Pia Wurtzbach leads benefit gala 'The Universe Gives Back'

MANILA, Philippines – A special fashion show and benefit gala will be held on June 4  at the Marriott Hotel, with no less than Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach as one of the co-chairpersons of the event.

"The Universe Gives Back," a joint project of the Miss Universe Philippines and Binibining Pilipinas groups, is expected to be attended by Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray as well.

At the press conference for the benefit gala on Wednesday, May 8, Pia, together with co-chairpersons architect Richelle Singson-Michael and fashion designer Albert Andrada, said that the gala will bring together past Miss Universe Philippines winners and Bb Pilipinas 2019 candidates.

Richelle, daughter of former Ilocos Sur governor Luis "Chavit" Singson and one of those who brought the Miss Universe pageant to Manila for the 2016 edition, said that the gala would be just one of their events.

"This year, we will be going to different places in the Philippines to showcase our tourist destinations. One will be in Vigan and the other one will be in Boracay,"she said.

She added that they plan to hold the gala every year and to showcase more of the country through arts, entertainment, and more. 

The organizers of the gala dinner and fashion show hope to raise funds for two organizations – Love Yourself, which Pia has been supporting, and Young Focus, which Catriona has been supporting even before her pageant days.

Designers who will showcase at the event are Albert Andrada, Michael Leyva, Rhett Eala, Ito Curata, Jot Losa, Avel Bacudio, Cherry Veric, and Martin Bautista.

For Albert, the fashion show is a significant moment for the designers, as this will allow  the public to see Filipino creations.

"I'm thankful to be a part of it because during Pia's time, that was the time when Bb Pilipinas opened doors for Filipino designers. And I was so thankful to be part of it," he said, recalling the time when candidates were dressed by international designers.

Dr Vinn Garcia-Pagtakhan, who represented Love Yourself, said that the proceeds will go to treatment centers the group is helping, while Wabel Animoza of Young Focus Philippines said that any help they will get will support out-of-school youth programs.

GROWING BRAND. Pia Wurtzbach says she's happy that the Miss Universe Philippines brand has evolved in the country for a good cause. Photo by Alexa Villano / Rappler

GROWING BRAND. Pia Wurtzbach says she's happy that the Miss Universe Philippines brand has evolved in the country for a good cause.

Photo by Alexa Villano / Rappler

Asked how she felt about the Miss Universe brand's growth and evolution, Pia said: "Bigla ko na realize na oo nga 'no, ang laki na pala ng pinagbago ngayon (I suddenyl realized that yeah, so much has changed now)." From my year when I was competing, there was a time when we couldn't even wear Filipino designers on Bb Pilipinas and now, we're having a charity  gala showcasing 8 Filipino designers. And the Binibinis will be wearing them. So I'm so happy, I'm really proud."

Tickets for the benefit dinner and fashion show start at P 10,000 with VIP seats at P15,000 per head. For more information, check out the Miss Universe Philippines Facebook page and Instagram @missuniversephilippines, or call//text Michelle Tulagan at 0977-2391677. – Rappler.com