The wine certainly tastes sweeter in Vietnam with the successful synergy of Vietnamese and Filipino beauty organizers in holding the Miss Earth 2010 beauty pageant in Ho Chi Minh City and other major destinations in the country.
The Vietnamese hosts, led by Than Nien Media Corp, toasted with bottles of white wine the Philippines' Carousel Productions, founder of Miss Earth, and 82 international beauties at glittery rites at a hotel resort in Phuyen, Vietnam over the weekend.
Also present were members of the Communist Party which approved the holding of the pageant, a first for the decade-old Miss Earth now regarded as the third biggest beauty tilt after Miss Universe and Miss World in terms of prestige and international representation.
Miss Philippines Psyche Resus herself was dazzled by the preparations despite heavy monsoon rains that flooded central Vietnam.
"It is really beautiful here! The support of the people is amazing ," said Resus, who was earlier declared one of the five winners in the Ao-Dai Viet national costume competition.
Miss Vietnam Lu'l Nguyen Phuoung was named best in swimsuit; Miss India, best in talent; Miss Ecuador, best in long gown.
Carousel's Lorraine Shuck also noted the heady excitement of the Vietnamese.
"All of the major events are carried on live telecast by VTV (Vietnamese TV)," she said. "Perhaps this is their way of exposing themselves to the world after long years of isolation. It was only in 2004 that they began to open their doors again."
It also comes in the heels of President Benigno Aquino III's Vietnam visit, which forged closer economic and cultural ties with the socialist country. This despite a much talked about faus fax by a member of the presidential delegation who dissed on Twitter the taste of the red wine service, the supposed hazardous motorbike traffic and the looks of Vietnamese men.
Thankfully, said Schuck, the Vietnamese did not quibble on the issue. But they are truly beauty contest crazy and economically progressive.
Miss Universe 2008 was held in Vin Pearl Nha Trang with a humongous budget. It will again negotiate with Miss Universe organizers to hold the pageant in Vietnam next year.
Sidelights in the pageant include the fielding of Switzerland of a half Filipina model as its representative, the participation of Indonesian beauty despite the perceived conservatism of her nation, and the issue of Miss Vietnam's hometown victory in the swimsuit event.
Coronation night is set on December 4 and will be aired by ABS-CBN and Star TV.
It will be hosted by Marie Digby, Sam Milby's rumored latest squeeze, and television hunk Oli Pettigrew, with main guest Ronan Keating.
Miss Earth winners serve as ambassadors of the Miss Earth foundation, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and other nature advocacy groups.
Also, Vietnam has signed up with Carousel Productions to be the pageant's venue for 9 times within a 20-year period.