Report by Arvin Cabachete
Photos by JR Noses
Two months after being crowned Miss Universe 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand, Catriona Gray attends homecoming press conference today, February 20, in Novotel Hotel Manila.
Present at the press conference are the officials of Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) headed by Stella Marquez Araneta.
“We are very happy to have somebody to represent Miss Universe like you. You are our latest, most wonderful beauty queen that we have now. I hope the best for you and you deserve it. I know you will,” Mrs. Araneta addressed to Gray.
Catriona Gray went emotional as she delivered her speech during the press conference.
“I didn’t expect to be emotional but I really do. Why? Because last time I was in this room, it was my send-off around November. I was with Jehza (Huelar), our Miss Supranational Philippines. To come back here as Miss Universe 2018, it looks like a fast journey,” Gray said.
“This is my first opportunity to celebrate winning Miss Universe with the whole country and the people that I love.”
“It grips me so much pride and honor to be able to bring so much joy to my country of the Philippines. It has always been about giving back to the community and the country as a whole. It has been something that anchored me throughout this whole process. It’s always something that I’ve drawn strength from every step of the way. Standing here in front of you today, I felt with the utmost pride. I just want to say thank you and that this is all for you,” she added.
Gray said that she has many plans throughout her reign.
“My life has changed so much. Since that crown was placed on my head, everything just almost feeling like an instant my life has changed. I went from being a voice to the Philippines to a voice to the international audience. With that does come a little bit pressure but also an amazing opportunity,” Gray said.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and even does a year will go by so fast. I have plans to do during my reign. I really hope to leave a positive impact as Miss Universe 2018,” she added.
Grand homecoming parade
To continue the homecoming festivities, Gray will have its first grand parade on February 21 traveling the cities of Pasay, Manila, and Makati. She will be on board a majestic float inspired by her Lava gown by Mak Tumang and the Miss Universe Mikimoto crown.
Her fans will also have the opportunity to see her at a grand parade around Araneta Center on February 23 at 4:00 PM.
She will then be featured in a show at Smart Araneta Coliseum on February 24. Dubbed as “Raise Your Flag for Catriona Gray (Miss Universe 2018 Homecoming)”, she will be joined by Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Maymay Entrata, Bamboo, KZ Tandingan, Morissette Amon, Jed Madela, TNT Boys, ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, Vice Ganda and many more stars. The show will be hosted by Boy ABunda.
Aside from the homecoming parade and a show organized for her, Gray reveals during the press conference that she will also visit some organizations as part of her advocacies before she competed in Miss Universe.
“I’m definitely having a full charity day with Young Focus, which is my education based organization in Smokey Mountain, Tondo Manila. Second is ‘Love Yourself the Philippines’, which is a volunteer-run HIV AIDS organization that offers free guidance, treatment, and counseling for those affected. I also have a day for Bb. Pilipinas Charities and Smile Train. I’m so happy that I get to spend time with those charities especially my own charities.”