MANILA -- Miss Universe Philippines (MUP) national director Shamcey Supsup on Tuesday gave an idea of what viewers can expect from their first national pageant this October 25.
In a virtual interview with ABS-CBN News' Dyan Castillejo, Supsup finally addressed the question that has been in the minds of many pageant fans: "Will the candidates wear face masks and face shields on stage?"
"No," the former beauty queen said. "Well, backstage [they will], of course."
"Every time the girl is not on stage, they have to wear their masks and shields, and they are a meter apart. They are not allowed to talk to each other na malapitan," she continued. "When they go on stage, tatanggalin na nila 'yung mask and shield and we will make sure na may social distancing tayo on stage."
"So apart from testing them to make sure that they are negative [of COVID-19], may another precaution pa to make sure na kung may false negative man or what, at least meron pa rin tayong social distancing."
According to Supsup, only 10 candidates at a time will be going on stage during the finale.
"We'll make sure only 10 girls will be there at one time, in one place. So talagang bina-batch-batch namin sila," she said.
Prior to going to the MUP "bubble" at the Baguio Country Club, the candidates from different parts of the country had to make a first stop in Manila and get tested for COVID-19.
Those whose results were negative were brought to Baguio, and were tested every five days.
"That's how stringent our health protocols are," Supsup said. "Of course, our top priority pa rin would be the health of everybody who is part of Miss Universe Philippines."
'SYMBOLISM FOR EVERYTHING'
Supsup proudly shared that the MUP finale will be uniquely Filipino, saying that there is a "symbolism for everything" about the pageant.
"We made sure that we incorporated the Filipino identity in our show. From the opening to the background, and the lighting," she said.
"Of course, the girls are going to showcase the Filipino designers for their evening gowns, and our official swimsuit provider is Furne," she added, referring to Dubai-based Filipino designer Furne One.
Asked to give details about the swimsuit design, Supsup hinted: "It's not the normal swimsuit that you usually see in pageants... It's very classy, that I can say. Kasi ayoko rin ng masyadong revealing na swimsuits."
She continued: "There's symbolism for everything, even for the swimsuits -- kung bakit ganoon 'yung design, ano ang inspiration behind that, the crown, even the opening song. So parang lahat talaga, we tried to really showcase the beauty of the Philippines."
Meanwhile, Supsup said the candidates will be given a chance to speak on stage three times during the finale.
They took a cue from last year's Miss Universe pageant, which placed value on a candidate's communication skills.
TRAINING FOR MISS U
Supsup admitted that it has been a "challenging year" for them to mount their first MUP pageant, citing the pandemic.
She said the candidates had to make major adjustments, such as doing their own hair and makeup, as they had to limit the number of people inside their "bubble."
"They are alone," said Supsup, noting that the candidates' hair and makeup training came in handy. "But even though wala silang sariling mga hairstylists and makeup artists here in Baguio... May Zoom naman."
She went on to point out that the limitations brought about the pandemic is "good training" for the candidates as the Philippines's representative will be on her own during Miss Universe.
"You really have to do your own hair and makeup [in Miss Universe]," said Supsup, who finished third runner-up in Miss Universe 2011. "It's good training for them na rin. In international pageants, ganoon 'yung gagawin nila."