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Miss Universe pageant in Manila (1974)

Miss Universe, Inc.

1974

Miss Universe pageant in Manila (1974)

Miss Universe, Inc.

In 1974, the Miss Universe competition was held for the first time in Asia. It was among a series of high-profile international events that allowed the Marcos administration to project an image of modernity and prosperity to the globe.

The Miss Universe stage displayed a mix of military might and multicultural color. Candidates were accompanied by honor guards from the Philippine Military Academy, as well as usherettes dressed in a white terno and sporting an Imeldific bouffant. The Bayanihan Dance Company danced the singkil, Pangkat Kawayan played an angklung medley, and the candidates sang the Ilocano folk song “Pamulinawen” (which also played in the end credits). The swimsuit competition was held at the Nayong Pilipino theme park. As part of the program’s intermissions, co-host Helen O’Connell told of how the Folk Arts Theater was completed in 70 days, and was inaugurated with a massive parade called “Kasaysayan ng Lahi (History of the Race)” before finally opening with the pageant on 21 July 1974. Spain’s Amparo Muñoz clinched the crown, and was granted use of a vacation beach house with a complete staff for the duration of her reign by the Philippine government. Mrs Marcos also gifted her a sculpture of Maria Clara made of 3,700 local shells.

1973 Miss Universe Margarita Moran went on to marry Tonyboy Floirendo. She has since been active in the cultural scene, most notably as president of CCP resident company Ballet Philippines, and as current chair of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. “I would otherwise never have reached the heights I was catapulted to had I not first become Miss Universe,” wrote Moran. “I have other roles now, but that one, the golden year of 1973, surely carved the path for the subsequent years that were to come, in various capacities, in service to my country and society in general.”

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Miss Universe, Inc., “Miss Universe 1974 – Full Show,” uploaded by tttpageant. YouTube video, 1:47:53, February 17, 2013

Ascending the Fourth Mountain: A Personal Account of the Marcos Years

Maria Virginia Y. Morales

2021

Ascending the Fourth Mountain: A Personal Account of the Marcos Years

Maria Virginia Y. Morales

A deeply moving and personal book by Virginia Morales who dedicated her life to the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship and to political and social change in the Philippines. Morales’s memoir chronicles her childhood and genealogy through her early life in Mindanao, to her move to Manila for college and the ups and downs of her political marriage. This book deftly links the personal and the political as the author herself writes, “I have learned that unless we see our lives against the backdrop of history, our own remains puny, dull, and insignificant. It is only against the backdrop of history that we understand the context of our lives and the period in which we lived.”

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Morales, Maria Virginia Y., Ascending the Fourth Mountain: A Personal Account of the Marcos Years, Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2021.