MISS UNIVERSE 2016. Pia Wurtzbach is set to crown her successor in Manila on January 30, 2017. File photo shows Pia at her homecoming special in January 2016. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – Pageant fever is taking over this January as Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach is set to crown her successor right here in Manila.
More than 80 candidates from all over the world have already begun to arrive in Manila, while Miss Universe Organization representatives and of course, Pia herself, are set to be in the country for the month-long event too.
All the events will lead up to one big night – coronation night – which will be held on Monday, January 30 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena at 8 am.
Before we get swept up in all the exciting pageant news and tidbits, here's a quick recap of the last Miss Universe and a rundown of what to expect this year.
Miss Universe 2015 recap
When Pia Wurtzbach was crowned Miss Universe, it was, in her words, "very non-traditional... very 2015."
Pia was on her 3rd attempt at Miss Universe and by the end of coronation night 2015, it was down to her and Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez.
Host Steve Harvey announced Ariadna was the winner before coming back onstage, apologizing, and correcting himself – the winner was actually Miss Philippines.
People were still talking about the gaffe weeks after it happened, but Steve, Ariadna, and Pia have all settled the issue and have spoken about it since then.
Will Steve Harvey host the pageant again?
Yes, Steve Harvey will host Miss Universe 2016, despite President Rodrigo Duterte's initial reluctance. Along with him is model Ashley Graham.
Who else will be visiting the country for the pageant?
Aside from Steve Harvey, Ashley Graham, and Pia Wurtzbach, 86 Miss Universe candidates will also be flying to the Philippines.
Along with them wil be Miss Universe Organization representatives, including president Paula Shugart.
The performers and judges for the night have not yet been offically announced, but expect international artists and personalities coming here too.
What will the candidates do in the Philippines?
The ladies will be busy with many events before the pageant, touring the country, meeting the president, and of course, getting ready for the preliminary competition.
The girls are set to visit the following locations during their stay, according to the 65th Miss Universe Instagram.
January 14 – Boracay
January 15 – Vigan
January 17 – Cebu
January 18 – Baguio
January 19 – Davao and Batangas
Aside from fashion shows, press presentations, and charity events, other noteworthy activities have been set for the following weeks. This story will be updated as more events are confirmed through the host committee.
January 16, 6:30 pm – Governor’s Ball
January 23 – National Gift Auction; courtesy call with President Rodrigo Duterte
January 29 – Red carpet welcome
January 30 – Coronation Night; Coronation Ball
National Costume Competition
Who is organizing the pageant in the Philippines? How much did it cost?
To stage Miss Universe, the private sector had to provide an estimated $15 million.
Ever since Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo gave word that the pageant would be held in the Philippines, she assured that the private sector would shoulder all the expenses for the event.
The official host of the Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines is the LCS Group, founded by businessman and former Ilocos Sur governor Luis "Chavit" Singson.
Official partners from the Philippines for the pageant include the Department of Tourism, Okada Manila, Solar Entertainment, Inc, and SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc, Philippine Airlines, and Pass It Forward.
Architect Richelle Singson-Michael is the chairman of the Miss Universe Host Committee.
Who is the Philippines' Miss Universe bet?
This year, Maxine Medina will be walking the stage on coronation night for the Philippines.
Maxine, 26, is an interior designer and a pageant newcomer – Binibining Pilipinas 2016 was her first pageant.
There is some pressure on Maxine as she enters the pageant. Of course, fans are hoping for a back-to-back win, but also, as the country's representative, she's set to act as a host to the ladies who will visit.
Her national costume and evening gown for the pageant will be designed by Rhett Eala.
Previous Miss Universe titleholders from the Philippines, aside from Pia, are Gloria Diaz (1969) and Margarita "Margie" Moran (1973).
The pageant was also held in the Philippines twice before: in 1974, when Margie crowned Amparo Muñoz of Spain, and in 1994, when Puerto Rico's Dayanara Torres crowned Sushmita Sen of India.