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Michelle Dee is Miss Universe Philippines 2023!

Michelle Dee from Makati City is Miss Universe Philippines 2023!

The actress emerged victorious on the grand coronation night held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, and was crowned by Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi.

Aside from winning the title, she also won Best in Evening Gown.

Zambales' Christine Opiaza is 1st Runner-Up, while Pampanga's Angelique Manto is 2nd Runner-Up.

In the Q&A portion, Michelle was asked: "Income inequality is still high in the Philippines. The gap between the rich and the poor remains. How do we close that gap?"

She answered, "I think first, we have to recognize what we have and the privileges that we have, such as food, education, and homes. I think the best way to address this is really through education because education holds no status quo. And every Filipino child has the right to an education, but not just any education, but quality education. Because I believe if the government can provide this to every Filipino child, then we can not only elevate their quality of life, but we can empower them as well. Thank you."

The candidates were then asked the same question: "Recently, the Department of Tourism has adopted a new branding campaign, '“We give the world our best.' For you, what is the best that we could offer to the rest of the world? Why do you consider it so?"

During her turn, Michelle responded, "The Philippines is home to very beautiful natural resources. From the beaches, the mountains. But I firmly believe that the best natural resource that the Philippines has is us Filipinos. We are the true heart and soul of the Philippines, with the way we are hospitable, with the warm smiles, and we are the reason why the world keeps coming back for more. 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. Thank you."

Michelle is now set to compete in the international Miss Universe pageant.

Thirty-eight pageant hopefuls competed for the Miss Universe Philippines 2023 crown. The pageant was hosted by Alden Richards and Xian Lim, whereas Tim Yap and Maureen Montagne were the backstage hosts. Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi was a special guest host.

Reigning Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel was the event’s special guest. Fil-Am singer Jessica Sanchez and Korean singer Nam Woo Hyun were the performers. —JCB, GMA Integrated News