DOT taps Michelle Dee as Philippine tourism ambassador

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Almost two weeks since she represented the Philippines on the Miss Universe stage, Philippine bet Michelle Marquez Dee has been tapped as the country’s tourism ambassador by the Department of Tourism.

Dee paid a courtesy call to Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco at the DOT’s Central Office in Makati City on Friday morning where she was also invited to be a tourism ambassador of the Philippines.

“Thank you for the honor that you have bestowed upon all Filipinos by carrying the flag of the Philippines so excellently, and by declaring to the world your love for the Philippines and reminding the world of the many reasons to love the Philippines. On behalf of the Department of Tourism, I would like to extend my gratitude for your support for Philippine tourism as well as for carrying Love the Philippines. I extend to you my invitation for you to continue to be an ambassador of tourism for our country,” Frasco said

“It's not new because you have already acted as our tourism ambassador through your representation of the country in Miss Universe. So, we certainly hope that there are more opportunities for us to collaborate, to push forward the aspirations of our President for tourism in the country,” she added.

Dee responded that she is "excited, humbled and honored," for the love and support she is receiving.

In an interview with the press, the beauty queen said that she will take on the tourism ambassador role seriously, citing that her platform is something that she "won't take lightly."

"My purpose was every time I step on the stage, may dinadala akong story. There's something that I want reflected not just for myself but for the whole country. And, the fact that that can expand after the coronation, I can still continue to work on what I started on that stage and now bring it to the Philippines. And even despite natapos na yung competition, tuloy-tuloy pa rin yung promotion," Dee said. 

"I will pour my heart and soul in promoting the Philippines like I always have," she added. 

Asked more about her role, the pageant veteran said the details are yet to be discussed. She, however, disclosed that there are plans for her to visit more destinations.

She said she is looking forward to visit places she has not yet explored before, particularly in Western Visayas and Mindanao.

The DOT has previously lauded Dee for proudly “bannering the country’s tourism slogan, ‘Love the Philippines’ in her national costume.” 

Frasco said she was surprised to see the tourism slogan in Dee's costume as it was the first time the department saw it. The tourism chief said she was only tagged in the photos and videos of Dee's performance.

Dee has not coordinated with the DOT for her costume but she shared that she enjoyed incorporating Philippine tourism in the creative process of bringing her winning national costume come to life.

Her courtesy call to Frasco came nearly a week since she arrived in the country last November 25 after bringing back the Philippines as a semifinalist in the 72nd edition of Miss Universe held in El Salvador.

Dee finished among the Top 10 and won the Best in National Costume Award for her plane-inspired attire embellished with the country’s tourism slogan.

During the National Costume show, Michelle transformed into sergeant of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) adorned with a captain’s cap. Her winning ensemble, designed by Michael Barassi, is said to be a tribute to role as a PAF reservist.

A true tourism ambassador, the costume featured the iconic "solihiya" pattern as well as mural of local tourist destinations and jeepney. It also bore the colors of the Philippine flag on her wings.

READ: Introducing Capt. Michelle Dee! How Philippines’ plane-like Miss Universe nat’l costume came to life | Philippine Airlines acknowledges Michelle Dee’s Miss Universe national costume

Aside from her national costume, Dee also made headlines for showcasing her unique and head turner black evening gown inspired by living legend and tattoo artist Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga, Apo Whang-Od. It is designed by Mark Bumgarner.

“A tribute to a legendary Filipina who has become an icon, preserving the rich cultural heritage of indigenous tattoo art. She has achieved global recognition and symbolizes timeless beauty, coinciding with Miss Universe lifting its age restrictions, championing inclusivity and challenging age stereotypes,” Dee said following the Miss Universe finals.

Dee said she just wants to represent the county “as best as possible” at the prestigious pageant.

"I didn't have the time to highlight everything but I really tried my best to really highlight the most important parts. Part of that is definitely the tourism which I've been very vocal about. I'm so proud and so happy that the reception of our concept, our design was truly well received all around the world. We even won Best in National Costume " she said during her courtesy visit to DOT, adding that it's the third National Costume award of the Philippines.

The Makati beauty also won the Voice for Change citation, the Spirit of Carnival award, and the Miss Universe app fan vote award.

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