‘Bongga talaga’: Michelle Dee on buzz about Miss Universe 2023 nat’l costume

November 9, 2023 - 2:49 PM
Michelle Dee
Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee in this photo taken by Jesus Nube and posted by the Miss Universe Philippines organization on Nov. 5, 2023 (themissuniverseph/Instagram)

“Bongga talaga.”

This was what Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee told her supporters after the prestigious beauty pageant gave a hint of her national costume in the competition through YouTube.

The channel of Miss Universe on Wednesday, November 8 posted the first episode of its “Behind the Queen” series for the Miss Universe 2023 journey which documented beauty queens during the registration and fittings.

The video featured costume designer David Profeta, who was looking at the images of the national costumes that the delegates had sent to the organization.

“We also have a few — kind of — animal-inspired. We’ve got one that’s from the Philippines. It’s here, which is an airplane. So this is eight feet,” he said, pointing to an illustration that was blurred by the production.

Some Pinoy fans saw the video and thought that it “spoiled” the element of surprise about the Philippine bet’s anticipated national costume.

“Why naman ni-leak ng mismong Miss Universe kung anong NatCos ni MMD??” a user from the X (formerly Twitter) platform said, referring to Michelle’s initials.

“Na-spoil lagi sa [Miss Universe] ang natcos [national costume] ni MMD, whyyy,” another online user wrote.

The following day, Michelle posted an Instagram clip that she said was “Hint 001.” She also accompanied it with emojis of a saluting face and the Philippine flag.

The Makati beauty also included the hashtag “#nationalcostume” in her post.

“I #LoveThePhilippines and I will do everything within my capacity to show that! My heart goes out to those [who] dedicate their lives to protect and promote the country we love, and I encourage you to do what you can (big or small) to do the same,” she said in her caption.

The video showed Michelle being given a certificate for attending some sessions of Basic Citizen Military Training under the Philippine Air Force Reserve.

Once she finishes her training, she will be part of the Philippine Air Force’s reservists.

Reservists are members of the armed forces, but they are also civilians who have careers outside the military during peacetime. In times of crisis and/or war, they are soldiers called upon for training and/or service when necessary.


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A post shared by MMD (@michelledee)

Meanwhile, Michelle’s “hint” earned mixed reactions, with some Pinoys claiming her national costume appeared to be a “fascist couture.”

“‘Wag naman sana, lalo pa uso ang gyera — make love, not war,” another online user wrote, referencing the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“It’s giving [mandatory] ROTC vibes,” commented a different Pinoy.

The daughter of beauty queen Melanie Marquez then took to Instagram to respond to the comments about her national costume, particularly about the Miss Universe video.

“Napanood ko na. Okay lang ‘yan! (white heart emoji) Walang masama na intention ang nangyari. Basta abangan niyo na lang ang presentation kasi bongga talaga (heart hands and flying airplane emoji),” Michelle wrote on Thursday.

“Not just mine, but everyone’s will be gorgeous. #Bayanihan #DeePaTapos,” she added.

Michelle Dee_natcos
Screengrab from Michelle Dee’s Instagram Story posted on Nov. 8, 2023 (michelledee/Instagram)

She also reshared an Instagram account that appealed to Pinoys to fill the comments section of the particular Miss Universe video with positive reactions instead.

“Always choose to be kind!” Michelle commented on the reshare with emojis of a white heart and a Philippine flag.

Michelle Dee_natcos2
Screengrab from Michelle Dee’s Instagram Story posted on Nov. 8, 2023 (michelledee/Instagram)

Michelle likewise reshared an IG Story of Voltaire Tayag, Miss Universe Philippines’ communication director.

“Guys, keep calm. Now that you have a ‘teaser’ of the National Costume, be excited for @michelledee’s stage presentation!” he wrote.

Screengrab from Michelle Dee’s Instagram Story posted on Nov. 8, 2023 (michelledee/Instagram)

The national costume segment is among the highlights of the Miss Universe pageant, which is part of the preliminary competition.

This is when delegates are given the chance to display an ensemble that best represents their country or their country’s culture.

Michelle is hoping to get the country’s fifth Miss Universe crown in the 72nd edition of the global beauty pageant which has over 80 delegates.

MORE: Michelle Dee stories

The grand coronation will be held at the National Gymnasium in San Salvador, El Salvador on November 18 (November 19 Philippine time).

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