By ROBERT R. REQUINTINA
AFTER the talks for the staging of the Miss Universe 2018 beauty pageant in China failed, the most prestigious beauty contest is heading back to Manila, sources said last Thursday.
“At this point, Manila is the favored country to host the Miss Universe pageant. If it pushes through, the beauty contest will help promote the reopening of Boracay Island in Aklan,” the same sources said.
Sources said that the China talks for the holding of the Miss Universe contest were aborted following issues on live broadcast.
“China does not want to air the Miss Universe beauty contest live. All these years, the beauty pageant has been airing live so the organizers could not imagine if the event is taped or delayed,” they said.
The sources added: “This time, the pageant will feature more about the Philippines. In 2016, many people were disappointed on the broadcast of the Miss Universe pageant because it did not really highlight the beauty of our country. But this time, the Manila broadcast will showcase wellness and tourism in the Philippines.”
There is still no venue and date for the possible staging of the Miss Universe 2018 contest in Manila. But sources said that it might be held in Boracay later this year.
In March, MUO President Paula Shugart and MUO VP for Business Development and Marketing Shawn McClain traveled to China for an ocular of the possible venue of the Miss Universe pageant. They were accompanied by architect Richele Singson, daughter of former Gov. Chavit Singson of Ilocos Sur and other officials of Hangzhou. But the talks were not successful.
If the pageant would really be held again here, sources said that the beauty contest will not be organized anymore by Chavit Singson. “They are considering another group.”
Last April 14, President Rodrigo Duterte floated the idea of staging the Miss Universe 2018 pageant in Boracay, as revealed by Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo in a press conference.
“There was one Cabinet Secretary asking me na, ‘This is for you, Secretary. Will you be able to promote Boracay once you close it? Mahirap i-promote ang isang island ‘pag sinara mo,” said Teo.
The DoT official said: “Boracay is Boracay… hindi na ‘yan kailangan i-promote.”
Teo recalled that Duterte then said: “O sige kung gusto ninyo ilagay natin ang Miss Universe dun, papuntahin natin ang Miss Universe para pag nag-open ‘yan lahat magsipuntahan.”
Duterte ordered the shutdown of Boracay Island for six months from April 26 to pave the way for a major cleanup of what officials described as “sewer pool.”
Manila hosted the Miss Universe pageant for the third time last Jan. 30, 2017.