MANILA (UPDATED) – A new queen has been crowned.
Pageant veteran Michelle Dee of Makati is the next Filipina to wave the country’s flag at the Miss Universe after she was hailed as the Miss Universe Philippines 2023 at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
Dee succeeded Celeste Cortesi as the Miss Universe Philippines.
Meanwhile, Pauline Amelinckx of Bohol and Krishnah Gravidez of Baguio will be crowned separately for their respective titles.
Rounding up the Final 5 were Christine Opiaza of Zambales (first runner up) and Angelique Manto of Pampanga (second runner up).
During the two rounds of question and answer portion, Dee was asked about closing the gap between the rich and the poor in the country.
According to the former Miss World Philippines, education is the best way to address the issue.
“I think, first, we have to recognize that what we have and the privileges that we have such as food, education, and homes, I think the best way to address this is education because education holds no status quo and every Filipino child has the right to education but not just education but quality education because I believe if the government can provide this to every Filipino child then we cannot only elevate their quality of life but we can empower them as well,” she said.
Meanwhile, she boasted the Filipinos as the “best we could offer in the world” when asked about her take on the new Tourism Department’s slogan.
“The Philippines is home to a very beautiful natural resources, from the beaches, mountains but I believe that the best natural resources that the Philippines has is us Filipinos. We are the true heart and soul of the Philippines,” Dee said
“With the way we are hospitable with the warm smile and we are the reason the world keeps coming back for more. No matter where the universe takes me, I will always be proud to call Philippines my home and no matter what happens, I will always be proud to call myself Pinoy.”
The competition was also marred with technical issues that caused a long delay in the program. After announcing the supposed Top 10 finalists, it was announced that all 18 semi-finalists will be walking on their evening gowns.
Hosting the events were actors Xian Lim and Alden Richards. But they were joined by Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi.
Former “American Idol” finalist Jessica Sanchez also graced the event as she performed just before announcing the Top 5 finalists.
The new queen has been in the pageant for several years, having been able to compete at the Miss World 2019 where she placed in Top 12.
She, then, joined the Miss Universe Philippines 2022 where she fell short to eventual winner Celeste Cortesi and took the Miss Universe Philippines Tourism 2022 title.
Dee will be representing the Philippines in the next Miss Universe edition in El Salvador.