Maxine Medina of the Philippines in a costume inspired by Zamboanga vinta sails and corals.
Vinta, pearls for Maxine in battle of costumes
Charmie Joy Pagulong, Patricia Esteves (The Philippine Star) - January 28, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s bet to Miss Universe Maxine Medina dazzled in her national costume during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Thursday night.

Medina wore an ensemble inspired by the vinta, a traditional boat from Minda­nao, and a headpiece that looks like a large piece of coral found on a Filipino reef.

Rhett Eala, who designed the Mindanao-inspired national costume, said the headpiece was adorned with South Sea pearls from Jewelmer, a French-Filipino company specializing in Golden South Sea pearls. Both the headpiece and the earrings cost more than P1 million.

More than 86 beautiful women from all over the world gathered at the MOA on Thursday to compete in the Miss Universe beauty contest that will culminate in a coronation on Monday.


The preliminary competition will whittle down the crowded field to the top 12 candidates for the pageant night, according to the Miss Universe website.

In addition to swimsuits and evening gowns, Miss Universe features a National Costume portion where contestants can show off their patriotic pride.

The costumes are colorful, eye-popping and sometimes downright outrageous.

Miss Myanmar Htet Htun got wild cheers from the crowd after carrying a mini theater stage on her back and performed a bit of puppetry.

Miss Netherlands Zoey Ivory wore a windmill on her back, while Miss Malaysia Kiran Jassal wore a one-piece glittery ensemble with a miniature of the Petronas Towers strewn on the side of her sleeves. Miss USA Deshauna Barber wore a silver superhero outfit.

Miss Universe pop-up shop

Fans also lined up at the opening of the first ever Miss Universe pop-up shop at the SM Mall of Asia yesterday.

Wurtzbach led the opening of the shop, which features Miss Universe apparel, signed tour books, mugs and pillows.

But the hottest item is the limited edition replica of the Miss Universe crown, which may be pre-ordered for P5,000.

The store also offers the “Pia Wurtzbach Collection” which includes tee shirts, travel pillows, tote bags and posters.

The SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc. (SMLEI) and Miss Universe Organization (MOU) launched the Miss Universe Pop-up Shop for fans to experience the 65th Miss Universe pageant to be held in the country on Jan. 30, one of the biggest events in the world.

SMLEI, the official licensor of Miss Universe merchandise in the Philippines, has plans to bring the memorabilia from the most beautiful event in the universe across the Philippines through the Miss Universe Merchandise Caravan.

Fans will also have access to more Miss Universe Merchandise, including the pageant’s official hair care product Chi by Farouk, Yamamay swimwear, Chinese Laundry shoes and many more. These items will be exclusively distributed in SM branches and affiliate stores soon.

Ruby Reyes, vice president for corporate marketing of SMLEI, thanked all the supporters for the warm welcome and MOU for the partnership.

“This event marks a special day for SM Store Lifestyle and Entertainment as we opened the first Miss Universe Pop-Up Store here in the Philippines. Now avid supporters of one of the world’s prestigious events can take part in the competition through our pop-up shop here in MOA,” Reyes said.

“Pia may be passing the crown a few days from now, but her reign as Miss Universe will always be remembered through her keepsakes. I would like to thank the Miss Universe Organization for the support of this project and of course, the SM MOA,” she added.

Shawn McClain, vice president for business development and marketing of MOU, also expressed gratitude to the fans for their support and the SMLEI for the tie-up.

“Fans can come to the store and shop for Miss Universe products and merchandise. For us, it is important because Wurtzbach is the Miss Universe representative from the Philippines. Unfortunately, we have to give her back to the Philippines in two days,” McClain said.

“But you can have a piece with Pia’s face on the shirts, beautiful bags, program books. It’s a way for us to be able to connect to our fans, and for you to have an everlasting Miss Universe experience,” he added.


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