MANILA, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Miss Universe pageant will push through in Manila as scheduled on January 30, the Philippine Department of Tourism confirmed Wednesday.
"I'd like to assure you that Miss Universe will be here (in Manila) on Jan. 30," Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo told a television interview, dispelling rumors that the pageant will no longer be held in the Philippines.
Teo said candidates from all over the world are expected to arrive in Manila starting Jan. 13, to compete in the precontests leading to the coronation night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
President Rodrigo Duterte has earlier said that he wanted to confine all activities in one place like Metro Manila.
But Tourism Undersecretary Kat de Castro said the tourism department is also looking at bringing the contestants to different provinces to showcase key tourism destinations in this archipelagic country.
"We're trying to tour them everywhere as much as we can," she said.
However, she said that "the center of it all will definitely be Metro Manila because that's where the final show will be."
She said the pageant organizers are looking at holding some of the pre-pageant activities in Cebu, Palawan, Davao, Siargao and Legazpi in the Bicol region.
The reigning Miss Universe (2015) is Pia Wurtzbach, from the Philippines.