said.
DOT’s BHAF campaign encourages Filipinos and expatriates to invite their foreign friends to visit the country and win exciting raffle prizes.
The Miss Universe delegation toured Metro Manila on Wednesday with stops at the Rizal Monument in Luneta Park and Fort Santiago in Intramuros. On Friday, the title holders will visit Batanes, Bohol, and Camiguin in split groups.