In just seven weeks, the Miss Universe 2016 grand coronation night will finally push through in the Philippines!
Over 80 candidates from all over the world will fly to the Philippines for the 65th edition of the biggest beauty pageant in history to be held on January 29, 2017 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
A kick-off party was held last Saturday, December 10, at S Maison Mall in Conrad Hotel, led by Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart (below, left, in salmon-colored dress).
The chairpersons of the host committee led by LCS Groups' Founder and Chairman Emeritus Luis "Chavit" Singson (below, center), along with his daughter Richelle Singson-Michael, were present at the event.
The Department of Tourism, led by Secretary Wanda Teo (below, right) and Undersecretary Kat de Castro, was also in attendance.
Representatives of the pageants' major sponsors from SM Lifestyle, Okada Manila, and Solar Entertainment also graced the event.
The event was hosted by Miss Universe 2011 3rd runner-up Shamcey Supsup and GMA-7 actor Benjamin Alves.
Ten beauty queens from the region flew to the country ahead of the competition to see some of the country's top tourist attractions and promote the pageant.
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach personally welcomed some of the candidates and expressed her gratitude to those who made her dream possible.
Pia told the audience, "I'm just really grateful that the pageant is finally happening here.
"It started with an idea and I asked Paula if it's okay for me to, during my interviews, during my homecoming if it's okay that I mention the we would like to host the next Miss Universe competition here because who knows, it might actually happen?
"And now here we are and all thanks to everyone who made it possible, to all our sponsors we work very close with. Thank you so much for making this happen."
She continued, "It's not also a dream of Paula's, a dream of the Miss Universe Organization, but also a dream of mine to bring back the competition here and to show the world how beautiful the Philippines is.
"And it would really be great to finally have my proper walk on stage in no less than my home country, of course.
"You know, I'm not yet ready to give up this sash yet. I'm quite attached to it but goodluck to all the ladies.
"I'm very excited for what's in store and umpisa pa lang 'to guys!
"It's only December and let's keep the momentum together and finally welcome to the Miss Universe competition."
Some of the tourist destinations the contestants will visit during their week-long stay include the beaches of Siargao; Oslob, Cebu; and Intramuros in Manila.
Here are the candidates:
Miss Australia Caris Tiivel
Miss Indonesia Kezia Warouw
Miss Japan Sari Nakazawa
Miss Korea Jenny Kim
Miss Malaysia Kiran Jassal
Miss Myanmar Htet Htet Htun
Miss New Zealand Tania Pauline Dawson
Miss Philippines Maxine Medina
Miss Thailand Chalita Suansane
Miss USA Deshauna Barber
Miss Vietnam Dang Thi Le Hang