Pia gifted with bamboo cocktail dress
A BLACK cocktail dress made of bamboo awaited Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach when she made a courtesy call on Makati Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña on Tuesday.
“We are truly proud of you. You have shown the world that with perseverance, courage and determination, dreams do come true,” said Peña, who personally handed the city’s gift to the beauty queen during a short program on the Makati City Hall grounds.
The dress was the work of renowned Filipino designer Nardie Presa, who had come back to the country to practice his craft after staying in Los Angeles for 22 years. Presa represented the Philippines in the Singapore Fashion Connections in 1988 and had since done fashion shows all over Asia and the United States.
“I am very happy. My win is dedicated to all of you. My crown is also your crown,” Wurtzbach responded in a short speech delivered before hundreds of Makati City employees and residents.
Added the country’s third Miss Universe after Margie Moran in 1973, and Gloria Diaz in 1969: “This is all for the Philippines. Mabuhay po tayong lahat (Long live us all)!”
Peña also handed Wurtzbach the symbolic key to the city, a token given to VIPs and dignitaries recognized by the local government.
“Thank you for sharing your success with your fellow Filipinos. May you continue to serve as inspiration to everyone, touching people’s hearts and lives wherever you go,” added the Makati mayor.
The Makati City information officer, Gibo delos Reyes, said the courtesy call was also the beauty queen’s way of thanking the host cities of her grand parade on Monday, which was part of the activities lined up for her homecoming on Saturday.
After the short program on the Makati City Hall grounds, Wurtzbach and her entourage, which included Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart and Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. chair Stella Marquez-Araneta, motored to Quezon City for a courtesy call on Mayor Herbert Bautista.
At Bautista’s office, the beauty queen ended up posing for wacky pictures with special education students from Batino Elementary School and General Roxas Elementary School, who were there with the coordinators for the group’s annual Camp Pag-ibig.
“She’s so beautiful. She kissed me,” recalled one of the students of their encounter with the 2015 Miss Universe.
During the closed-door talk inside the mayor’s office, Wurtzbach’s manager, Esther Swan, suggested giving one of the students the Miss Universe sash for a photo opportunity.
“Who wants the sash?” Wurtzbach asked. When all of them wanted it, the beauty queen decided to wrap the sash around all the students, Bautista recounted.
The visit also gave Wurtzbach another opportunity to share her advocacy on HIV/AIDS, as the Quezon City government is a United Nations pilot city in HIV treatment and prevention programs.
Wurtzbach had offered to raise funds for the city’s planned hospice for senior citizens with HIV, Bautista said.
“If you’ll allow me. I’ll help you with that. We’ll coordinate with UNAIDS. I’ll work on campaigning for HIV and course funds through the city,” the mayor quoted Wurtzbach as saying.
Quezon City recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to expand the city’s response to the pandemic and end it by 2030.
The local government also opened the HIV clinic, Klinika Bernardo, which received the Galing Pook Award in 2014.
Fans crowded the lobby for a glimpse of the beauty queen, among them PO1 Haynee Corpuz, who posed for a picture with the welcome tarp before her duty as one of the foyer officers.
Miss Universe for life
Wurtzbach’s win, Corpuz said, stoked her pride as a woman. “I hope she stays humble and continues with her advocacy even after her reign. Because for us, she is a Miss Universe for life,” the police officer added.
The 26-year-old beauty queen was also scheduled to bring cheer on Wednesday to wounded soldiers confined at the Heroes Ward of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center in Quezon City.
“She will visit battle casualties—those hit by bullets or injured in encounters, as well as patients from outside the AFP Medical Center afflicted with HIV who will be coming here,” said Col. Joseph Acosta, chief of the military hospital.
“This will have a big effect on the patients,” Acosta said. “If someone famous visits them, the soldiers become happy, and you heal faster when you are happy,” he added of the visit organized by Makati Medical Foundation.
The international beauty queen is an inspiration to all Filipinos, said AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato.
“The visit will surely lift the spirits of our wounded soldiers and their families. Her visit is not only about words of inspiration but a manifestation that these (soldiers) are not forgotten. Her visit is a message of peace to the peacemakers,” Detoyato added. With reports from Erika Sauler and Julie M. Aurelio