What Makes Miss Universe Philippines 2024 Different, As Told by the MUPH Officers

What Makes Miss Universe Philippines 2024 Different, As Told by the MUPH Officers


The pageantry affairs are coming in full effect. Here are what the Miss Universe Philippines Officers can say about the much-anticipated national event

The country has always been devoted to the art of pageantry—the Filipinos are as seasoned as a candidate can get. With our support for our beauty queens and the competition itself, a Filipino’s national pride is boosted with the projections of beauty, character, art, fashion, cultural awareness, and intelligence on the pageant stage. That said, everyone is waiting for the crowning of the new Miss Universe Philippines—and all eyes will be on the 53 candidates uplifting their own region and culture. With the country’s beauty queens taking the stage soon for preliminaries and coronation, MEGA talks to the Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) Officers about what’s been happening off-cam and what’s in store for the nation as we await our new queen.

The Miss Universe Philippines Officers

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Miss Universe Philippines as a More Inclusive Platform

“It’s pride for my country—that’s why I’m always pushing for creative and innovative ideas for the organization,” Jonas Gaffud tells MEGA. “For example: going regional in terms of tourism. We’ve been to Sultan Kudarat, and no one has ever thought about going there.”

Jonas Gaffud in a full suit by ZARA

During the course of the competition, the queens displayed the revered Maguindanao cloth in the Inaul Fashion Show, and just last week, they also touched down at the eco-tourism destination known for its marine biodiversity, Oriental Mindoro. These opportunities for the delegates to bask in our country’s vibrant culture and ways of life are crucial to the competition, and Jonas needed the Miss Universe Philippines to be a positive force in driving local tourism forward.

Furthermore, the Miss Universe Philippines Officers have made a move towards greater inclusivity and representation with removing the age requirement this year. Jonas chimes in and says, “The only permanent thing in this world is change—though with change, there’s always resistance—especially on social media.”

“We need to be more open and embrace every woman that wants to join the beauty pageant. I know it’s a competition, but it’s also a platform for every woman to have a voice and push for their own advocacies.”

– Jonas Gaffud

This positive shift in restrictions, as well as including representatives from overseas Filipino communities, led to a diverse set of beautiful queens this year who believe in themselves and are fighting for their own place in the universe.

Miss Universe Philippines as a Safe Space

While the competition solely airs a world of beauty, crowns, and dreams, we don’t see the rigorous process that comes with the desire for the crown. With 53 candidates, MEGA asks Voltaire Tayag about taking care of and empowering each of the women during the meticulous and challenging journey. “When I see them, I make sure I go to their activities no matter how tight the schedule is. Every single time I’m there, I go to a different person or group—and you can see how unique and how different these candidates are,” Voltaire shares. “So I approach them as a friend or somebody that they can trust, because in pageantry, it’s important that they know Miss Universe Philippines is a safe place.”

Voltaire Tayag in a full suit by FENDI

For all candidates and teams behind them, the viewers only see the final product or the glam and theatrics on television or social media. In making sure that the queens’ authenticity and personalities shine through, Voltaire says it starts with the organization.

“From the first day of orientation, we tell the candidates: don’t be in pageant mode when you don’t need to be. We tell them that you have to be you.”

– Voltaire Tayag

“A lot of the girls think that when they’re in pageantry, they have to be in full battle gear. But that’s something we try to dispel,” he explains. “So in the whole process of Miss Universe Philippines, the goal is to get them to shed away shyness, so by the time they get to the finals, you’ll see who the queen is at her best.”

Miss Universe Philippines as a Value-driven Organization

Since its debut, Miss Universe Philippines allows for victories that cannot be claimed in the everyday, and objective-wise, the organization always puts their purpose, philosophy, and value first so the queens can resonate with the organization’s actions and decisions.

Mario Garcia in a full suit by ZARA

“We put focus on the ways of empowering our women. That influences the way we market Miss Universe, so every activity has to reflect that—even initiatives with brands.”

– Mario Garcia

“We prioritize and work with brands who share our values. We did something with Avon which is about identifying what it means to be a real Filipina and having the voice to speak up against women violence,” Mario Garcia explains. “We also did a partnership with Buscopan about addressing period pain. The Miss Universe Philippines has always been about prioritizing our values, but year on year, the intensity and the ‘big-ness’ of the activities related to that becomes better and heavier.”

Miss Universe Philippines as a Champion For the Country

Needless to say, the possibilities of beauty and the participation of beauty across all sectors are endless. But the goal is not just to champion the girls, each province, and each city, but to champion the Philippines and the Filipino people. As the organization continues to uplift the voicing of the Philippines’ glories and cultures, Shamcey Supsup shares what she hopes to see in this batch of beauty queens: “We want the girls to not just compete for themselves, but for their community, the people that are supporting them, and their creative teams.”

Shamcey Supsup in a taffeta wrap dress by CAROLINA HERRERA and ACCESSORIES by CHRISTOPHER MUNAR

“I hope that, with pageantry, we are able to showcase their talent, the products, and the places in the Philippines. It’s really about being proud not just of the girls, but everything that makes the girls.”

– Shamcey Supsup

Miss Universe Philippines as a Bolster for Filipina Leaders

The Miss Universe Philippines is not a setback in how women are perceived—especially that they are given the tools and a platform to fearlessly pursue the causes they are passionate about. Lia Andrea Ramos tells MEGA that it is significant and crucial for the queens to advocate for their beliefs, to lend their voices to those who cannot speak for themselves, to uplift marginalized groups and address systemic justice.

Lia Andrea Ramos in a brocade dress by CAROLINA HERRERA and ACCESSORIES by CHRISTOPHER MUNAR

“However small they think what they’re doing is, whether it’s just starting in a small community or on a larger scale, it’s important for the queens to use their voice so they can influence and engage with hundreds or thousands of people.”

– Lia Andrea Ramos

The organization, then, continues to bolster the support of Filipina leaders and each of their own initiatives and cornerstones of social work. This year is a remarkable step-up, as Lia says the campaign ‘Love for All’ showcases eight pillars of significant causes: Love for the environment, love for the LGBTQIA, love for culture, love for creative industries, love for migrant workers, love for animals, love for women, and love for children. “We partnered with eight different organizations who can help the phenomenal ladies champion the cause they chose,” Lia explains. “We had an immersion where we got to expose the delegates and get to meet the communities and stakeholders, and see what the organizations do on the ground.”

In partnering with NGOs such as WWF, Love Yourself, Save the Children, the Department of Migrant Workers, and PAWS, this year, Lia reiterates that the campaign is an avenue for the ladies to see that they can help other sectors or to reinforce their passions. “That is what we spearheaded this year, and they sparked interest in supporting our partners and even advancing other projects,” Lia continues. “These are leaders. They’ve already started something, and we’re also introducing them to other things they can do.”

For the MUPH Officers, pageantry goes beyond beauty and is all about making a change and embracing it

The titleholder herself also added and referenced the reigning Miss Universe Philippines Michelle Marquez Dee, who won the award ‘Voice for Change’: “She really used her platform to amplify her work with ASP (Autism Society Philippines), and this was recognized in the Miss Universe stage. This is one of the best examples of a woman thrust into a particular position and using it to get her message across—and this is a message that she’s carried by herself and for herself. MMD is an example of what a queen should do with their platform.”

Group Photography by DOOKIE DUCAY. Solo Photography by JHARWIN CASTANEDA. Production by JONES PALTENG and MIA CASTRO. Creative Direction by PATRICK TY. Art Direction by BRIE VENTURA and ANDREW ENCAPAS. Makeup by MILA GULFAN (Shamcey and Lia). Grooming by DEXTER GONZALGO (Jonas and Mario) and KIM ROY OPOG (Voltaire). Hair by KIM ROY OPOG (Shamcey and Lia). Styling by RYAN VILORIA, assisted by CHARLIE NAVARRO. Editorial Assistant JOANA FERNANDO. Sittings Editor MIA CASTRO and PEEWEE REYES-ISIDRO.

Shot on location PIONEERX STUDIOS

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