“No matter where the universe takes me, I will always be proud to call the Philippines my home, and no matter what happens, I will always be proud to call myself Pinoy.” It is, indeed, sweeter the second time around for Michelle Dee, who was crowned as the new Miss Universe Philippines at the pageant’s annual competition held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on May 13. She previously won the title Miss Universe Tourism in 2022, and prior to that, represented the Philippines the Miss World 2019 in London, England.
Dee’s Mark Bumgarner-designed evening gown drew raves and earned the nods of judges as “Best in Evening Gown” in the competition. The black dress features a cutout at the waist and thigh-high slit, highlighted by a single crystal-encrusted strap. “I wanted Michelle to shine and not the dress,” the designer noted in his Instagram post. For the two-part question-and-answer portion, Dee addressed socio-economic concerns and her take on tourism,
Miss Universe Philippines 2023 also had Pampanga candidate Angelique Manto as the second runner-up, who wore a green cut-out dress by Frederick Policarpio, and Zambales candidate Christine Opiaza as the first runner-up, who opted for a Mak Tumang Grecian-inspired gown.