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The 65th Miss Universe spectacle kicks off with a welcome party Saturday night, 10 December 2016

The 65th Miss Universe spectacle kicks off with a welcome party Saturday night, 10 December 2016, at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced yesterday.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo disclosed that reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach will join at least 10 contestants at the opening salvo of ancillary events leading to the Miss Universe Pageant slated 30 January 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Pia Wurtzbach is extremely excited and so proud that this is happening in the Philippines during her reign for all the world to see,” Teo said.

The DOT head said those scheduled to arrive for the kick-off party are Miss Australia, Miss China, Miss Indonesia, Miss Japan, Miss Korea, Miss New Zealand, Miss Malaysia, Miss Myanmar, Miss Thailand and Miss USA.

The ladies will arrive in Manila on Friday, 9 December 2016, and will stay in the country for a week.

Teo also confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte will receive the first batch of Miss Universe hopefuls, including Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Maxine Medina at Malacañang on a date yet to be announced.

Their first stop is the province of Cebu where they will experience first-hand swimming with the Butanding or Whale Sharks of Oslob.

To complete the experience, they will have a taste of the oldest city's famous local delicacies and dishes.

Cebu will be the host for the swimwear presentation of over 90 candidates, Undersecretary Kat De Castro of DOT public affairs, communications and special projects said. The venue of the swimwear presentation, JPark Island Resort & Waterpark, is one of the top local destinations for diving, snorkeling, and water fun activities.

Meanwhile, De Castro said accreditation for some 500 international and local media representatives will be administered by the International Press Center (IPC) under the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO).

“We expect a deluge of international media coverage for the most prestigious beauty pageant. This is what tourism promotion is all about, taking front and center stage,” said De Castro.

According to her, over 500 million people all over the world watch the live telecast of the Miss Universe Pageant every year.

De Castro also said the DOT has been inundated with massive inquiries on tickets’ availability and rates for VIP and general admission, which will be announced soon in the Miss Universe Organization website.

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