by Freddie G. Lazaro
Baguio City – The City of Pines gave 28 candidates of the Miss Universe 2016 a warm welcome during their short visit Wednesday as part of their pre-pageant activities.
The candidates and reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach gamely performed the “pattong”, a popular traditional community dance of the tribe in Kalinga and Mountain Province of Cordillera region, according to Andrew Pinero, the media relation officer of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB).
Earlier, the candidates picked strawberries and also planted Norfolk Pine Trees at the Baguio Country Club (BCC).
Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan led the tee-off for the invitational golf tournament at the BCC before the tree planting.
Former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson, one the Miss U local organizers, led the convoy of beauties as he drove a jeepito, dubbed as the world’s smallest jeepney around BCC.
The candidates arrived in Baguio City via Loakan Airport in three successive flights last Wednesday.
Together with Wurtzbach, the beauties attended the Panagbenga parade onboard three flower-bedecked floats representing the country’s three islands — Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Thousands of visitors, tourists and residents witnessed the parade of beauties that started from the premises of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to Session Road.
The candidates who visited Baguio City were: Miss Australia – Caris Tiivel; Miss Aruba- Charlene Leslie; Miss Albania- Lindita Idrizi; Miss Barbados – Shannon Harris: Miss Canada Siera Bearchell; Miss Columbia – Andrea Tovar; Miss Denmark – Christina Mikkelsen; Miss Italy – Sophia Sergio; Miss Israel – Yam Kaspers Anshel; Miss Haiti – Raquel Pelisher; Miss Guam – Muneka Joy Cruz Taispic; Miss Japan – Sari Nakazawa; Miss France- Iris Mittenaire; Miss Finland – Shirly Karvinen; Miss Kenya – Mary Esther Were; Miss Korea – Jenny Kim; Miss Kosovo – Camila Barraza; Miss Malta – Martha Fenech; Miss Mauritius – Kushboo Ramnawaj; Miss New Zealand – Tania Dawson; Miss Norway – Christina Waage; Miss Peru– Valeria Piazza; Miss Puerto Rico – Brenda Jimenez; Miss Spain – Noelia Freire; Miss Slovenia – Lucija Potocnik; Miss South Africa – Ntandoyenkosi Kunene; Miss Sweden – Ida Ovmar; Miss US Virgin Island – Carolyn Carter; Miss Albania – Lindita Idrizi, Miss France – Iris Mittenaere, Miss Haiti – Raquel Pelissier, Miss Israel – Yam Kaspers Anshel, Miss Italy – Sophia Sergio, Miss Kosovo – Camila Barraza, Miss Malta – Martha Fenech, and Miss Mauritius – Kushboo Ramnawaj.