Miss Universe

Dee Filipino? Netizens criticize Michelle Dee’s aviation-themed national costume

Patricia Kahanap

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Dee Filipino? Netizens criticize Michelle Dee’s aviation-themed national costume
Michelle Dee wears airplane-like wings with the colors of the Philippine flag and a mural of the country's tourist attractions on the back during the national costume competition of the Miss Universe 2023

MANILA, Philippines – It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s…not Philippines?

Michelle Dee’s national costume at the Miss Universe 2023 competition drew mixed reactions from Filipinos online, with some people wondering how her costume is relevant to the Philippine context.

The beauty queen, an air force reservist, walked the stage with airplane-like wings that had the colors of the Philippine flag, with a mural of the Philippines’ best tourist spots on the back. It also featured “Love The Philippines,” the Department of Tourism’s controversial slogan.

In an Instagram post, Dee says that the “amazing creation” of artist Michael Barrasi was meant to “promote tourism in the country.”

But some netizens struggled to find her national costume’s relevance to Filipino culture.


Others say that the plane-themed costume was done in poor taste, as the Philippine Air Force is responsible for bombing rural communities in the country.

Some individuals also slammed the use of “Love The Philippines,” a controversial rebranding that cost over P49 million.

Dee-layed flights?

Netizens also took this opportunity to talk about the problems concerning local airlines.

The Senate started a probe in June 2023 after several complaints about “arbitrary” cancelations or rescheduling of flights have gone viral. Carriers blamed these cancelations with spare parts and maintenance scheduling.



Several users rallied behind the Philippine bet, saying that her costume was well-thought-out and provided a unique perspective on Filipino culture.

What did you think of her national costume? – Rappler.com

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Patricia Kahanap

Patricia Kahanap is a digital communications specialist at Rappler.