With Miss Universe hopefuls expected to arrive in the Philippines starting this week, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said preparations are all set for the pageant’s ancillary events leading up to the anticipated coronation night on Jan 30, 2017.
“Everything is in place,” DOT Secretary Wanda Teo said in a press conference after holding an inter-agency meeting with concerned agencies particularly the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Philippine National Police (PNP).
Teo said that Miss Universe bets will start arriving between January 7 to 13 since the first ancillary event will be held in Boracay on January 14.
The candidates will also be in Vigan on January 15 for a fashion show, in Manila on January 16 to attend a Governor’s Ball, in Cebu on January 17, in Baguio in January 18 and in Davao and Batangas on January 19 for other pre-coronation segments.
They will return to Manila on January 20 to attend a lunch hosted by one of the pageant’s main partners, Solar Entertainment Corp., and participate in the Grand Fashion Show and a Food Festival on January 21 and 22, respectively.
On January 23, the candidates will be in Malacanang for a courtesy call with President Rodrigo Duterte.
A number of events particularly in Albay and Iloilo have been cancelled due to the tight schedule.
Reigning Miss Universe-Philippines Pia Wurtzbach will be joining the contestants in some ancillary events.
DOTr spokesperson, for her part, reassured that the hosting of the pageant in Metro Manila and in provinces will not add to traffic.
“There won’t be any disturbance in the daily lives of Filipino commuters whether in Metro Manila or other provinces where they will hold other events,” Mercado said.
“Sec. Wanda and the President have been very clear that they won’t the event o be causing discomfort to riding public, commuters, so we will do proper coordination and make it as smooth as possible for contestants and commuters today until the last contestant leaves country,” she added.
DOT Undersecretary for Media Affairs Kat De Castro said that the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) will also begin site inspection in participating provinces beginning January 5.
De Castro said that the MUO has yet to announce if American host Steve Harvey and backstage host Ashley Graham will be joined by a Filipino co-host or which international acts will be performing during the coronation night.
She, however, said that a number of local artists such as The Voice Philippines coaches Bamboo, Sarah Geronimo, and Lea Salonga will be performing in ancillary events. Also considered are singers Jed Madela, and Martin Nievera.
“We will definitely announce it within the next few days,” De Castro said.
DOT previously said that production costs for the prestigious pageant will be completely shouldered by the private sector estimated at USD 11 to 15 million.
Official host of the prestigious pageant will be the DOT and group of former Ilocos Sur governor Luis Chavit Singson, LCS Holdings, while its partners include Okada Manila, Solar Entertainment Inc. and SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc.
The Philippines has already hosted the Miss Universe twice, in 1974 and 1994. (PNA) JMC/ANP