The answer to the question is: yes, but it’s complicated.
Bohol has earned a sterling reputation as a premier international events destination. The reputation has been formed following the successful hosting of not just one but four Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meetings here.
Mounting a huge attraction like hosting a Miss Universe event is something Bohol can do—with all the experience the province gained from hosting the ASEAN summits—the province is more than qualified.
However, hosting a Miss Universe event can be quite complicated too.
A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Bohol could host any of the minor competitions ancillary to the Miss Universe competitions.
The source said Bohol does have the capability and the facilities to host some of the Miss Universe side competitions.
The tricky part is hosting the pageant night itself, said the source.
Bohol lacks a convention center, which is necessary to host the final pageant night.
When the Philippines hosted the Miss Universe final pageant night back in 2016, the venue was the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena with a seating capacity of 18,000 people. A huge arena is something Bohol doesn’t have at the moment. That is where the complication comes in.
Without a huge venue, it would be difficult to mount the pageant night. Even without the pageant night, Bohol still can have the ladies in another competition showcasing their beauty to the Boholanos and the greater Filipino public.
LACKING A BIG VENUE
The issue of having a convention center or an “astrodome” has been a contentious one. Planning for such a venue should be thorough and well laid out. A big venue should be managed well, by whoever will manage the facility, to prevent falling into disrepair.
Gov. Edgar Chatto in a recent meet with the press said the province is looking to build a convention center, but the planning shouldbe detailed.
The ownership is another issue that needs to be threshed out, said the Governor. The issue is torn between whether the government or the private sector be the one spending and operating for such convention center.
The government has a spotty record when it comes to managing convention centers; a huge example is the fate of the Cebu International Convention Center, which has been reduced to tatters after the 2013 earthquake and no longer fit as a venue.
Chatto said he wants to have a convention center that is sustainable and be able to draw lots of activities to keep its viability.
For his part, Mayor John Geesnell “Baba” Yap has been longing for an “astrodome” to be built as a way to draw more sporting events to be staged here.
The recent boxing match between Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo and Shota Hayashi had to be staged in the Bohol Wisdom Gym, which is a quite intimate venue.
If only Tagbilaran has a huge venue, more Boholanos will be able to witness Magsayo’s brilliance on top of the squared circle as he demolished his Japanese foe.
Having no huge multi-purpose venue also prevents Boholanos from attracting Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to stage some of their regular season games here.
Far-flung Tubod, Lanao del Norte has been a regular venue for PBA games since it has a National Basketball Association (NBA)-standard basketball court, which the people there are proud of.
However, Yap said the city’s resources are focused on key infrastructure and peace and order efforts.
While having an “astrodome” remains a pipe dream, it is something Yap will be pursuing in the future, of course, with all the resources cooperating for such purpose.
MISS UNIVERSE VISIT
Miss Universe beauties headed by 2017 winner Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa and 2016 winner Iris Mittenaere of France joined 13 other beauties in touring various places in the country.
The beauties were given places to visit, which included Bohol. Other beauties toured Batanes and Camiguin, said Department of Tourism (DOT) regional director Jushur Judd Lanete II.
Miss Universe Russia 2017 Ksenia Alexandrova, Miss Universe Philippines 2017 Rachel Peters, and Miss Universe Malaysia Samantha James arrived in Bohol on Friday morning, and were welcomed at the People’s Mansion by Bohol officials led by Bohol vice-governor Benjie Arcamo, Bohol’s first lady Balilihan Mayor Pureza Veloso-Chatto, Provincial Administrator Alfonso “Ae” Damalerio II, and lawyer John Mitchel Boiser representing in behalf of Gov. Edgar M. Chatto.
Lanete facilitated the brief Bohol tour for the three stunning ladies.
DOT Secretary Wanda Teo said since the country begged off from the hosting of another Miss Universe pageant which was held last November, the organization behind the pageant asked whether the reigning queen and other beauties can tour the Philippines.
The experience of the Miss Universe 2016 candidates in touring the country was wonderful.
The beauties converged in Manila last night for a fashion show at the Sofitel Hotel.
Teo said the visit of the beauties hopefullywould drive more tourists,especially from winter-clad nations to visit and explore the country during the holiday season.
For his part, Lanete said the ladies wanted to stay a little longer. He said the women wanted to skip their flight to have some more time here in Bohol.
The regional director in an interview with The Bohol Tribune said the provincial government of Bohol has been cooperative in helping the DOT bring the girls to Bohol.
The DOT will be putting all the stops if ever any of the beauties wish to visit the islands anew.
Lanete said the provincial government could help sponsor the re-visit of any of the Miss Universe beauties in the future.
A member of the Bohol Tourism Office who acted the tour guide of the girls said the guests were awed by the lack of traffic and the gracious hospitality of the people they met during their brief stay.
MISS RUSSIA ENCOUNTER
If there is one beauty the Bohol media raved about, she is Miss Russia. She could well be the de facto, “darling of the press.”
Miss Russia was agame and very accommodating to the media who covered the half-day event.
Miss Russia said it’s her first time to visit Asia, and thankful that her first time is in the Philippines.
She had a lot of fun and looked forward to visiting and tour the different islands next time.
With her country enveloped by inches of snow, she said she would recommend going to the Philippines to have some sun and to experience the beach.
She and Miss Malaysia had lots of fun as both explored the white-sand beach of Panglao, which has become a world-class tourist attraction.
Miss Russia said “spasibovam” as she expressed thanks to the people who had been friendly and hospitable to her. (Dave S. Albarado)