By Patricia Anne Ocampo

PHOTO: Rappler

The 30th of April was a stellar Saturday night as the Miss Universe Philippines organization held the 2022 coronation event at the Mall of Asia Arena, hosted by Miss Universe Titleholders: Pia Wurtzbach, Iris Mittenaere, and Demi-Leigh Tebow.

The 31 finalists graced the crowd with their beauty and a special dance number to commence the night to remember. The candidates walked along the runway, shining like stars, as singer-songwriter Bamboo performed for them. Unfortunately, contestant Shawntel Cruz from Benguet was unable to join them, as she had to withdraw from the competition early since she was “feeling under the weather”.

Special awards were given after the opening segment. Jewel Alexandria Palacat of Ilocos Sur was declared as Miss Friendship, Celeste Cortesi of Pasay was proclaimed as Miss Photogenic, and Julia Calleja Saubier of Albay was pronounced Best in National Costume.

The panel of judges were then revealed, and among them was the current occupant of the throne: Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu.

The number of finalists narrowed down as fans picked their favorites for the Top 16, taking the competition a step up a notch.

After the announcement of the semifinalists, the audience was swept off their feet as the gorgeous ladies flaunted their figures, donning two-piece swimsuits for the next portion. Among them, however, Celeste Cortesi stood out and seized the Best in Swimsuit award.

As the contestants went back to change, it was then that Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Beatrice Luigi Gomez claimed the stage. In stark contrast to the hosts, who were wearing sophisticated gowns, Bea was dressed in a classic black suit as she reminisced about her own voyage to queendom.

Later, the crowd was once again blown away as the finalists strutted along the runway in evening gowns made by local designers. During this segment, Michelle Dee of Makati claimed the Best in Evening Gown award.

The atmosphere in the venue then intensified as the number of women standing on the stage was cut down from sixteen to ten, and was later reduced further from ten to five: Michelle Dee (Makati), Pauline Amelinckx (Bohol), Anabelle McDonelle (Misamis Oriental), Ma. Katrina Llegado (Taguig), and Celeste Cortesi (Pasay). 

The five queens took a step closer to the throne as they moved to the Question and Answer portion of the pageant.

As the tension rose, four of the five stars who reigned victorious during the previous year’s Miss Universe Philippines pageant captivated the audience with their final walk before they handed their crowns to their successors later that night, namely: Miss Universe Philippines 2021 2nd runner-up Steffi Rose Aberasturi, Miss Universe Philippines 2021 1st runner-up Maureen Wroblewitz, Miss Universe Philippines Charity 2021 Victoria Velasquez Vincent, and Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Beatrice Luigi Gomez.

The climax of the event arrived when Morisette filled the arena with her beautiful voice while the candidates of this year’s competition walked onto the stage along with all the Miss Universe titleholders present in the event. 

Despite being unable to attend in person, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray also made an appearance through a recorded video.

A little while later, everyone held their breaths as the lights dimmed. The moment the whole nation has been waiting for has arrived: The hosts announced the results of this year’s Miss Universe Philippines pageant.
Taguig’s Ma. Katrina Llegado was granted the title Miss Universe Philippines 2nd Runner Up, while Anabelle McDonelle of Misamis Oriental was proclaimed Miss Universe Philippines 1st Runner Up. Pauline Amelinckx of Bohol claimed Miss Universe Philippines Charity, and Michelle Dee of Makati was declared Miss Universe Philippines Tourism.

The crown and the title of Miss Universe Philippines 2022 is bestowed upon Celeste Cortesi of Pasay City. She will be representing the country as she strives to conquer the world, or the universe rather, on the next Miss Universe Pageant.

Edited by Quian Vencel Galut