ILOCOS Norte Gov. Imee Marcos hailed Miss Philippines Catriona Gray for bagging the Miss Universe crown with her beauty, intelligence and and strong advocacy for the protection of children's rights.
“Keri lang maging iba sa lahat! Among silver gowns and silver linings, panalo ang pula! Standout ka talaga, Cat! Congratulations!” Marcos said.
Marcos noted that this year's pageant was trailblazing as it featured a former domestic helper (Miss Vietnam), two candidates representing indigenous tribes, and the first transgender candidate (Miss Spain).
Gray, 24, who finished first ahead of the South African and Venezuelan finalists, earned applause in describing her work in the slums of Manila. "I work a lot in the slums of Tondo, Manila and the life there is… it's poor and very sad. And I've always taught myself to look for the beauty of it, to look for beauty in the faces of the children and to be grateful. And I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe, to see situations with a silver lining, and to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson,” she said.
The model and singer concluded her answer by saying that she would like to teach people to be grateful so we could have an “amazing world where negativity could not grow... and children would have a smile on their faces.”