The 65th Miss Universe, Up Close and Personal

So this happened just three days ago.

Last January 30, I was very fortunate to have witnessed first-hand, up close and personal, the recently concluded 65th Miss Universe. I was given no less than front row tickets to this much awaited event. So you can just imagine my uncontrollable excitement as soon as I walked inside the venue, the SM Mall of Asia Arena. 

After all, how often does one get to watch Miss Universe live? And how often does it happen right in your own country?!!

And true enough, as I was finding my way to my seat… who do I see seated right in front of me? No less than the 2 former Miss Universe from the Philippines : Ms. Gloria Diaz (1969) and Ms. Margie Moran (1973)!

As someone seated right there in front of the stage, you can bet I heard and saw a lot of things that you didn’t see on TV. And I think that was the most exciting part of watching this show : seeing all these gorgeous and intelligent women do “normal things”. Yes I witnessed a lot of behind-the-scenes here — the ladies drinking water from a shared bottle, three people brushing one person’s hair, them laughing and crying at the same time! All these made me realize that yes, they are still “human” after all!

Here the crowd goes wild when our very own Miss Philippines Maxine Medina walks on stage for the very first time!

Host Steve Harvey welcomes everyone and refers back to his big mistake last year when he made that wrong announcement about the winner!

Here is Pia Wurtzbach’s grand entrance… and the crowd goes even wilder!

Steve and Pia banter on stage…At the end, she thanks him for making her the “most popular Miss Universe“!

And so this is what happens during commercial breaks…

*I committed a blooper here when I said that we are now waiting for our next 5 semi-finalists… that’s supposed to be the 13 semi-finalists!

Maxine Medina is chosen as one of the Top 13!

Who’s in this list of Top 13?

Miss Kenya (Mary Esther Were), Miss Indonesia (Kezia Warouw), Miss USA (Deshauna Barber), Miss Mexico (Kristal Silva), Miss Peru (Valeria Piazza), Miss Panama (Keity Drennan), Miss Colombia (Andrea Tovar), Miss Philippines (Maxine Medina), Miss Canada (Siera Bearchell), Miss Brazil (Raissa Santana), Miss France (Iris Mittenaere), Miss Haiti (Raquel Pelissier),  and Miss Thailand (Chalita Suansane). 

The ladies parade in their swimsuits!

Miss Panama (Keity Drennan)

Miss Philippines (Maxine Medina)

Miss Canada (Siera Bearchell)

Miss Brazil (Raissa Santana)

Miss France (Iris Mittenaere)

Miss Haiti (Raquel Pelissier)

Miss Mexico (Kristal Silva), Miss Haiti (Raquel Pelissier), Miss France (Iris Mittenaere), Miss Brazil (Raissa Santana), Miss Canada (Siera Bearchell)

Miss Philippines’ Maxine Medina beaming with pride!

Miss Thailand (Chalita Suansane)

Miss France (Iris Mittenaere)

Miss Colombia (Andrea Tovar)

And then the Top 9 were chosen! Crowd goes ballistic when Maxine Medina makes it again!

Who made the cut to the Top 9?

Miss France (Iris Mittenaere), Miss Mexico (Kristal Silva), Miss Thailand (Chalita Suansane), Miss Canada (Siera Bearchell), Miss Haiti (Raquel Pelissier), Miss Kenya (Mary Esther Were), Miss Philippines (Maxine Medina), Miss Colombia (Andrea Tovar), and Miss USA (Deshauna Barber). 

Up next was the evening gown competition!

Miss USA (Deshauna Barber) and Miss Thailand (Chalita Suansane)

Miss Mexico (Kristal Silva)

Miss Colombia (Andrea Tovar)

Miss Canada (Siera Bearchell)

Miss Haiti (Raquel Pelissier)

Miss Philippines (Maxine Medina)

And then the list of 9 candidates was whittled down to 6! The whole arena goes even crazier when Philippines’ Maxine Medina makes it again!

Who’s in the Top 6?

Miss France (Iris Mittenaere), Miss Kenya (Mary Esther Were), Miss Colombia (Andrea Tovar), Miss Philippines (Maxine Medina), Miss  Thailand (Chalita Suansane), and Miss Haiti (Raquel Pelissier)

Up next was the Q and A Portion with the Top 6…

After the Q and A, only half were called back again to the stage. As we know, our very own Miss Philippines didn’t make it this time around. The final 3 were : Miss France (Iris Mittenaere), Miss Colombia (Andrea Tovar) and Miss Haiti (Raquel Pelissier).

Grammy-winning group Boyz II Men serenaded the last 3 remaining candidates…

Miss Colombia (Andrea Tovar)

Miss Haiti (Raquel Pelissier)

Miss France (Iris Mittenaere)

Miss France (Iris Mittenaere) and Miss Colombia (Andrea Tovar) talk behind the stage… wonder what they were saying and thinking about here?

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach goes back on stage one last time to do her final walk as the reigning Miss Universe.

Miss Colombia is then called as 2nd runner up.

And soon after that, it was between Miss Haiti and Miss France…

Ms. France (Iris Mittenaere) and Ms. Haiti (Raquel Pelissier)

After much suspense, the new Miss Universe 2016 is named!!! Congratulations to Miss France, Iris Mittenaere!!!

All the candidates gather back on stage to give their congratulatory wishes and hugs to the new queen!

As I made my way out of the arena, I spotted these two lovely judges, and two former Miss Universe!

Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe 1993

Sushmita Sen, Miss Universe 1994

And here’s our Mummy Universe!!! 

Seriously, I thank my lucky stars for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness this grand event, first-hand. I remember when I was still a little girl, I would watch the Miss Universe on TV, and I would imagine that I am one of them, sashaying on stage with a beautiful beaded gown and a sash right across my body that spelled out “PHILIPPINES”.

Of course, reality check!!! We know that didn’t come true, and I know very well that’s not gonna happen now or in the near future… but boy I am just glad (and still over the moon, I tell you!) that I was able to witness this big event LIVE! It will surely go down memory lane as one of those incredible and unforgettable experiences — for the candidates, for the Philippines, and of course, for yours truly!

To see my other stories about Miss Universe, click here. 

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The Spoiled Mummy