MANILA, Philippines – Just like that, Catriona’s homecoming week is over – and what a week it has been for both the beauty queen, and the people who love her.
Catriona arrived in the Philippines on February 15, and the official homecoming festivities started on February 20. What followed was a whirlwind of activities that had Catriona meeting her fans, appearing on various TV shows, doing interviews, paying courtesy calls to government officials, and spending time on her advocacies.
Here’s a wrap of her short but sweet homecoming week, in photos:
The first order of business for Catriona was a press conference at Novotel Manila, where the beauty queen dazzled the media in a beautiful coral jumpsuit by Mak Tumang. At the press conference and in interviews, Catriona spoke about her Miss Universe reign so far, and also weighed in on current events, including voting, and lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility. (WATCH: Rappler Talk Entertainment: Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray)
Catriona’s homecoming parade on February 21 saw her donning another beautiful Mak Tumang creation, and riding a float in the shape of the Mikimoto crown through Pasay, Manila, and Makati. It was Catriona’s first big public appearance since she won the Miss Universe crown in December 2018, so understandably, thousands of fans flocked to the streets and waited in the afternoon heat to catch a glimpse of her.
Araneta Center parade
On February 23, Catriona had another homecoming parade around the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City, where this time she wore a teal jumpsuit, again by Mak Tumang. It was an emotional parade for the reigning Miss Universe, who at one point was moved to tears by the outpouring of love and support from her fans.
Raise Your Flag special
The celebration of Catriona’s Miss Universe journey reached its peak on February 24 at the Raise Your Flag special, a program that included musical performances, a fashion show with former Bb Pilipinas queens, and a one-on-one between Catriona and Vice Ganda.
In a particularly tender moment, Catriona’s parents Ian and Mita Gray surprised her onstage. She also shared stage time with children from Young Focus Foundation, the organization she had been working with for years.
The queen showed off her Filipino-centric style throughout the special, changing into several stunning looks by Mak Tumang and Jearson Demavivas.
Catriona paid courtesy calls to several government officials. She visited the Office of the Vice President where she was welcomed by Vice President Leni Robredo and her staff.
She also dropped by the Senate, where she met Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and Senators Nancy Binay and Gringo Honasan. She also paid a visit to the Department of Tourism, where she met with Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who said she was the “perfect tourism ambassador.”
February 27 was Catriona’s last day for official homecoming activities, and the queen chose to spend it by focusing on the advocacies she has been supporting even before her Miss Universe reign. She visited the Young Focus Foundation Child Care Center in Tondo – where she spent the with the kids supported by the organization. She also visited HIV-awareness org Love Yourself, and then headed to Smile Train, which supports children who need cleft palate surgery.
She also paid a visit to Program for Orphans, a charity program under Fr. Tony Labiao, which supports children who have been orphaned as a result of the administration’s ongoing campaign against illegal drugs.
Catriona will be spending a few more days in the country to fulfill work commitments before flying out with the Miss Universe team. She will be based in New York, USA for the rest of her reign. – Rappler.com