Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray arrives in PH
By CNN Philippines Staff
The queen is home.
Newly-crowned Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Elisa Magnayon Gray arrived in Manila on Wednesday afternoon.
She flew from Bangkok in Thailand, where the pageant was held, via a private plane owned by the family of former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson.
Clad in an all-white power suit, the 24-year-old Filipino-Australian beauty was welcomed by children beneficiaries of non-government organization Young Focus, which she has been volunteering for since 2016.
Gray will hold a Q&A session in Pasay City. She will be joined by Miss Universe 2018 Filipino judge Richelle Singson-Michael.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Gray is expected to pay a courtesy call to President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang “anytime soon.”
The 24-year-old Filipino-Australian beauty queen dedicated her win on Monday to Filipinos, saying the prestigious title is her Christmas gift.
“Mga kababayan, I am so happy to give you the best Christmas gift ever! Sa lahat ng Pilipino and all the fans, thank you so much for all the love and support,” she said.
Gray bested 93 other candidates from different countries. She succeeded Demi Leigh Nel-Peters from South Africa.
Gray is the fourth Filipino to bring home the coveted title, joining Gloria Diaz, Margie Moran, and Pia Wurtzbach who won in 1969, 1973, and 2015, respectively.
Gray’s return to the country is not yet her “formal homecoming.”
According to Michael, a grand welcome will be held again for the beauty queen “maybe in a few weeks.”
“This is not her formal homecoming. When she comes for a formal homecoming that’s when she will do a parade, she’ll go around, she may go to Albay where she’s from,” Michael told the media. “Originally we were gonna bring Catriona home to say hi to Filipinos whether she would lose or not.”
Gray will fly to New York in USA on Thursday, December 20.
The provincial government of Albay has expressed its intent to host a grand welcome for Gray.
In a letter dated Tuesday, December 18, Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara asked MU Organization’s Esther Swan about the “best date” for the homecoming.
He said the people of Albay are doubly proud that Gray’s roots are in Albay’s Oas town.
“Her victory has uplifted the sense of pride of the Albayanos for she has introduced the province to the world by her proud announcement of her roots and for using the Mayon Volcano as inspiration in her various activities in the pageant,” Bichara said in the letter.
Gray’s Filipino mother hails from Oas, Albay. The red crystal-encrusted gown that she wore during the pageant’s coronation was inspired by Mayon volcano, a popular tourist spot in the province.
Gray also represented Albay during Binibining Pilipinas 2018 where she earned her right to represent the country in the prestigious international pageant.