This year’s Miss Universe competition is taking place in the Philippines! So, who better to learn about the country from than Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina herself?
Maxine is from Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. When asked how she would describe the Philippines to someone who has never visited there before, Maxine told us, “It’s more fun in the Philippines! Our weather is as warm as our smiles.”
No surprise, it turns out that Maxine’s favorite place in the world is right in her own home country. Maxine said her favorite place is El Nido, Palawan, Philippines, because of its “breathtaking beauty.”
El Nido is the gateway to the Bacuit archipelago, a group of islands with steep karst cliffs. It’s known for its white-sand beaches and coral reefs.
“When I experienced going from one island to another, I felt that it was an extremely difficult challenge, because of physical exertion. My partner and I had to paddle all the way just to get to paradise,” Maxine said of visiting the area. “It was a test of patience and an unforgettable experience, because of the majestic view of the pristine beaches and wonderful landscapes.”
Maxine also told us about another unique adventure she’s had in the Philippines. She went canyoneering, which is exploring a canyon by engaging in such activities as rappelling, rafting and waterfall jumping.
“I have experienced ‘canyoneering’ when I visited South Cebu, Philippines. At first, I was so scared to jump from the cliff, as I have never done anything like that before,” Maxine said. “I have always been afraid of heights, but this experience made me conquer my fear and it was an amazing experience.”
So, what’s something that most people don’t know about the Philippines? According to Maxine, “One of the smallest primates in the world, called a ‘Tarsier,’ is found in the Philippines.”
Maxine also said that her favorite native dish from the Philippines is “Kare-Kare.” Kare-Kare is a traditional Filipino stew complimented with a thick savory peanut sauce.
Watch the Miss Universe competition LIVE from the Philippines on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 7/6c on FOX.
The National Costume competition is one of the most unique and highly anticipated parts of the Miss Universe competition. We can’t wait to see how this year’s contestants represent their countries!
National Costumes can be extravagant and large. So, how do you pack one? Check out four tips for traveling with a National Costume below.
1. Don’t be afraid to give your costume its’ own suitcase
National Costumes can take up a lot of space. You may have to devote an entire suitcase (or multiple suitcases) to your National Costume and that’s OK! You don’t want it to break or get squished.
2. Protect It
Are you concerned that pieces of your National Costume might break during transit? Consider wrapping your costume pieces in bubble wrap before you pack them to protect them and keep them safe!
3. It won’t fit on the plane? Ship it!
If a piece or pieces of your costume won’t comfortably fit in a suitcase, you can always ship your costume to the Philippines! Just make sure you ship it early, so it has more than enough time to make it to the competition.
4. Concerned about losing it? Carry it on the plane!
The best way to guarantee your costume doesn’t get lost or stolen in transit is to carry it on the plane with you. Consider carrying your National Costume in a garment bag or devoting both of your carry-on bags to your National Costume.
If your costume won’t fit in just two carry-on bags, you can always ask one of the people traveling with you if they can help you out by devoting one of their carry-on bags to it.
We asked Miss Universe contestants: “What is your favorite native dish from your country?” No surprise, we got a variety of amazing dishes from all across the globe! Check out some of their answers below.
Miss Universe Albania Lindita Idrizi: “Yogurt Casserole.”
Miss Universe Angola Luísa Baptista: “Funge of nuts chicken with moamba of peanuts and beans.”
Miss Universe Argentina Estefania Bernal: Bife de chorizo (Steak)
Miss Universe Aruba Charlene Leslie: “Fried Funchi, it is made out of cornmeal and may also be known as polenta.”
Miss Universe Australia Caris Tiivel: “Definitely Tim Tams!”
Miss Universe Austria Dajana Dzinic: “Vienna Schnitzel.”
Miss Universe Bahamas Cherell Williamson: “Conch salad and conch fritters. Conch is essentially a ‘sea snail.'”
Miss Universe Barbados Shannon Harris: “Definitely Flying Fish and Macaroni Pie!”
Miss Universe Belgium Stephanie Geldhof: “French fries with mayonnaise.”
Miss Universe Belize Rebecca Rath: “Sahou – this is a traditional Garifuna custard that is made with coconut milk and grated cassava simmered with sugar and cinnamon. It is said to give you strength and I believe it does as our Belize national football team drinks a cup before every game!”
Miss Universe Bolivia Antonella Moscatelli Saucedo: “Majao de charche and piquemacho.”
Miss Universe Brazil Raissa Santana: “Feijoada.”
Miss Universe British V.I. Erika Creque: “Red Bean Soup (Peas Soup) would be my favorite native dish. In the British Virgin Islands. We make Red Bean Soup like no other place in the world, we add a special touch of milk and sugar.”
Miss Universe Bulgaria Violina Ancheva: “Banitsa. It is a kind of cheese cake.”
Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell: “Butter Tarts and Ketchup Chips.”
Miss Universe Cayman Islands Monyque Brooks: “Stew Conch! I take pleasure in diving them up from the sea and taking them home to cook them! It is prepared with coconut milk, flour dumplings, paired with white rice and other sides such as cassava and banana.”
Miss Universe Chile Catalina Cáceres: “Porotos granados.”
Miss Universe Colombia Andrea Tovar: “Sancocho es una sopa con muchas carnes diferentes, el arroz de longaniza chocoano, la bandeja paisa, un cholao.”
Miss Universe Costa Rica Carolina Rodriguez Duran: “It is Gallo Pinto. You need to try this!”
Miss Universe Croatia Barbara Filipovic: Janjetina (Roasted Lamb)
Miss Universe Curacao Chanelle de Lau: “Stewed Beef with cooked cornmeal and Pumpkin Pancakes.”
Miss Universe Czech Republic Andrea Bezdekova: “Tomato sauce with dumplings.”
Miss Universe Denmark Christina Mikkelsen: “Duck, pig, brown sauce and potatoes. (FLÆSKESTEG OG AND MED BRUN SOVS OG KARTOFLRER) Normally this is not something I would eat in a normal day. I almost only eat this Christmas Eve, since it’s a tradition in Denmark. This dish, brings out the memories of Christmas with my family.”
Miss Universe Dominican Republic Rosalba Abreu: “Fish in Coconut Sauce (Pescado Con Coco).”
Miss Universe Ecuador Connie Jiménez: “My favorite dish from my country is green plantain dumpling soup, ‘Caldo de bolas.’ It consists of dumplings or balls made from green plantains and stuffed with meat and vegetables served in a beef broth with corn and yuca. It is DELICIOUS. You must try it.”
Miss Universe Finland Shirly Karvinen: “Reindeer meat.”
Miss Universe France Iris Mittenaere: “Snails from burgundy. I love the burgundy sauce, with garlic and herbs.”
Miss Universe Georgia Nuka Karalashvili: “I have two absolutely favorite dishes. These are: Khachapuri: a baked pie with cheese. And Elarji: corn grits with a lot of melted cheese, so that elarji turns into a sticky, cheesy paste.”
Miss Universe Germany Johanna Acs: “Wurst & Sauerkraut.”
Miss Universe Great Britain Jaime-Lee Faulkner: “A Roast dinner with Yorkshire Puddings.”
Miss Universe Guam Muneka Joy Cruz Taisipic: “My favorite dish from my country is beef keleguen. Beef keleguen is raw beef soaked in lemon, salt, onions and hot peppers.”
Miss Universe Guatemala Virginia Argueta: “Caldo de Gallina.”
Miss Universe Guyana Soyini Fraser: “Metem Gee! It is ground provisions boiled in seasoned coconut milk with duff (dumplings).”
Miss Universe Haiti Raquel Pelissier: “Pork and Fried plantains (Griot and bannan peze).”
Miss Universe Honduras Sirey Moran: “Baleada: Is a flour tortilla with bean and cheese.”
Miss Universe Hungary Veronika Bódizs: “Gulasch soup.”
Miss Universe Iceland Hildur Leifsdóttir: “Harðfiskur (dried fish) with butter.”
Miss Universe India Roshmitha Harimurthy: “Masala Dosa.”
Miss Universe Indonesia Kezia Warouw: “My favourite dishes come from North Sulawesi which include Bubur Manado (Manado Porridge), Daun Gedi (vegetables Gedi) which serves with corn, pumpkin and traditional chili sauce called Sambal Ikan Roa. Because I love spicy foods, Sambal Ikan Roa is almost inseparable from me.”
Miss Universe Israel Yam Kaspers Anshel: “Falafel.”
Miss Universe Jamaica Isabel Dalley: “Red Snapper steamed with okras and local spices inclusive of the Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Pepper served with rice & peas and steamed calaloo and served with a freshly blended fruit punch which consists of papaya,watermelon, mango and banana.”
Miss Universe Japan Sari Nakazawa: “Sushi.”
Miss Universe Kenya Mary Were: “‘PILAU.’ It is one of Kenya’s special dishes from the Coast of the Country.”
Miss Universe Korea Jenny Kim: “My favorite native dish is Japchae, Korean noodle. The reason why I like Japchae is because it is a perfect dish for a single meal. Japchae contains meat and vegetables which is a right balance of protein, fiber, and carbohydrate. The ingredients of Japchae are varieties of vegetables such as carrot, spinach, mushroom, beef, and noodle. I enjoy eating Japchae and I would love to share this lovely food with all my peers.”
Miss Universe Kosovo Camila Barraza: “Flia also known as a Fli or Flija is a Kosovo Albanian dish. It consists of multiple crepe like layers brushed with cream and served with yogurt. There are sayings that hundred years ago Flia was cooked for the first time, its ingredients and the way of preparation were a result of poverty. Flia requires very simple ingredients such as flour, water and salt. March 18 is recognized as ‘Flia Day’ in which families invite their relatives for preparing and eating Flia.”
Miss Universe Malaysia Kiranmeet Kaur Baljeet Singh: “Out of the many native dishes that Malaysia has to offer, Rojak would my favourite. The term ‘Rojak’ Malay for mixture, is also a colloquial expression for electric mix that essentially describes the mosaic of cultures and ethnicity of Malaysian society. It is a fruit and vegetable salad dish consisting of pounded groundnuts, papaya, mangoes, deep fried bean curd, bean sprouts, cucumber, fritters with sugar, chilly, lime juice and water as dressing. There are many variations of this dish throughout the Peninsular, each state having its own.”
Miss Universe Malta Martha Fenech: “There are too many dishes to mention here but one big favourite of mine is Widow’s Soup, which is the epitome of Maltese soups. It has earned its name from the fact that it is considered to be a ‘poor man’s dish’. This is because several years ago it was very popular with widow’s whose husband had just passed away and had no big means to raise their children. So they put a lot of vegetables into a soup, maltese sausage, goat’s cheese, and anything that took their fancy to create a very thick but inexpensive broth which is still nutritious.”
Miss Universe Mauritius Kushboo Ramnawaj: “Poisson a la Creole, which is a fried fish in a tomato sauce with herbs and spices.”
Miss Universe Mexico Kristal Silva: “Tacos and guacamole.”
Miss Universe Myanmar Htet Htet Htun: “Naan with Pea.”
Miss Universe Namibia Lizelle Esterhuizen: “‘Braaivleis’ and my mom’s potato salad.”
Miss Universe Netherlands Zoey Ivory: “I think we have the best candy and cookies. I love our Dutch caramel waffles called Stroopwafels and little spiced biscuits called Pepernoten.”
Miss Universe New Zealand Tania Dawson: “Hangi- Potatoes, Kumara, Vegetables and Meat traditionally cooked in a pit lined with hot stones and covered with wet cloth. The food pit is then buried and give the food an earthy flavor.”
Miss Universe Nicaragua Marina Jacoby: “This is such a hard question because in the past five minutes I have not been able to decide which native food to chose as my favorite. But because I have to choose one, I would say Nacatamal, which is cooked corn dough mixed with potatoes, tomatoes, rice, pork, etc. molded by banana leafs.”
Miss Universe Nigeria Unoaku Anyadike: “Amala and Ewedu with fresh fish/goat meat.”
Miss Universe Norway Christina Waage: “Bacalao.”
Miss Universe Panama Keity Drennan: “Rice with chickens and banana in temptation.”
Miss Universe Paraguay Andrea Melgarejo: “Paraguayan soup.”
Miss Universe Perú Valeria Piazza: “My favorite native dish is Ceviche but if I were able to pick to Lomo Saltado would not be close behind. This are not only my favorite native dishes, these are my favorite plates over any other I have ever tried.”
Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina: “Kare-Kare.”
Miss Universe Poland Izabella Krzan: “Pierogi! (Dumplings with mushrooms).”
Miss Universe Puerto Rico Brenda Jimenez: “White rice, beef stew and mofongo (mashed plantains).”
Miss Universe Romania Teodora Dan: “Cabbage rolls filled with meat and rice,fried dough with sweet cheese.”
Miss Universe Russia Yuliana Korolkova: “I love Russian pelmeni (a kind of ravioli). Pelmeni is a taste of my childhood.”
Miss Universe Sierra Leone Hawa Kamara: “I love to eat CASAVA leaves made with the leaves of the cassava vegetable mixed with chicken.”
Miss Universe Singapore Cheryl Chou: “I love Roti Prata! Which is essentially a flatbread that is flipped and folded into many layers (like how a pastry is) and then fried. It is eaten with different types of curries like chicken or beef. My favorite way of eating Roti Prata is with sugar, and it used to be one of my go to breakfast dishes when I was younger.”
Miss Universe Slovak Republic Zuzana Kollarova: “Potato dumplings with sheep cheese and bacon.”
Miss Universe Slovenia Lucija Poto?nik: “A traditional Slovene dish for special occasions is a type of cake called potica. The taste is sweet and the main ingredient is walnut.”
Miss Universe South Africa Ntandoyenkosi Kunene: “Braai’d mielies, pap and biltong.”
Miss Universe Spain Noelia Freir: “Paella.”
Miss Universe Sri Lanka Jayathi De Silva: “Hoppers.”
Miss Universe Sweden Ida Ovmar: “My favorite dish from Sweden is meat from elk with salad.”
Miss Universe Switzerland Dijana Cvijetic: “Swiss cheese fondue.”
Miss Universe Tanzania Jihan Dimachk: “Wali Maharage (Beans and rice cooked the Tanzanian Way).”
Miss Universe Thailand Chalita Suansane: “Tom Yam Khung (Shrimps soup with lemongrass).”
Miss Universe Turkey Tansu Sila Cakir: “Mant?, Baklava, Kebap.”
Miss Universe Ukraine Alena Spodynyuk: “Vareniki (Dumplings) – a dish is most widespread in the Ukrainian cuisine, cooked in a product made from unleavened dough stuffed with minced meat, vegetables, mushrooms, fruit, cheese.”
Miss USA Deshauna Barber: “We are a melting pot of foods, but I love crab legs and any seafood.”
Miss Universe Uruguay Magdalena Cohendet: “Asado.”
Miss Universe US Virgin Islands Carolyn Carter: “I love guava tarts! Guava is one of my favorite fruits and is grown locally in the islands. We have amazing local bakeries that bake fresh guava tarts daily, and I grew up eating them as a sweet treat. Now, I love to pick one up before I travel and take it with me on the plane as a snack!.”
Miss Universe Venezuela Mariam Habach: “Acema Tocuyana is a sweet bread of El Tocuyo.”
What songs do Miss Universe contestants love to listen to? We asked this year’s Miss Universe contestants to tell us their favorite songs! Some told us their favorite song of all time, while others revealed the track they have on repeat right now.
The most interesting thing we learned: Women from complete opposite sides of the world can have the same favorite song! Many contestants told us the same songs or different songs by the same artist.
As you’ll see, songs by Beyoncé, Coldplay, Marc Anthony, Céline Dion and Bruno Mars were popular choices for women from all different corners of the world. Check out some of this year’s Miss Universe contestants’ favorite songs below!
Miss Universe Bulgaria Violina Ancheva: “Halo” – Beyoncé
Miss Universe France Iris Mittenaere: “Run the World (Girls)” – Beyoncé
Miss Universe Great Britain Jaime-Lee Faulkner: “Run the World (Girls)” – Beyoncé
“It depends what mood I am in, but Beyonce’s ‘Run the World (Girls)’ is a song that I have always liked! A real feel good song,” Faulkner said.
Miss Universe Iceland Hildur Leifsdóttir: “I Was Here” – Beyoncé
Miss Universe New Zealand Tania Dawson: “I Was Here” – Beyoncé
Miss Universe Singapore Cheryl Chou: “Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
“Aside from the upbeat tune and the catchy lyrics, the message behind the song is also something that I appreciate,” Chou said. “She tells you to never let the haters get to you, and if they do, just ‘Shake It Off!'”
Miss Universe Guatemala Virginia Argueta: “Vivir Mi Vida” – Marc Anthony
Miss Universe Netherlands Zoey Ivory: “Valio La Pena” – Marc Anthony
Miss Universe Paraguay Andrea Melgarejo: “No Me Ames” – Jennifer López feat. Marc Anthony
Miss Universe Puerto Rico Brenda Jimenez: “Preciosa” – Rafael Hernandez Performed by Marc Anthony
Miss Universe Albania Lindita Idrizi: “Love Me Like You Do” – Ellie Goulding
Miss Universe Hungary Veronika Bódizs: “Love Me Like You Do” – Ellie Goulding
Miss Universe Australia Caris Tiivel: “Let Me Love You” – DJ Snake feat. Justin Bieber
Miss Universe Slovenia Lucija Poto?nik: “Someone Like You” – Adele
Miss Universe Korea Jenny Kim: “Just The Way You Are” – Bruno Mars
Miss Universe Tanzania Jihan Dimachk: “Just The Way You Are” – Bruno Mars
Miss Universe Nigeria Unoaku Anyadike: “Treasure” – Bruno Mars
Miss Universe Czech Republic Andrea Bezdekova: “Dancing On My Own” – Robyn
Miss Universe Malaysia Kiranmeet Kaur Baljeet Singh: “Fix You” – Coldplay
“Music constantly evolves, but this is the one song that I resonate strongly with and will always be a favorite. It did not only comfort me when I was a young girl, grieving the death of my closest uncle, he passed away from leukemia, but it gave me somewhat of a reassurance that I was not alone,” Baljeet Singh said of the Coldplay song. “It’s a beautiful song with so much emotions attached and till today, it leaves me in a state melancholic euphoria every time I listen to it.”
Miss Universe Malta Martha Fenech: “Paradise” – Coldplay
Miss Universe Panama Keity Drennan: “A Sky Full Of Stars” – Coldplay
Miss Universe Poland Izabella Krzan: “Viva La Vida” – Coldplay
Miss Universe Barbados Shannon Harris: “Rise” – Katy Perry
Miss Universe Japan Sari Nakazawa: “My Heart Will Go On” – Céline Dion
Miss Universe Mexico Kristal Silva: “My Heart Will Go On” – Céline Dion
Miss Universe Turkey Tansu Sila Cakir: “My Heart Will Go On” – Céline Dion
Miss Universe Argentina Estefania Bernal: “La Sonrisa” – Nonpalidece
Miss Universe Aruba Charlene Leslie: “Sk8er Boi” – Avril Lavigne
Miss Universe Austria Dajana Dzinic: “I Have Nothing” – Whitney Houston
Miss Universe Bahamas Cherell Williamson: “I Believe I Can Fly” – R. Kelly
Miss Universe Belgium Stephanie Geldhof: “9 Crimes” – Damien Rice
Miss Universe Belize Rebecca Rath: “Beautiful” – Damian Marley Ft. Bobby Brown
“No matter how old the song gets, I still enjoy listening to it,” Rath said.
Miss Universe Jamaica Isabel Dalley: “Affairs Of The Heart” – Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley
Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell: “Imagine” – John Lennon
Miss Universe Cayman Islands Monyque Brooks: “Tiney Winey” – Byron Lee and The Dragonaires
Miss Universe Colombia Andrea Tovar: “Nuqui”- Choquibtown; “Closer” -The Chainsmokers
Miss Universe Denmark Christina Mikkelsen : “Where Is the Love?” – Black Eyed Peas; “No One” – Alicia Keys; “Listen”-Beyoncé ; “Lay Me Down” – Sam Smith, “Losing My Way” – Justin Timberlake
Miss Universe Ecuador Connie Jiménez: “La Niña de Tus Ojos” – Daniel Calveti
Miss Universe Finland Shirly Karvinen: “Moment 4 Life” – Nicki Minaj
Miss Universe Georgia Nuka Karalashvili: “September” – Earth, Wind & Fire
Miss Universe Germany Johanna Acs: “Breathe” – Seeb
Miss Universe Guyana Soyini Fraser: “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” – Patty Smyth feat. Don Henley
Miss Universe Haiti Raquel Pelissier- “Down Under” – Men At Work
Miss Universe Honduras Sirey Moran: “Levántate y Resplandece” – Marcos Barrientos
Miss Universe India Roshmitha Harimurthy: “Gravity” – John Mayer
Miss Universe Indonesia Kezia Warouw: “I Believe I Can Fly” – R. Kelly
Miss Universe Israel Yam Kaspers Anshel: “Riptide” – Vance Joy
Miss Universe Kenya Mary Were: “Beautiful” – Mali Music
Miss Universe Kosovo Camila Barraza : “Llorar Y Llorar” – Vicente Fernandez
Miss Universe Mauritius Kushboo Ramnawaj: “If You’re Not The One” – Daniel Bedingfield
Miss Universe Myanmar Htet Htet Htun: “Let It Go” – Idina Menzel
Miss Universe Namibia Lizelle Esterhuizen: “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile” (2014 Film Version) – Sia
Miss Universe Nicaragua Marina Jacoby: “Caraluna” – Bacilos
Miss Universe Perú Valeria Piazza: “Lemon Tree” – Fool’s Garden
Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina: “Dance With My Father” – Luther Vandross
Miss Universe Romania Teodora Dan: “Blaze of Glory” – Jon Bon Jovi
Miss Universe Sierra Leone Hawa Kamara: “Boogie Down” – Morris (A Sierra Leonean Musician)
Miss Universe South Africa Ntandoyenkosi Kunene: “Gold” – Britt Nicole
It identifies that each and every person is unique in their own right and that you are worth more than gold,” Kunene said about the song.
Miss Universe Spain Noelia Freire: “Every Breath You Take” – The Police
Miss Universe Sri Lanka Jayathi De Silva: “Girl On Fire” – Alicia Keys
Miss Universe Sweden Ida Ovmar: “Next To Me” – Otto Knows
Miss Universe Switzerland Dijana Cvijetic: “Padobran” – Boban Rajovié
Miss Universe Ukraine Alena Spodynyuk: “Beautiful Life” – Lost Frequencies feat. Sandro Cavazza
Miss USA Deshauna Barber: “V.S.O.P.” – K. Michelle
Miss Universe US Virgin Islands Carolyn Carter: “No Letting Go” – Wayne Wonder
Miss Universe Vietnam Le Hang: “Lucky” – Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat
1997 doesn’t sound like it was that along ago, right? Well, it’s now been 20 years since 1997! Welcome to 2017.
We dug deep into the Miss Universe archives to see what the competition was like 20 years ago. Check out some of the highlights below.
The 1997 Miss Universe competition took place in Miami Beach, Florida.
Miss Universe Costa Rica 1997 Gabriela Aguilar, Miss Canada 1997 Carmen Kempt, Miss Mexio 1997 Rebeca Tamez, Miss USA 1997 Brook Lee and Miss Panama 1997 Lia Victoria Borrero were photographed enjoying time on the beach together.
Miss Venezuela 1997 Marena Bencomo, Miss USA 1997 Brook Lee and Miss Trinidad and Tobago 1997 Margot Ria Bourgeois made the top three.
Yes, George Hamilton and Marla Maples were also there. They hosted the competition.
Miss USA 1997 Brooke Lee won Miss Universe.
She became the seventh Miss USA to win Miss Universe.
It’s safe to say she was surprised when her country name was called!
It appears she’s thinking something along the lines of, “OMG!!!”
She posed for photos with the other top two contestants afterwards.
Miss Venezuela 1997 Marena Bencomo was first runner-up and Miss Trinidad and Tobago 1997 Margot Ria Bourgeois was second runner-up.
And here she is the day after her big win!
This outfit definitely says, “It’s 1997.”
How did 20 years fly by so quickly?!