According to my source, the recent arrival of Paula Shugart in Manila should have almost sealed the deal. I say “almost” because one important piece of the puzzle – Gov. Chavit Singson – still remains allegedly non-committal during the formal dinner hosted for the visiting guests from NYC. And because of that, I was told that the Miss Universe Organization needs to dig deep in its Philippine network to find more solid allies in the pursuit of a sweet conclusion. There are talks that multinational beverage giant San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is joining the circle, just as Megaworld and Okada Manila are also being tapped to hook up. And could it be true that Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. might also be part of the team?
Regardless, my source asked Paula why the organization still wants Miss Universe to be hosted in Manila. Her replies were straightforward. They know how much the Filipinos love Miss Universe. She fully appreciates the kind of security provided to the candidates and the entire MUO officials & crew. And the level of ease given in running all Pre-Pageant activities plus mounting the production of the Preliminaries and Finals cannot be denied.
When further queried about the dangerously short five (5) months left before a penciled late November date for the finals, the MUO President replied that the 65th Miss Universe was negotiated and finalized in a matter of three (3) months. And that the extra period should still give them a safe cushion of sorts.
So where does everything stand at this point? Let me put it this way. For as long as there is no Press Conference for the Contract Signing, the fate of Miss Universe 2017 or the 66th Miss Universe is still a dream waiting to become a reality in the Philippines.