Are you also wondering why Michelle Dee used Filipinas in her introduction?
During the opening of the 72nd Miss Universe preliminary competition held on Nov. 16, Michelle proudly represented the Philippines with an energetic “Michelle Marquez Dee, Filipinas!”
The Miss Universe Philippines 2023 delegate previously revealed in an ABS-CBN interview that her decision to use "Filipinas" instead of "Philippines" was made strategically.
The 28-year-old beauty queen explained that she chose this name to establish a connection with El Salvador, the host country of this year's pageant, where Spanish is the official language. This choice was made before she arrived in the country, she said.
“Day one pa lang. Even before arriving El Salvador, I knew I wanted to say Filipinas,” she shared in the interview.
The beauty queen further revealed her Spanish ancestry and shared how she had dedicated time to studying Spanish in preparation for the competition.
“I studied [Spanish] right after I won Miss Universe Philippines. Of course, you have to study the place you’re going to, the culture. You don’t want to come empty-handed,” she explained, sharing that her fellow Latina delegates appreciated her choice to use the term during her introductions.
She also said she wants “to represent the Philippines in the best way possible” by going the extra mile.
The preliminary competition of the Miss Universe 2023 took place on Nov. 16, where the 84 delegates walked the runway donning their swimsuits and evening gowns.
On the same night, Michelle was included among the Top 10 CI Talks Finalists for the Voice for Change Award. In an official post by the Miss Universe, the top three selected delegates on the coronation night will be awarded $12,000 each for their chosen causes.
The grand coronation night will happen on Nov. 19 (PHT) at the José Adolfo Pineda Arena in San Salvador, El Salvador. This year, 84 candidates will compete to succeed Filipina American R'Bonney Gabriel as the new Miss Universe 2023.