MANILA — Malacañang considers the victory of 26-year old German-Filipina Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach in the just concluded 2015 Miss Universe pageant as a great Christmas gift for Filipinos.

Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. and Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda both congratulated Wurtzbach in separate statements released Monday, hours after she won the title.

“The triumph of Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach in the Miss Universe pageant is an honor that is shared by the entire Filipino nation,” Secretary Coloma told reporters during a press briefing held at the Air Force City in Clark, Pampanga.

Coloma described Wurtzbach as “the embodiment of the Filipinos’ intelligence, talent, and skill” that are recognized in the global stage.

“Her victory is a most welcome Christmas present to a grateful and hopeful nation,” he added.

The Filipina beauty queen outshone 79 other candidates from around the world in the 64th Miss Universe pageant held Sunday evening (Monday morning in Manila) at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Meanwhile, Secretary Lacierda praised Wurtzbach for showing “tremendous poise and control”, as pageant host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced her as first runner-up to Ariadna Gutierrez of Colombia.

“In the first few moments of the original announcement, she showed tremendous poise and control, and even more tremendous graciousness when the real verdict was finally announced,” Lacierda said.

Harvey immediately corrected the mix-up and awarded the crown to Wurtzbach. Gutierrez was named first runner-up and Olivia Jordan of the United States placed second runner-up to complete the top three.

It was a victory 42 years in the making, as Wurtzbach became only the third Filipina to have won the Miss Universe title. Gloria Diaz first took it home in 1969, followed by Margarita Moran in 1973.

The tremendous support of Filipinos across the globe helped propel Wurtzbach to become a pageant favorite that eventually led to her winning the Miss Universe crown, Lacierda noted.

“In bagging this victory, Ms. Wurtzbach not only serves as a tremendous source of pride for our people, but also holds up the banner of our women and of our country—as a true representative of what the Filipina can achieve,” he said.

“Indeed, this triumph is the result not only of her beauty but also of her passion for positive change, as one who is confidently beautiful with the heart. Over 42 years and today, once more the Philippines shines forth with joy and celebration,” he added.

Wurtzbach was a model and actress by profession. She earned the right to represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant after winning the Binibining Pilipinas crown last March. PNA/northboundasia.com