FOR the first time, reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach was photographed with former titleholders Gloria Diaz (1969) and Margie Moran (1973) on Saturday night.
Their meeting took place at a dinner party at the Okada Manila, a luxury casino and hotel complex in Parañaque City.
The event, a runup to the 65th Miss Universe pageant to be held on Jan. 30, was also attended by the 86 Miss Universe candidates.
“For me, they’re still the country’s iconic beauties. I hope I did them proud,” Wurtzbach told reporters.
Diaz was the first Filipino to win the Miss Universe crown in 1969 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Moran followed four years later, winning in 1973 when the annual pageant was staged in Athens.
No other Filipino beauty queen was able to win the title until Wurtzbach ended the Philippines’ 42-year drought when she won the title in 2015.
But Wurtzbach’s win was marred by controversies. Pageant host Steve Harvey announced the wrong winner, and the crowd later watched in heartbreak and horror as the crown was removed from the head of Colombia’s Ariadna Gutierrez, the first runnerup, and placed on Wurtbach’s on live television.
A few days after the pageant, former Miss Universe owner and now United States president Donald Trump suggested to the two to be named co-winners, something they rejected.
Wurtzbach will be passing her crown at the 65th Miss Universe pageant night to be held in the Mall of Asia Arena.
The candidates started arriving in the country on Jan. 13 and participated in auxiliary events that aim to promote Philippine tourism. So far, the candidates have visited Vigan, Davao, Baguio, Boracay, Cebu and Batangas.
The country’s very own Maxine Medina is gunning for a back-to-back victory for the Philippines. Since the pageant’s inception in 1952, only seven candidates have been crowned in their hometown. Meanwhile, a back-to-back victory only happened in 2009 when Diana Mendoza crowned her fellow Venezuelan Stefanía Fernández.