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Friday, June 14, 2024

Michelle Dee pays homage to Whang-od in her final walk

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Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee bid goodbye to her reign as queen with a special tribute to Apo Whang-od. The statuesque Michelle walked the stage one last time during the pageant’s finale on Wednesday, May 22, wearing the famous black evening gown by Mark Bumgarner.

The black ensemble that Michelle wore during the Miss Universe pageant in November in El Salvador is intricately adorned with beads on the gown, mirroring the traditional tattoo designs that Whang-Od is known for.

Michelle has consistently expressed her admiration for the cultural icon. Earlier this year, she even fulfilled a long-held dream by receiving a tattoo from Whang-Od herself. Throughout her reign, the beauty queen championed cultural preservation, using her platform to elevate indigenous art forms.

Apo Whang-od is known for her work as a traditional tattoo artist hailing from the Buscalan village in Kalinga

As she strutted down the stage, Michelle also honored those who had helped her throughout her beauty pageant journey.

“My journey of a thousand steps began with all of you. And tonight, as we reach this incredible moment together, it feels like we’ve achieved something truly special This year is when I embraced my authentic self. I stopped trying to conform and started focusing on what it truly means to be Miss Universe Philippines and to become that responsibility, I did it delightedly,” she said.

Michelle also imparted a piece of advice to her successor, encouraging her to “live with purpose.”

“This may be the end of my reign, but this is the start of a beautiful chapter. To the next queen, my best advice is to move and live with purpose. Be certain of who you are and why you are here. The crown will always be a symbol of triumph, but win or lose, it’s the lives that you touch that will really make a difference.”

Michelle crowned Chelsea Anne Manalo of Bulacan as Miss Universe Philippines 2024. The dusky beauty will compete for the coveted Miss Universe title at the pageant, which will take place in Mexico later this year.

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