It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Philippines’

MANILA, Philippines: Soar high Pinay!

The spotlight is now on the Philippines’ very own Michelle Dee, who captivated audiences during the National Costume segment of the 72nd Miss Universe competition in El Salvador on Friday (Manila time).

The 28-year-old actress and beauty queen donned a spectacular airplane-inspired ensemble adorned with the vibrant colors of the Philippine flag. Crafted by the talented designer Michael Barassi, the concept behind the costume goes beyond aesthetics, aiming to promote tourism in the country and highlighting Dee’s role as an Air Force Reservist.

At the event, the reigning Miss Universe, R’Bonney Gabriel, enthusiastically introduced Michelle with the words, “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s the Philippines!” Dee then gracefully embodied the costume’s aviation theme as she confidently strutted the runway. Initiating her walk, she engaged in presenting flight signals with her hands.

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Dee shared in an Instagram post, eloquently describing her costume, “In the grand tapestry of the Philippines emerges a National costume as breathtaking as its archipelago. Meet Sergeant Michelle Marquez Dee, Miss Universe Philippines, draped in the pride and heritage of the nation. Every thread intricately woven into the ‘solihiya’ pattern, an iconic design hailing from the tropical landscapes of the Philippines, embraces her form flawlessly—unveiling the narrative of the islands’ unity and artistry.”

Dee topped the costume with a captain’s hat, while the wings from her back carry the hues of the Philippine flag and depict a mural showcasing the country’s most stunning landscapes. As she paraded, the ensemble proudly displayed the official tourism slogan: #LoveThePhilippines.

“This National Costume represents the Philippines itself — resilient, radiant and ready to embrace the Universe!” Dee also said in the post.

Prior to the much-anticipated national costume competition, Dee also gave a sneak peek into her preparation by sharing glimpses of her training under the Philippine Air Force’s Basic Citizen Military Training.

The performance on stage certainly lived up to the expectations set by Dee herself just hours before the event. Taking to Instagram, she teased pageant fans with the words, “Let’s give them another show, shall we?” And indeed, she did.

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