Gloria Diaz crowned her successor, Marisol Malaret of Puerto Rico, in 1970. The Philippines was represented by Simonette Delos Reyes. The following year, Vida Valentina Doria did not make it to the semi-finals but was named Miss Photogenic. Georgina Rizk of Lebanon was crowned Miss Universe 1971.
In 1972, Armi Barbara Crespo made it to Top 12. Kerry Anne Wells of Australia succeeded Rizk as Miss Universe.
And then came 1973, which proved to be another big year for the Philippines when Maryknoll (now Miriam) student Maria Margarita Moran was crowned Miss Universe in Athens, Greece. She was also named Miss Photogenic.
The granddaughter of the fifth President of the Philippines, Manuel Roxas, and part-time model under the tutelage of Auggie Cordero, she joined Binibining Pilipinas due to the incessant urging of friends and family.
With the candidates dressed like goddesses on pageant night, Moran was already a favorite among Greeks and international media covering Miss Universe—her photos were mounted onto placards, with overseas Filipinos in Greece and nearby European countries flocking to the venue to express their support.
Making it to Top 5, her question was, “Let’s make believe that all of a sudden you had a million dollars. What’s the first thing that you would buy and why would you buy it?”
The Filipina goddess answered with conviction, “A house and lot, because it’s the most expensive thing and I can’t afford it. If I had a million bucks, I’d buy a house and lot and live by myself, and other people of course.”
The others in the Top 5 were Israel, Spain, Norway, and USA who was First Runner-Up as host Bob Barker announced Miss Philippines as the new Miss Universe.
The pageant in Athens, held at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, was the first to be held in Europe. It attracted 61 candidates.
Moran’s win paved the way for the hosting of Miss Universe the following year in Manila, seeing the construction of the Folk Arts Theater and the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex in record time upon the order of then First Lady and Metro Manila Governor Imelda Marcos.
With Moran accompanying the candidates in all events, the reigning Miss Universe was still conspicuously the most beautiful and most photogenic in a sea of beautiful faces in photographs.
She made a movie in 1974 —Oh, Margie, Oh!— a romantic comedy laden with song and dance opposite Victor Laurel.
Instead of pursuing a showbiz career, the country’s second Miss Universe decided to finish her Business Administration degree at Maryknoll, finishing Cum Laude, then went on to pursue further studies in Boston University. She also took her masters at the University of London.
She married Mindanao scion Antonio Floirendo Jr. at 21. The couple was blessed with two daughters, Monica Danielle and Gabrielle Antoinette.
Moran headed the Davao Pearl Farm in Samal Island, Davao Del Norte from 1989 to 1994; hosted her own TV show, Margie On Mindanao; and produced the multi-awarded movie Bagong Buwan starring Cesar Montano as a Muslim doctor.
Moran is currently the president of Ballet Philippines and also an ambassador-trustee of Habitat for Humanity Philippines among her social and civic works.
Sources: www.missuniverse.com, wikipedia