Destiny’s darling, according to Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is the happiest woman on Earth. On December 20, 2015 (Monday morning in Manila), 26-year- old Binibining Pilipinas Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach finally became destiny’s darling as she realized her longtime dream of winning the coveted Miss Universe title.
Moreover, not only did Wurtzbach become the happiest woman on earth, but she also made the happiest nation of the Philippines, which also had long waited for a new queen, 42 years since Margie Moran won the same title in the 1970s.
And so on January 23, as the three-time Binibining Pilipinas candidate—whose story of passion and perseverance has served as an inspiration to countless Filipinos—finally came home, she received an overwhelming welcome from a people, filled with love, admiration and gratitude for the country’s newest source of pride.
Here’s a lookback with The Sunday Times Magazine on the beautiful week that was in the Philippines, with the most beautiful girl in the world.
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Day 1: The Arrival
At six in the morning on Saturday, January 23, Philippine Airlines flight 538 took a very thrilled beauty queen back to her beloved home. Wurtzbach was greeted by excited media and airport personnel who had been waiting for the new Miss Universe since dawn at Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 2. Later that day, without a hint of exhaustion or jetlag, Wurtzbach was spotted in her first public appearance during shampoo brand Cream Silk’s Transformations event at the World Trade Center.
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Day 2: Grand Press Conference
With topic ranging from US military presence in the country to achieving her ultimate dream, the issue of HIV to the $300,000 Miss Universe crown, the half-German, half-Filipina goddess gamely dished out her thoughts before local and international media at her grand press conference on Sunday, January 24 at Novotel Manila, Araneta Center.
The hour-long freewheeling question-and-answer session showed the different sides of the world’s most beautiful woman, who is deeply concerned with society, determined and passionate in everything she does, family-centered, and fun-loving.
Catch Pia’s homecoming show tonight at ABS-CBN
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach finally had her victory walk as she relived her winning moment before her countrymen during the homecoming tribute mounted by ABS-CBN at the Araneta Coliseum.
Wearing her blue Albert Andrada evening gown, Pia took the jam-packed crowd back to her winning moment in Las Vegas as she graciously walked on stage with the coveted crown on her head as if she just won Miss Universe. What made the moment even more special was that she shared the stage with Miss Universe 1973 Margie Moran.
It was indeed a tribute fit for a queen. Aside from Margie, past Binibining Pilipinas winners also congratulated her the likes of Miriam Quiambao, Nina Ricci Alagao, Bianca Manalo, Venus Raj and Ariella Arida.
She was also serenaded by two of the country’s sought after leading men, Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby and sat down with the King of Talk Boy Abunda for a one-on-one interview where she answered questions such as her plans on pushing her advocacies, being friends with other Miss Universe contestants, talking to President Aquino for the first time after she won, thoughts on the LGBT community, and how it was being back home so far.
Other performers that night include Erik Santos, Yeng Constantino, Gerphil Flores, and Jed Madela.
Watch the full tribute dubbed as “Welcome Home Miss Universe: The Grand Homecoming of Pia Wurtzbach” tonight on ABS-CBN’s Sunday’s Best.
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Day 3: Grand Parade and Courtesy Calls
Students, government personnel, private office workers, and even statesmen, took a break from their weekday grind on January 26, and welcomed Miss Universe 2015 in a series of public activities. Wurtzbach’s hectic schedule started with a courtesy call on Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada at the Manila City Hall followed by a courtesy call at the Senate. Earlier than scheduled, she started her three-part ticker tape parade—in Manila, Makati and Quezon City—which was met with huge crowds, all eager for a glimpse of their queen.
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Day 4: Malacañang, Congress, Makati and Quezon City Courtesy Calls
On the fourth day of her homecoming, January 27, the former model and TV actress-turned-beauty queen’s schedule was even busier. From their supposed Monday meeting, she met President Benigno Aquino 3rd—the bachelor president rumored to have had dinner with the 26-year old beauty queen before—at Malacanang, where they exchanged pleasantries. Her day of courtesy calls continued at the House of Representatives, Makati City Hall, and finally, at Quezon City Hall, where she was met every time with excited admirers.
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Day 5: Charity Day
The Cagayan de Oro City lass spent January 27 visiting patients at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center. She shook hands with them, shared jokes and told little stories about her experiences to comfort injured soldiers at the hospital’s Heroes Ward 3A. The beauty queen then met with children from Smile Train, an organization providing corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and palates and finally, had a dialogue with people living with HIV.
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Day 6: Homecoming Special
With her now sought-after royal blue Albert Andrada gown and her sparkling $300,000 Czech-made sapphire and diamond crown, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach finally had her well-deserved victory walk, in front of her countrymen on Thursday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. But before appearing in her full Miss Universe regalia, Wurtzbach first shared spotlight with the former Miss Universe-Philippines candidates, including 1973 Miss Universe Margie Moran. She then gamely answered question from Boy Abunda during their one-on-one live interview.