If there was someone who had a great 2016, it has to be none other than Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach. Ever since bagging the Miss Universe crown for Philippines (our country's third in the pageant's history), Pia's life drastically changed for the better, no doubt. Because more than the glamorous aspect of being a beauty queen, Pia totally rocked the whole making a difference facet of being Miss Universe. That, and a lot more...
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She has met and talked to fellow Mindanaoans, Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, about the state of the nation. She has been meeting with various organizations like UNICEF, UN, Red Cross, and Smile Train for her various advocacies.
She's definitely not afraid to get her hands dirty in doing real work. But despite everything she has accomplished, Pia does not forget to let her hair down and enjoy time with her family and closest friends.
"She will just always go above and beyond. When we're tired or when we're about to leave, she is still standing there looking amazing, still saying words of encouragement. So, just in general, she's been great," Miss Universe President Paula Shugart explained why she will miss Pia, in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
Let's take a look back at the significant moments during Queen P's reign:
1. December 20, 2015: Winning the crown. Pia’s persistence in gunning for the crown (she competed in Bb. Pilipinas three times before becoming Bb. Pilipinas-Universe in 2015) paid off as she was proclaimed Miss Universe 2015, the third Filipina to win the crown.
"I am so happy for what you've achieved in your life. Out of all the people that I know, you have a heart that doesn't give up. You literally and figuratively give your whole being to that thing that you want the most. And that is the reason why you're successful," Pauleen Luna, Pia's best friend, said, explains why she is proud of what Pia has achieved.
2. January 23, 2016: First homecoming to the Philippines as Miss Universe. More than a month after her coronation as Miss Universe, Pia returned to the Philippines, visiting ABS-CBN, the station where she started her career. During her visit, Pia reminisced the things she did as an actress during her early days, and thanked ABS-CBN’s big bosses (Chairman Gabby Lopez, President Carlo Katigbak, and Chief Content Officer Charo Santos-Concio) for all the support she has received throughout her career.
“[This love and adoration for Pia] is a testament that [her win as Miss Universe] bridges all ages and all classes,” Desiree Bretaña of ABS-CBN's Integrated Marketing Division said after seeing Pia in person during her visit to ABS-CBN.
[related: #PiaWurtzbachInManila: Grace In Spite of Everything is What Makes Pia Loved by Everyone]
3. January 27, 2016: Pushing for her advocacies. As an advocate for HIV awareness, Pia started off by meeting youth advocates and patients afflicted with HIV at V. Luna Hospital during her first visit to the Philippines as Miss Universe. Aside from HIV awareness, Pia also talked about the importance of safe sex, educating one's self about the upcoming elections, and being against bullying in all forms.
[related: #PiaWurtzbachInManila: Four Things People Can Learn from Queen P and Her Advocacies]
4. January 30, 2016: One beautiful bridesmaid. Fulfilling her BFF promise to Pauleen Luna, Pia served as Pauleen’s bridesmaid during the latter’s wedding to Vic Sotto. "I'm so happy I got to be there for her and share this moment," Pia said in a Friends Day-themed post dedicated to Pauleen.
5. February 7, 2016: A beauty queen as a Super Bowl correspondent. Among the first few things Pia did as a beauty queen involved being a correspondent for Super Bowl 50, where the Denver Broncos won against the Carolina Panthers. "Unforgettable," she described it in a post.
6. April 14, 2016: The People's Champ meets Miss Universe. Following Manny’s win against American boxer Timothy Bradley, the two champions met each other, with Manny giving Pia a pair of signed pink gloves. Pia is actually a fan of the accomplished boxer, even catching Manny's win against Jessie Vargas live last November 6.
7. April 17, 2016: Crowning the next Bb. Pilipinas-Universe. After her last walk as Bb. Pilipinas-Universe, Pia passed the crown to Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 2016 Maxine Medina, who will be competing at the 65th Miss Universe and hopefully bring home the country’s first back-to-back win.
Her message to Maxine? "It's not just a pretty headpiece they put on top of your head. It's your ticket to represent the Filipina and the whole nation. And I know you're ready."
8. April 27, 2016: Ceremonial pitch for the Mets and Reds. Aside from hosting the Superbowl a few months prior, Pia also played a role in the opening season of the NFL, at the baseball match between the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Mets. Though she is not that much adept when it comes to baseball, the confident Pia knows that she can do it. "Should I throw a knuckle ball, curve ball or a fast ball," she candidly remarked in a post.
9. May 28, 2016: Helping out during relief ops. In her visit to Ecuador, Pia made sure that relief ops at the Red Cross center were smooth sailing. She was also of great help to our local relief operations. "Just because it's not all over the news doesn't mean that the suffering is over," Pia said in her post.
10. June 28, 2016: Getting tested for HIV herself. As part of her advocacy, Pia appeared in a video message, encouraging everyone to get tested for HIV. In fact, she herself got tested a few days prior to the release of the video message on June 22 at Apicha Community Health Center in New York City, where she took the Alere 4th Generation HIV test. "Take that first step. Take Control. Get Tested. Know your Status," Pia said.
11. July 7, 2016: Meeting Grumpy Cat, a viral feline star. Pia had the chance to meet YouTube star Grumpy the Cat, a feline well-known over the internet for her grumpy face, which is caused by an underbite and feline dwarfism. And it was such a cute moment! Her joint statement with the feline? "Grumpy when we're hungry."
12. July 18, 2016: Meeting President Rody Duterte. Given the fact that both of them hail from Mindanao (Pia’s hometown is Cagayan de Oro while President Duterte’s hometown is Davao City), this was no doubt a proud moment for all Mindanaon "First Mindanaon President and first Mindanaon Miss Universe," Pia said in her post.
13. September 2016: Stunning the crowd with a NYFW appearance. Among the many notable events Pia had during her reign include her appearance at New York Fashion Week, which include modeling for fashion brand Sherri Hill and Desigual, and supporting the show of designer Nicholas Kunz.
14. September 13, 2016: A telethon for $25 million. Raising money through telephone calls proved to be a piece of cake for the confidently beautiful Pia. During BGC's Annual Charity day, Pia took part in convincing traders to forego their commissions and donate them to charities, which include those for "victims of terrorism, natural disasters, and other emergencies, as well as a wide variety of other charitable organizations providing assistance to those in need."
15. September 24, 2016: A surprise birthday party. For her 27th birthday, Pia’s friends threw a surprise for her, as she celebrated her birthday week in the Philippines. Another special thing about it? Pia celebrated it with her avid supporters, who've been there for her since day one.
16. September 28, 2016: Training the next beauty queen. Before Maxine Medina competes for the Miss Universe crown, Pia included her in a UNICEF meeting, sharing her passion for the cause.
[related: Hot Stuff: How This Year's Bb. Pilipinas Queens Captured Our Hearts and Minds With Their Words]
17. October 16, 2016: Helping out in building a house. Not afraid to get her hands dirty, Pia helped out in building a traditional mud house during her visit to Panama. "Getting down to business" indeed.
18. November 20, 2016: Inspiring young girls to pursue their dreams. During her tour in Dubai, Pia interacted with a young girl named Fea Mariz Go, who asked her how she could be a beauty queen like Pia. Pia’s answer to Fea? “Why wait? Let’s do it now!”
"I walked away from the pageant stage empty handed many times and it was tough! But I never gave up and neither should you," she added.
19. November 24, 2016: Preparing meals for the less fortunate. Aside from her usual activities helping raise awareness about HIV, Pia also helped out in preparing meals for the less fortunate during Thanksgiving Day with God’s Love We Deliver. Yes, Pia is putting her culinary skills to great use for a good cause!
20. December 10, 2016: The 65th Miss Universe Kickoff Party. With Pia's wish that the Philippines hosts the 65th Miss Universe Pageant coming true, she visited Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle to ask for his blessing and to ensure a successful hosting of the pageant come January 30, and also to drop off her donations for the Caritas Manila Celebrity Auction.
"We are happy that a person like you and other celebrities, if we might use that word, are offering whatever you could to support especially the young people in need of education," Cardinal Tagle said to Pia.
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Photographs from Instagram.com/piawurtzbach, Instagram.com.missuniverse, Instagram.com/mannypacquiao, instagram.com/unicefphils, the Binibining Pilipinas Facebook page, and the Miss Universe Facebook page.