MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Michelle Dee, a native of Makati, has been crowned as Miss Universe Philippines 2023, securing the opportunity to represent the country at the 72nd Miss Universe pageant. The prestigious event is set to take place later this year in El Salvador.
Dee is the daughter of former supermodel and Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez.
During the coronation ceremony held at the Mall of Asia Arena, Michelle Dee not only received the coveted Miss Universe Philippines title but also earned multiple awards. She was honored with the Miss Aqua Boracay, Pond’s, and Zion Philippines awards.
Impressively, Dee also won the Best in Evening Gown, the same recognition she achieved last year as Miss Universe Philippines Tourism 2022, following in the footsteps of her predecessor, Celeste Cortesi.
During the Question & Answer segment, Dee was asked about the persisting income inequality in the Philippines: “The gap between the rich and the poor remains. How do we close the gap?”
“I think first we have to recognize what we have and the privileges that we have, such as food, education and homes. I think the best way to address this is really through education because education holds no status quo and every Filipino child has the right to an education – not any education but quality education. Because I believe if the government can provide this to every Filipino child, then we can not only elevate their quality of life, but we can empower them as well, ” Dee answered.
The Top 5 contestants were asked to share their interpretation of the Department of Tourism’s new branding campaign, “We give the world our best.” They were asked, “What is the best that we could offer to the rest of the world? Why do you consider it so?”
“The Philippines is home to very beautiful natural resources – from the beaches, the mountains, but I firmly believe that the best natural resource that the Philippines has is us Filipinos. We are the true heart and soul of the Philippines – with the way we are hospitable, with the warm smiles. And we are the reason why the world keeps coming back for more,” Dee replied.
“No matter where the universe takes me, I will always be proud to call the Philippines my home. And no matter what happens, I will always be proud to call myself Pinoy,” she added.
The runner-up positions were awarded to Christine Opiaza from Zambales (1st runner-up) and Angelique Manto from Pampanga (2nd runner-up). The titles of Miss Universe Philippines Tourism and Miss Universe Philippines Charity will be announced separately, with Pauline Amelinckx from Bohol and Krishnah Gravidez from Baguio in contention for these honors.
As the newly crowned Miss Universe Philippines, Michelle Dee aims to surpass the achievements of her predecessor, Celeste Cortesi, in the upcoming Miss Universe competition. She aspires to propel the Philippines back into the semifinal rounds and, ultimately, bring home the coveted crown, reaffirming the nation’s status as a formidable force in the world of pageantry. – WhatALife!/Jayve
Also read: Miss Universe 2022: A Quick Recap
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