With a surge in the COVID 19 cases throughout the country, it became increasingly challenging for the Miss Universe Philppines Organization to finalize its plans as its finals date approached. Potential host cities or provinces were suddenly being declared to a quarantine status prohibit events like the Miss Universe Philippines pageant.
Understanding the current situation in the country, the Miss Universe Philippines Organization wanted to push through as a way to help revitalize the ailing live events, hospitality and tourism industries. In its presentations to the IATF and the various LGU’s of potential host cities/provinces, the Organization emphasized that by responsibly holding live events while prioritizing safety and health protocols, these industries can still operate in this new normal. As such, the MUPh Board and staff were as planned and organized as one could be under the circumstances in order to deal with any setbacks.
MUPh Director of Communications Voltaire Tayag said, “We are very proud to have successfully staged Miss Universe Philippines 2021 in the midst of the pandemic. It goes beyond the pageant as we feel it represents a solid, concerted effort of the MUPh Organization, the LGU’s and the hotel & tourism sectors. We came together as one hoping that it inspires others to hold the highest standards and protocols in responsibly holding events. That we can continue our lives in this new normal. In one of the IATF presentations, a member even commented that some of the protocols proposed by the MUPh Organization were even stricter than necessary.”
The same Risk Management & Implementation Plan was presented to Pasay, Clark, Benguet and Bohol. It main points included the following safety and health protocols:
– Only fully vaccinated individuals and have negative RT-PCR test results would be allowed into the MUPh Bubble. This included the delegates, the MUPh staff, production team, suppliers and guests.
– The delegates were given individual rooms to prevent possible transmission of COVID 19 to each other.
– There was contactless delivery of packed meals to the hotel rooms of the bubble participants.
– Wearing of the face shields and face masks was enforced at all times except when the delegate was doing a shoot.
– A strict schedule for photo and video shoots was observed to prevent crowding. In groups of two or more, social distancing was constantly implemented. Delegates who did not have a schedule remained in their hotel rooms.
– On the bus ride to Hilton Clark Sun Valley Resort, social distancing was observed in the seating arrangements. An antigen test was conducted after the 5 day stay in Clark.
– A charter AirAsia flight from Manila to Bohol was secured so that everyone in the MUPh event bubble would not be directly exposed to anyone during their travel. An RT-PCR test was conducted 48 hours prior to departure. Only those with negative results were allowed to join.
– In Bohol, the delegates were divided into three separate micro bubbles during their visits to local tourist destinations. These trips were arranged by the LGU’s and the Bohol Tourism Board and escorted by the local PNP. Interaction with local residents was not allowed.
– For the Finals Night, seat arrangements observed social distancing, no removal of masks or shields during the show, antigen test for all audience members, no eating or drinking in the venue.
– Audience members who were non-Bohol residents were required to have negative RT-PCR tests. For
Bohol residents, proof of full vaccination and negative antigen tests were accepted.
– The esteemed panel of judges consisted of successful, empowered women and accomplished men in their field of expertise all of whom had to get RT-PCR tests as well prior to going to Bohol.
The strict and proper implementation of these protocols was a collaborative effort between the MUPh bubble participants, the LGU’s and the hotel.
According to Miss Universe Philippines National Director Shamcey Supsup-Lee, “The Miss Universe Philippines Org. is very grateful to the Province of Bohol, Governor Arthur Yap, Henann Resort Alona Beach, Clark Development Corp, BCDA, Vivencio Dizon, LIPAD Corp., Hilton Clark Sun Valley Resort and all the sponsors who became our partners in reviving the economy and tourism in our own way. When the rest of the country sees these efforts, that it inspires the benefits of vaccination for all amd implementing safety protocols.”
Although protocols were priority, the MUPh Organization ensured that they delivered a fantastic show. According to Miss Universe Philippines Creative Director Jonas Gaffud, “We wanted to present a pageant that not only observed the highest forms of safety protocols but also a world-class production despite the limitations due to the pandemic. It was my dream to have a new approach to pageantry and evolve the pageant from its traditional form to a fresher vibe. We wanted a marriage of fashion and pageantry that appealed to the younger market as well.”
Gaffud was very vocal about punctuality. He told everyone, including the judges and guests, that late arrivals will not be tolerated. Saga Events was also given strict orders to start the livestream on time. Anyone found to be causing a delay in the show will be reprimanded Gaffud warned. It was also crucial that the show ended at 10:00PM at the very latest in order to observe the curfew imposed.
Given today’s many restrictions, to be able to stage a pageant in the most grand way is a victory in itself. The IATF guidelines only allow a certain percentage of the full capacity of the venue to be used. The MUPh Organization also patterned the pacing of the show with the Miss Universe pageant. It was fast paced, stuck to schedule and eliminated many of the time consuming pageant traditions.
From its planning stages all the way to the selection of the new queen, Miss Universe Philippines has been pioneering in its efforts and broke stereotypes in its pursuit of being a gold standard in successfully staging pageants safely and never compromising anyone’s health or well-being.
From L-R: Steffi Pearson Aberasturi, 2nd Runner-up, Victoria Velasquez Vincent, MUPh Charity 2021, Beatrice Luigi Gomez, Miss Universe Philippines 2021, Katrina Dimaranan, Miss Universe Philippines Tourism, and Maureen Wroblewitz, 1st Runner-up at the Henann Convention Center.