Photo by Gil Nartea/Malacanang Photo Bureau
MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach said that she's pleased to hear that the Philippines is earning even more recognition as a powerhouse in the international pageant scene.
In an interview with reporters after her courtesy call with President Benigno Aquino III at the Malacañang Palace, Tuesday, January 26, Pia said that the victories of the 2015 beauty queens are a great showcase of the modern Filipino woman.
"Well, I think it's very good that we are finally being recognized in the international scene with beauty pageants. I think it's about time because with all the training and the preparations that we have been doing, and how well received beauty pageants are here in the Philippines. It's very good that we are finally getting the recognition that I think we deserve," she said.
"So, I think, what that says about Filipinas is we are erasing that image that Filipinas are not palaban (competitive and fierce) because when, in fact, we are. We go out there and we are brave and we are fearless. It's 2016 now, so we are much more different from what people think we used to be. So, I think that speaks on how modern we are now."
In an interview with reporters last January 11 during the homecoming of 2015 Miss Intercontinental 1st runner-up Christi McGarry, Stella Araneta, chairperson of the Binibining Pilipinas Charities shared that during the Miss Universe competition, she was told by people from the Latin America that the Philippines is now on top of the pageant scene.
"I feel that we’re the number one now. Because even the Latin Americans I was with in the contest were saying that 'No Venezuela, it’s the Philippines.' Because they have found out that all the girls presented in the contest including hers (Christi) make it like Venezuela use to be," she said.
Christi and Miss Globe 2015 Ann Lorraine Colis also believed that the Philippines is now recognized number one as well because of support of the Filipinos. (READ: Miss Universe president Paula Shugart on Filipino fans)
"I think it's more than proven. Even the girls from my batch (Miss Intercontinental) like I said the powerhouses – the Venezuelans, the Colombians, they know we are a force to be reckoned with. They know the Philippines is on the map, if not the strongest contender in the group. I think Bb Pilipinas has worked out the correct formula to figure out what kind of girls and to shape, and transform them to true beauty queens, and I’m not sure if other countries will be able to replicate what we had, because it’s a combination of beauty but it’s class and pride, and all things at one," Christi said.
Ann meanwhile said: "I’m just happy that we’re considered a powerhouse when it comes to pageants. It’s a big honor for us. And I just want to take this opportunity that we can’t be like this strong without the Filipinos' support. I feel like iyon talaga yung (that's) one of the reasons why kami nanalo kasi (we win) because of the hearts of Filipinos to support their queens."
Aside from Pia, Christi, and Ann, other beauty queens also took home titles, runner-up positions, and placed in the top semifinalists. Ann was the first represent the country, winning the Miss Globe title in September in Canada.
On December 5, Angelia Ong made it a back-to-back win for the country, when she won Miss Earth in Vienna, Austria.
The year ended with Leren Mae Bautista capturing the Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International crown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on December 31. – Rappler.com
Pia Wurtzbach as Miss Universe 2015