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Miss Universe bets awed by Baguio’s flower festival

Miss Universe bets, atop flower-bedecked floats, had a chance to see Baguio and the Cordilleras, even in just a day. Philstar.com/Artemio A. Dumlao

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Ms. Universe bets, 29 of them, including reigning title holder Filipina Pia Wurtzbach, paraded in the “summer capital” on Wednesday.

“I’ve never seen such a wonder like this,” said Miss Canada, astounded by Panagbenga's street dances and flower float parade from Upper Session Road to the posh Baguio Country Club (BCC).

Panagbenga is the Baguio Flower Festival, Philippine’s own rendition of the Rose Float Festival in Pasadena, California. Panagbenga, recently chosen as an international festival, according to the tourism department, is perhaps the most crowd-drawing festival in the country, luring hundreds of thousands to the city every February.

Miss Universe bets, atop flower-bedecked floats, had a chance to see Baguio and the Cordilleras, even in just a day. 

“It is an honor that international beauties come in the city,” said mayor Mauricio Domogan, adding, “it was just unfortunate that the usual Panagbenga parade route was shortened because of the time limitations,” he explained.

Still, as early as six o’clock, residents queued up along the streets to have a quick peek at the international beauties.  “It is worth the wait,” a beauty contest fanatic said.

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Miss Universe bets tasted the warm welcome of Baguio City, the country’s “vacation capital”, peeking into the unique culture of the highlands they can relish throughout their lives.

The international beauties tasted Baguio at its best, like the famous strawberry picking adventure at BCC’s own strawberry fields at its 2012-born “green zone”. “We grow our own herbs,” beamed BCC general manager Anthony de Leon.

De Leon is the president of the organizing association – Hotels and Restaurants Association of Baguio (HRAB), the private organization that shelled out P31 million for hosting the event.

An arts and cultural exhibit prepared by Baguio solar painting artist Jordan Mang-osan and Baguio-bred national artist and international award-winning filmmmaker Kidlat Tahimik at the BCC’s Cordilera Convention Hall ushered in the Cordillera spirit and culture to the beauty tilt bets, capping it with a formal gala dinner Wednesday night.

Our hosting, director Venus Tan of the Department of Tourism said, “showcase(s) Baguio City for excellence in travel and tourism.”  

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach  Philstar.com/Artemio A. Dumlao

Miss Colombia, Puerto Rico, Korea, Spain, and Netherlands Philstar.com/Artemio A. Dumlao

Miss Peru, Guam, and Canada Philstar.com/Artemio A. Dumlao

Miss Japan, Norway, Virgin Islands, Guam, and Canada Philstar.com/Artemio A. Dumlao

 

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