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'Mabuhay, Philippines!': Miss Universe 2021 arrives via 'best friend' Beatrice Luigi Gomez's invitation

Earl D.C. Bracamonte - Philstar.com
'Mabuhay, Philippines!': Miss Universe 2021 arrives via 'best friend' Beatrice Luigi Gomez's invitation
Miss Universe 2021 Haarnaz Sandhu descending from the private plane of politician Chavit Singson (left); Sandhu with Singson at the press presentation yesterday.
Philstar.com / Jan Milo Severo, Earl D.C. Bracamonte

MANILA, Philippines — Reigning Miss Universe Haarnaz Sandhu arrived in Manila late afternoon Sunday, April 24, from Mumbai aboard the private jet of Mayor Luis "Chavit" Singson.

She was accompanied by Miss Universe Organization's (MUO) talent manager, Esther Swan, and Arch. Richelle Louise Singson-Michael, during the late afternoon flight that had a short fuel stop in Thailand.

Garbed in a rainbow-hued mock turtle neck sundress, cinched at the waist with a black cummerbund, the 21-year-old Indian actress turned beauty queen, gladly spoke with mediamen at the Platinum Skies Hangar lounge inside the sprawling Manila Domestic Airport compound.

"Mabuhay, Philippines!" were the first words she uttered after embarking from the plane unto the red carpet. Ten pageant fans, chosen from an online poll for a meet-and-greet, readily greeted Haarnaz with "Namaste" amid shrieks of glee and excitement.

As owner of the local Miss Universe franchise, Mayor Singson said it was a pleasure fetching Haarnaz from India and bringing her safely to the Philippines. His daughter, Arch. Singson-Michael, who once sat as member of the selection committee in 2018, called Haarnaz "confidently beautiful."

The Philippines is the first country Haarnaz has visited after her homecoming a few weeks ago. She said she's so pleased to finally come to Manila because "Bea (Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Beatrice Luigi Gomez) is my best friend from the pageant in Eilat. She'd been inviting me and our two other roommates, Miss Universe Singapore 2021 Nandita Banana and Miss Universe Vietnam 2021 Nguyen Huyn Kim Duyen, and here I am! And I guess our roommates will be coming here, as well.

"When women help other women, incredible things happen," intoned Haarnaz, referring to a project collaboration with Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach that they'll be talking about this week.

"I never believed in the word 'rollercoaster' before but from the last few months, so many things has happened almost simultaneously. 

"Women are strong. You are unique. You are beautiful. Treat yourself the way you want people to treat you. Nobody can be like you so being yourself is the best thing you have. We all are women of all colors, all sizes, all shapes, and that's what Miss Universe means to me," enthused Haarnaz at the close of the short, but sweet, colloquy.

Pageant fans and supporters are invited to watch the National Costume presentation tonight, April 25, on the MUPH TikTok channel.

Haarnaz will be gracing the preliminary night at the Cove Manila on April 27. She will also be part of the Miss Universe Philippines 2022 selection committee during the coronation night on April 30. Stay tuned!

RELATED: Profiles: Who are Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Top 32?

MISS UNIVERSE PHILIPPINES

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