Maxine Medina and the ‘most beautiful day’ in the Philippines

Maxine Medina and the ‘most beautiful day’ in the Philippines

After everything has been said—or was not said—and done, we choose to look at the bright side. We choose to see beneath the surface, avoid the negativity and focus on what really matters: the kingdom, not the ‘crown.’

Some of you may be surprised to know that I am one of the few who predicted the victory of Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina. We met last year and I could honestly see the potential in her. She is very pretty. In fact, her mentors (and some judges of Miss Universe 2016) agree that Maxine was “one of the prettiest” contestants the Philippines “has sent to Miss Universe and to any beauty pageant.”

She has the face, the figure, the personality, and the crowd who cheered her on, to bag the crown. But she fell short in one category. And the million-dollar question is, “Why didn’t she use the interpreter?” or “why didn’t she just answer in Tagalog?”

The question for Maxine was: What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the world in the last 10 years?

The interpreter asked the question in Tagalog and Maxine answered: “In the last 10 years of being here in the world, I saw all the people bringing in one event like this in Miss Universe. It’s something big to us that we are one. As one nation, we are all together. Thank you. Maraming salamat po.”

I was not surprised that she didn’t use an interpreter. Though for me, she didn’t need one. Did I think she should’ve answered in Tagalog and let the interpreter translate it? I admit, I did. But was her answer wrong? Technically no. It is a valid answer, but not the best.

In her defense, she was called first during the question-and-answer round and was asked a question that could go both ways. If she took her time and thought (a decade’s worth) of a more elaborate answer, say some historical event or phenomena, she have ended up with an awkward dead air and lose the momentum. On the other hand, if she responded with whatever came first to her mind, she might not be able to justify her answer. So (just like what most people thought happened), she took the safe route and answered with the ‘most significant’ event in front of her: Miss Universe 2016 happening in the Philippines after 22 years.

For me, it was a safe answer. Not a crown-worthy one, but not a wrong answer either.

And let’s not forget the fact that out of 86 gorgeous and talented candidates, she was one of the six most beautiful women. Despite the criticisms on her allegedly poor English and communication skills, she got in the top six! That should count for something, with or without the crown.

Speaking of the coveted crown, it may not have landed on Maxine’s head but the entire Universe will never see the Philippines the same way again after “the most beautiful day” was held in our country. Just think about those candidates appreciating our tourist spots, being welcomed by the warmest people they’ve ever met — all of this was shown on TV! I could’ve sworn that it didn’t look like it was shot anywhere in the Philippines. The beaches were so beautiful. I almost forgot how beautiful the Philippines truly is.

The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) even thought that the Philippines was the perfect host. MUO president Paula Shugart described the Philippine hosting of the prestigious beauty pageant as the ‘best show’ she has ever done.

Shugart gave former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson of the pageant host committee, LCS Group of Companies, a sash that read “Mister Universe” as a token of gratitude for the country’s successful hosting.

Those stories about candidates falling in love with the Filipino people and even donating their pageant gowns are testaments to how the Filipinos have captured the hearts of their visitors. Some of them even opted to extend their stay. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them decides to live in the Philippines.

All I am saying is, we shouldn’t think of Miss Universe 2016 as a failure just because we did not get the back-to-back win were hoping for. We should see it as one of the most beautiful events the whole universe has ever seen.

It was indeed the ‘most beautiful day’ in the Philippines and Maxine was right in the middle of it all. She represented the country that gave these women the most unforgettable experience they could ever have in their lifetimes. The home-court advantage may not have played well for Maxine in terms of winning the title but it did create a huge impact on the ‘universe’ for all we know.

Now, we welcome the new Miss Universe, Iris Mittenaere of France. She deserves our support as much as she deserved the crown. On behalf of the beautiful people of the Philippines, I congratulate Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere and I hope for all the best in your reign.


Monet Lu is a Marikina-born, award-winning celebrity beauty stylist with his own chain of Monet Salon salons across Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Ultimately, Monet is known as an all-around artiste who produces sold-out fashion and awards shows as well as unforgettable marketing campaigns. Monet is also the founder of the revolutionary all-natural beauty products such as Enlighten, your solution to discoloration . To contact Monet, please visit or email him at

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