MANILA -- Right after winning the Miss Universe 2017 crown last November 26, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters from South Africa, together with her predecessor Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere and select candidates are set to visit Manila and parts of the Philippines this week.
In a press conference Monday, Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said it was the Miss Universe Organization that personally requested the agency to let the ladies tour the country starting December 5.
"Actually when the Miss Universe was here, I think that was in mid-September, they wanted us to host the Miss Universe again, the president told us na 'wag na lang muna dahil ASEAN (summit) but hopefully next year," she said. "So they asked us again kung pwede yung mga candidates na mga nanalo could come to the Philippines because last January, the candidates went around the Philippines and they said the candidates really want it."
Teo said the DOT agreed to host the beauty titlists from select countries that the department identified as "key and emerging markets" in tourism.
"Pinil ilang namin 'yung mga emerging and key markets naming na lugar to come to the Philippines and of course the winner, the 2016 and winner ngayon."
The visit will run from December 5 to 10. The ladies will join a tour in Manila on December 6, a charity ball and the DOT Christmas party on December 7, a tour by group in Batanes, Bohol, and Camiguin on December 8 and a gala night on December 9.
DOT Undersecretary Kat De Castro said apart from 2016 and 2017 Miss Universe, those who have confirmed include Ms. Canada, Ms. Malaysia, Ms. Singapore, Ms. India, Ms. Great Britain, Ms. China, Ms. Italy, Ms. Netherlands, Ms. Russia, Ms. Korea, Ms. USA and Miss Universe Organization President Paula Mary Shugart.
"Yung mga candidates who will be going to Batanes is Miss Universe 2017, kasama din ditto si (Miss Universe) 2016 si Iris and then Ms. India, Ms. USA, Ms. Singapore and kapagnatuloy, Ms. Thailand," said Teo.
Teo said fans in Bohol may have the chance to welcome Ms. France, Ms. Russia, Ms. Netherlands, Ms. South Korea and Ms. Canada.
Meanwhile, Ms. Philippines Rachel Peters, Ms. China, Ms. Italy, Ms. Great Britain and Ms. Malaysia will visit Camiguin.
Teo said Italy, Netherlands, Russia, India, and Canada have been identified as "emerging markets" while Great Britain, USA, Singapore, China, Malaysia, and South Korea are "key markets".
She added that the Miss Universe organization has expressed intention to hold the Miss Universe pageant again next year.
"They really want (the Philippines to host), when we said no this year, they asked us pwede bang next year, I said it depends on the president again, I have to ask permission from the president." (PNA)