It’s official: The Philippines will host the Miss Universe pageant in January next year.
“The Miss Universe beauty pageant will be on Jan. 30, 2017 here in the Philippines,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo said in a news briefing.
“We have a President who comes from Mindanao and our Miss Universe is from Mindanao so I think it is the best time for us to do Miss Universe in the Philippines,” she added.
Duterte hails from Davao while reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach is from Cagayan De Oro.
The pageant will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The private sector will shoulder the costs to be incurred for the event, estimated at $11 million.
Teo said the other Miss Universe events may be held in some of the country’s top tourist destinations such as Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Boracay, Cebu, Palawan and Vigan.
Early this month, Wurtzbach, Teo and Miss Universe top officials met with President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss the plan to hold the pageant in the country.
Tourism Undersecretary for Media Affairs Kat de Castro said the President did not turn down the proposal for the Philippines to host the international event.
“There was never a ‘no’ from the President. His major concern was spending. But when we assured him that there will be no funding from the government, he said okay,” de Castro said.
Teo had said the country, especially the tourism sector, will gain tremendously from the country’s hosting of the pageant.