MANILA — The first Miss Universe pre-pageant activity kicked off in Boracay Island on Saturday with at least 16 candidates clammed up for a swim wear photoshoot in the country’s 24/7 part island.
Among them were Miss Argentina, Miss Australia, Miss Belize, Miss Chile, Miss Costa Rica, Miss Ecuador, Miss Guyana, Miss Malta, Miss Mexico, Miss Myanmar, Miss Namibia, Miss Nicaragua, Miss Poland, Miss Turkey, Miss US Virgin Island, Miss Honduras.speed
Local residents provided a warm welcome upon their arrival at the Geodofredo Ramos Airport in Caticlan within an hour’s flight from Manila and 15-minute boat ride to Shangri-la Boracay Resort and Spa.
The welcoming party was composed of Malay town officials, an Ati-Atihan dance group, among other fans and onlookers.
Apart from the photo shoot, the delegates tried dragon boat-rowing, and trying their hand on weaving and fishnet-making in the style of local indigenous Ati culture.
Miss Australia Caris Tiivel was delighted by the warm welcome they received while Miss Myanmar Htet Htet Htun complimented the beauty of Boracay.
“This is unbelievable! All these folks, young and old, turned out to welcome us,” Tiivel said in an interview.
“Boracay is even more exciting and meaningful. The people are very friendly and joyful to be with,” Htun said, in a separate interview.
Private sponsors headed by former-Governor Luis Chavit Singson and Solar Entertainment were joined by Malay town mayor Ciceron Cawaling, and Department of Tourism (DOT) Asst. Sec. Ricky Alegre, who represented DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo.
Also in attendance were Tessa Paz Alviz, Solar Entertainment vice-president for Programming & Marketing and Miss Universe first-runner up Shamcey Supsup, who hosted the event.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) said that at present, a total of 84 candidates are currently in the Philippines, some in Manila, while others in Boracay for pre-pageant activities.
Three more candidates from Dominican Republic, Nigeria, and Colombia are also expected to arrive the country today. Reigning Miss Universe-Philippines Pia Wurtzbach would be arriving the same day.
After Boracay, the ladies will also attend pre-pageant activities in Vigan on Jan. 15, Cebu on Jan. 17, Baguio on Jan. 18, and Batangas and Davao on Jan. 19.
A Governor’s Ball will also be held in Manila on Jan. 16 and a courtesy call with Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang on Jan. 23. The pageant will be capped by the finals and coronation night at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Jan. 30. Azer Parrocha/PNA-northboundasia.com