In recent years, only two kinds of international affair manages to capture the hearts and minds of Filipinos across the globe. It's either a major sports event such as boxing, or another type of competition where the Philippines has managed to come out on top (or a few steps from the top) over the last decade.
Move over Manny, Miss Universe has entered the arena.
We're still a couple of days away from the 69th edition of Miss Universe on Monday, May 17, but social media has already gone berzerk over the national costume preliminaries aired earlier today which featured all 74 beauty queens walking the stage in their chosen costumes.
We reached out to Twitter Philippines to ask which candidates dominated the morning's discourse and set the social media platform on fire.
Miss Universe Myanmar – Thuzar Wint Lwin
With her original costume getting "lost" in transit, Miss Myanmar walked the stage in her nation's traditional clothing. After reaching her spot, she took a short bow and raised a scroll with a message to the world: "Pray for Myanmar."
In February, Myanmar's military staged a coup, killing hundreds of pro-democrcy protestors. Lwin hopes to use her platform and call attention to Myanmar's pro-democracy movement of which she is an active part of.
According to The New York Times, in an interview prior to leaving Myanmar for the Miss Universe competition, Lwin said, "They are killing our people like animals. Where is the humanity? Please help us. We are helpless here."
Miss Universe Singapore – Bernadette Bell Ong
Another contestant with a powerful set of words was due to walk the stage, and Miss Singapore made sure the audience in the Unted States, and across the world, got the message.
Splashed on the back cape of her red and white costume, Ong's message to "Stop Asian hate" rings heavy and true not just in the State of Florida where the Miss Universe competition is being held, but across America as the number of violent hate crimes against Asians have escalated during the pandemic.
In March of this year alone, more than 6,000 hate crimes against Asians were reported in the US.
Miss Universe Philippines – Rabiya Mateo
It was already a given that Miss Philippines would dominate the country's Twitter conversation, with the hashtag #AribaRabiya staying on the top trending list for a full 20 hours on the site—yes, nearly a full five hours before the national costume prelims even started.
“I had fun. That’s what really matters.” Rabiya Mateo has shared an update after her national costume romp. ?? We’re proud of you, Rabiya! ? Read more about her costume at https://t.co/10cwOlHBiZ (?: @rabiyamateo)#MissUniverse #AribaRabiya pic.twitter.com/UrVFA3m0kt— PhilSTAR L!fe (@philstarlife) May 14, 2021
Looking beautiful in a red, blue, and gold national flag-themed costume, Mateo resembled a Victoria's Secret Angel walking onstage, a fact that was noticed by most of the Philippine Twitter-verse, which made the term "Victoria's Secret" trend just a few spots below #AribaRabiya—completely by accident—and alongside other hashtags and keywords related to the Miss Universe pageant for a number of hours.
(Images from MissUniverse.com)