Before we start, let’s get something straight. This following post is filled with mainly rumors and speculations, and there isn’t any confirmation from the Miss Universe org just yet. Also, this post will be a long read in Taglish. Google translate if you must.
The first time we heard rumors that the Philippines is a possible host of the 68th edition of the Miss Universe pageant was during the homecoming presscon of Miss Universe Catriona Gray. Of course like anyone else, hindi kami agad naniwala kasi kaka-host lang natin last January 2017 (for the MU 2016 edition). And that chismis was lost in the flurry of Catriona’s homecoming. But despite numerous other countries popping up as a rumored possible venue (like Vietnam, Dubai-UAE, Brazil, South Korea and even a back to back hosting for Thailand), hindi nawawala ever ang Pinas as one of the possibilities. So it means that talagang seryoso na maibalik uli dito sa Pinas ang pageant. It could also possibly mean that hindi aasa sa Department of Tourism ang team ng LCS for funding considering that last year, the new DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said hosting the pageant isn’t a priority of the department. Matatandaan din na nung nakaraang year, former DOT Secretary Wanda Teo mentioned that aside from the Philippines, Vietnam is also bidding to host the Miss Universe 2018 edition.
That being said, nakikita na natin na seryoso yung kagustuhan for the pageant to be held here in the Philippines kahit nung nakaraang taon pa. There were whispers and murmurs that we just chose to not pay attention to or didn’t notice.
THE PHILIPPINES AS HOST COUNTRY
Before we get into the full details of the Philippines as the possible host of MU 2019/2020, let’s review some facts.
When it comes to economics, Asia has it better compared to Latin America. According to The Inquirer, the Philippines experienced a slow-down in GDP growth of 5.6% compared to the projected 6.6% growth for the first quarter of 2019. Even with that slow down, it is still higher comparative to the projected GDP growth for Latin American countries in 2020. According to a Forbes report, Brazil is poised at 2.6% growth, Colombia is at 4%, Argentina at 2.2%, and Mexico at 2%. In the same report, Asia-Pacific is at a flat growth rate of 5.3%, still a bigger chunk compared to Latin America. Other Southeast Asian countries are also expected to grow higher than its Latin American counterparts. In a report from Asian Development Bank, Cambodia is forecast to grow at 7%, Vietnam at 6.8%, Malaysia at 4.5% and Thailand with 3.9%. This is why pageants are flocking to Asia because it is where the money is.
Pageants tend to spend more whenever they are being held in their hometurf or at least earn less. When the Miss Universe 2014 was held in Doral the budget was $2.9 million compared to 2005 edition wherein Thailand had an approximate budget of $20 million with $6.5 million of that money allotted for the ‘rights to stage’ paid to the MUOrg. You can read more on the MU budgets in this post. And it is also difficult to stage a pageant where there is very little clamor or interest in it. Take into consideration Europe. When was the last time did we hear a European country bidding to host the Miss Universe pageant?
Now here’s an unverified claim from our moles: the last time that Manila was hosted the pageant, it rolled the red carpet not only to the candidates but also to the MU officials, security and crew. Meaning sa magagandang rooms naka-billeted ang mga officials, pinapasakay sila sa mga yacht at private jets, laging 1st class ang treatment sa kanila nung tayo ang host country. Hindi nagsisiksikan ang mga crew sa mga mumurahing hotel at hindi tipid sa pagkain. Kung saan nakatira ang mga candidates dun din sila nakatira and sagana sa pagkain sa buffet ang mga officials at crew. Now tell us sinong ayaw maranasan uli yun? In the Philippines, the MUOrg are treated like royalty and that is why MU President Paula Shugart regularly noted the hospitality and warmth of the Filipinos in past interviews.
According to our friendly MU insiders and resident chismosas, the hosting in the Philippines is 80% a done deal. Meaning mas malaking chances that it will be held here kesa sa ibang lugar. It will be a matter of getting the sponsors for the event that the organizing committee would have to deal with. But in terms of moolah? Our moles don’t think that LCS would have an issue. If LCS head honcho Chavit Singson bet Manny Paquiao to win in his latest boxing fight, he probably earned millions in USD in that fight.
Of course pageant fans want it somewhere else pero isipin nyo kung paano magdesisyon ang MUOrg – duon sila kung saan may pera and may kikitain sila to fund their business operations for the next year. So ang tanong is: aarte pa ba ang MUOrg kung saan iho-host ang pageant? At aarte pa ba tayong mag Pinoy if it is held here? Surely come Miss Universe season even those who are opposed to hosting the pageant here in Manila would definitely join in the festivities. A true MU pageant fan wouldn’t be able to deny themselves of the experience.
THE MISS UNIVERSE DATE
As for the Miss Universe date, earlier Google search yielded us a December 19 date for the pageant’s finals, a Thursday. A day which can be problematic for US viewers as the MU pageant is usually held on a Sunday evening. With the MU pageant on a declining viewership, having it aired on a Sunday night mean more US viewers are at home instead of out with friends on a weekend. That being said, having it on a December 15, Sunday, would be problematic for the presumptive host country, the Philippines.
A post from a Venezuelan owned pageant portal mentioned that the next Miss Universe pageant will air live on January 26, 2020. That date falls on a Sunday. This would be a more believable date considering that the Philippines will play host to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games that will begin on Saturday, 30th of November and ends on Wednesday, December 11. An overlap on those two big events is unlikely to happen. Having to split security personnel would be an issue.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE PHILIPPINES TO HOST AGAIN
Now we are going to speculate what all this could mean for the Philippine pageant fans and the Filipina rep to MU.
1. Filipino pageant fans would make Miss Universe THE trending topic on Social Media – Filipinos are the most voracious social media consumers of the world. In a study by We Are Social and Hootsuite titled”Digital 2019: Global Digital Overview”, it was reported by Rappler that the Philippines is among the top social media users for 3 consecutive years. “In the Philippines, time spent online daily soared to 10 hours and 2 minutes this year, the highest in the world. Coming in second is Brazil, clocking in at 9 hours and 29 minutes, while Thailand is third at 9 hours and 11 minutes. Last year, the Philippines came in second to Thailand at 9 hours and 38 minutes.” It is no wonder that 34% of the global social media buzz on Miss Universe 2018 came from Filipinos even before the finals even began. That is to say that the Philippines is a huge marketing machine. This type of free online publicity is something that big brands would love to tap on and Miss Universe gets it for free from us. Kaya malaking kawalan ng MW ang pagtalikod ng Pilipinas sa kanila dahil malaking porsyento ng Mobstar voting machinery ang nawala sa kanila. In fact, if this power is monetized, the Philippines will get paid to host any international pageant of this caliber.
Just look at the peak interest of both MU & MW in the infographic below:
It will clearly show that the times both pageants trended worldwide was when a Filipina won the crown.
2. There will be a huge clamor for Gazini Ganados to win a Back-to-Back victory – yes, I concur that this is a herculean task but it will be something that Filipinos will pile on Miss Universe Philipines Gazini Ganados. She is aware of the high difficulty of winning a second consecutive crown but she will be poised to compete like her life depended on it. It is an added pressure but no Filipina rep sent to Miss Universe ever didn’t perform to the besot of her abilities. But this also comes with an advantage. It means that Gazini will be a major frontrunner for the crown.
– Imagine the publicity of having a back to back challenge happening in MU in a hometurf. She won’t be out of public appearances due to the publicity she will generate and will be generated for her being the host delegate.
– Ito Tatagalugin ko para maintindihan ng lahat. Malakas ang kutob ko na mas madali makapasok si Gazini sa top 5 at possible top 3 dahil hindi makakalabas ng Pinas ng buhay ang mga myembro ng MUOrg kung malaglag agad sa top 10 lang si Gazini. Joking aside, historically the Philippines make top 6 whenever the pageant is held in Manila (except for 1974 where there was only a top 5 after the top 12).
– Gazini winning in a homecourt advantage wouldn’t be an issue as most American winners have done that in the past. As we all know, most MU judges are skewed towards favoring American judges. Even Miss Universe 2001 Denise Quiñones won in her home country Puerto Rico with 2 Puerto Rican judges on the panel.
– it could also mean that we can hope that a possible gargantuan Sinulog Festival costume can be made for her. Because the only reason why we couldn’t do it in the past is the prohibitive cost of shipping huge pieces of the costume, a trend that only got broken with Catriona Gray last year with her team handling the shipping of her costume courtesy of shoe designer Jojo Bragais. Ngayon kung sa Pinas nga gaganapin ang MU, madali ng higit ang pagtransport ng malaking costume sa Maynila.
3. A Chance to Re-Do MU2016 Right – this is an opportunity to do a Philippine-centric staging right from stage, to wardrobes, to music… Imagine this scenario: swimsuits made by Domz Ramos, Pegarro Swim, or any other Filipino brand; official MU shoes by Jojo Bragais; stage with Kawayan, Sampaguita and Anahaw motifs; Ati-atihan drum ensemble for the swimsuit competition and a rondalla for the evening gowns… the possibilities could be endless! Best of all, reigning winner Catriona gray would be relinquishing her title in her home turf! And we already have a number of lovely terno ideas for her to wear in her final walk!
As of this moment all that Sashes&Scripts have laid out are simply musings, speculations and rumors. But having the Miss Universe pageant held once again in the Philippines should be a welcome event for Filipinos.