December 12, 2023
MANILA – Michelle Marquez Dee received a warm welcome fit for a queen as thousands of adoring fans trooped to her homecoming parade held weeks after the 2023 Miss Universe pageant.
Throngs of screaming fans, many of whom are carrying photos and banners, occupied the pavement, even extending about a meter beyond it, to catch a glimpse of the Filipino queen who finished in the Top 10 of the global tilt held in El Salvador last month.
Aboard a red Maserati convertible adorned with flowers and Philippine flags, Dee smiled and waved to the crowd, who patiently waited for her motorcade around the SM Mall of Asia complex in Pasay City, the afternoon of Dec. 10.
Dee held both the Philippine flag and the pride flag, and waved them to the air as she acknowledged the adoration showered upon her by Filipinos of all ages, and from all walks of life. The rainbow flag signifies her pursuit for LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and others) welfare as a bisexual woman herself.
The Filipino model, host, and actress is the first Miss Universe Top 10 finisher from the country to have her own homecoming parade. It was moved weeks after the international pageant because she had to fly to Mexico after the contest in El Salvador to promote the 2024 competition.
She also engaged in a media blitz upon her return to the country, and made several appearances as Miss Universe Philippines.
A pre-parade event took place at the mall’s central atrium, where fans engaged in fun activities, and were treated to several video presentations chronicling Dee’s pageant journey.
The day ended in a press conference, also at the central atrium, where she was again greeted by a gathering of thousands of fans and spectators.
Dee’s Top 10 finish resurrected the Philippines’ powerhouse status in the Miss Universe pageant, after her predecessor Celeste Cortesi broke the country’s 12-year placement streak in the global tilt.
She also topped the popular fan vote, led in the voting for national costume, was one of the gold finalists for the “Voice for Change” initiative by Miss Universe crown provider Mouawad with CI Talks, and also received the “Spirit of Carnival” award from Carnival cruises.