With his rolled up Barong Tagalog sleeves and signature suspenders—Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte reportedly made the beauties of the 65th Miss Universe pageant feel right at home at Malacanang Palace Monday afternoon.
An open admirer of beautiful women, Mr. Duterte welcomed 84 out of the official 86 candidates during their courtesy call at the Rizal Ballroom, with Miss Switzerland Dijana Cvijetic and Miss Finland Shirly Karvine skipping this major event for feeling ill.
Following his brief and lighthearted speech [read full story in today’s News Section], the beauties had their photo opportunity in batches of 20 with the President, as well as Department of Secretary Wanda Teo and Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shughart.
As the candidates shook hands with the President one by one, Miss Philippines Maxine Medina received an extra pat on the back during her turn as if to wish her good luck.
Before the courtesy call, the candidates had lunch at the President’s Hall, and after their visit to Malacañang proceeded with the rest of Monday’s itinerary, which included a National Gift Auction at Conrad Hotel.
From hereon, the last remaining days until the grand coronation on January 30 will see will see the candidates in preliminary competitions, such as the final judging for swimsuit, long gown and national costume. No more out of town trips are scheduled for the candidates who will be busy rehearsing for Monday’s big day.