January 31, 2023

Forty-eight winsome candidates for the inaugural Miss Universe Philippines 2020 got to experience the beauty of Benguet when they visited selected tourist sites in La Trinidad last week.

Upon arrival on Oct. 15, the first batch of the candidates underwent triage in Wangal, La Trinidad before proceeding to the Strawberry Farm and other tourist spots in the municipality.

The candidates experienced picking strawberries in elevated plots and visited souvenir shops showcasing local products, which were all part of the promotional video of the pageant showcasing the host province.

They also viewed the landscape haven at the Mt. Costa gardens in Puguis where they did another round of video and photo shoots before they were brought to the Baguio Country Club, where they are billeted until the last week of the month.

The second batch of candidates was also brought to the historic provincial Capitol and at Benguet State University on Oct. 16 for a cultural immersion with traditional dances and where candidates get to appreciate the respective “one town-one products” of the 13 towns of Benguet.

Benguet legislative caretaker Rep. Eric Yap said the inclusion of the province as one of the activity sites of the Miss Universe Philippines 2020 pageant would greatly help in promoting the tourism sector.

“Noong inilapit sa atin ‘yung idea na bibisita sila sa Benguet, ‘di na tayo nag-atubili at pumayag tayo na maging isa sa sponsors ng pageant. Ang hakbang na ito ay para tuparin ang ating commitment na iguguhit natin ang Benguet sa mapa at papasikatin natin ang kagandahan at kayamanan ng ating probinsya,” Yap said.

Yap said the province’s hosting of the activities is a milestone for Benguet, as he added that more activities will be lined up in the future to further promote its tourism industry.

Yap said the Inter-Agency Task Force protocols are strictly observed all throughout the event. Each candidate and crew member underwent RT-PCR testing and triage before they were allowed entry to the province.

All the candidates, organizers, and pageant crew will stay at BCC where the preliminaries and grand finals on Oct. 25 will be held and may be viewed via live streaming worldwide.

In 2017, some candidates for the Miss Universe 2016 stayed for 24 hours in Baguio as part of the worldwide promotion of the pageant, which was then hosted by the Philippines. – Ofelia C. Empian