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Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach arrives in Manila

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach arrived in Manila early Saturday, January 23, for her Grand Homecoming. (READ: PH's Pia Wurtzbach wins Miss Universe 2015)

This is the first time Pia has visited the Philippines since her controversial win in December 2015, when coronation night host Steve Harvey mistakenly crowned first runner-up Miss Colombia instead.

It's been 42 years since the Philippines won the Miss Universe crown. Pia is only the 3rd Miss Universe from the country.

Pia's journey to the crown wasn't all smooth sailing. It took her 3 attempts at Binibining Pilipinas before she won the Miss Philippines title that would let her represent the country in the international pageant.

Pia's homecoming is packed with activities, including a press conference, and courtesy calls to the Senate, the city of Manila, and Malacañang. The final activity planned for her visit is a homecoming special on January 28 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (READ: Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach on effigy issue, PH homecoming)

Pia will also have a Grand Homecoming Parade on January 25, which will start in Manila and end at Araneta Center, Quezon City. 

On January 23, the pageant queen gave a short message to her Filipino supporters – once in Filipino and again in English – when she arrived at the airport. 

For her Filipino speech above, she said: "Napakasaya ko po, 'di po ako nakatulog kagabi dahil sobrang excited po akong finally makauwi na. Ayoko po sanang mag-reveal muna ng mga experiences ko, dahil ise-save ko po ito sa press conference na mangyayari bukas. Kaya sana po pumunta kayo doon. Napakasaya ko po na nakauwi na ako dito sa Pilipinas." After a short pause, Pia joked, "Grabe, para akong lalaban ulit."

(I'm so happy, I couldn't sleep last night because I was so excited to finally come home. I don't want to reveal too much about my experiences because I want to save those for the press conference that will happen tomorrow, so please come. I'm so happy that I've come home again here in the Philippines. It feels like I'm going to compete again.)

She later repeated the speech in English, adding, "Every time I would think about my trip back here, I would, you know, tear up a little bit, because I feel like it's been so long. And I have so many things to share and I can't wait to share it all with you." 

And in English for her foreign supporters #MostBeautifulDay #ConfidentlyBeautiful @MissUniverse @PiaWurtzbach pic.twitter.com/nbuyrVejv2 — vernise tantuco (@verntantuco) January 22, 2016


Check out some photos of Pia's arrival below too:

Photo by Jedwin M.

Llobera/Rappler

Photo by Jedwin M.

Llobera/Rappler

The pageant that Pia competed in will be memorable for Steve's Miss Universe gaffe during coronation night, as well as Pia's answer during the first question and answer portion.

When asked, "Do you think the US should have a military presence in your country?" Pia answered that she had no problem with it.

"I think that the United States and the Philippines has always had a good relationship with each other. We were colonized by the Americans and we have their culture in our traditions even up to this day, and I think we are very welcoming with the Americans, and I don't see any problem with that at all," she replied.

Filipino citizens and politicians criticized Pia's support of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. EDCA paves the way for the increased presence of American troops in the Philippines and gives them unimpeded access to military facilities. The Supreme Court recently upheld the position of Malacañang that EDCA is an executive agreement and does not need the Senate's concurrence.

Still, Pia's hard work paid off. As the 3rd Miss Universe from the country, she follows in the footsteps of Gloria Diaz (1969) and Margarita Moran (1973). – Rappler.com

More Miss Universe on Rappler:

More stories:

Pia Wurtzbach as Miss Universe 2015

Coronation night

More stories

Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.

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