THE 86 candidates of the 2016 Miss Universe pageant showed off three different sides of themselves during the preliminary competition. At one point they were sizzling hot in their bikinis. They were the epitome of glamor in another as they sashayed in their evening gowns. Then they showed off their fun and cultural side when they donned their national costumes, which could be described as colorful, tribal and sometimes bizarre.

Some of the national costumes were reminiscent of the recently concluded Sinulog Grand Parade—the color, the feathers and the cultural undertone.

The candidates walked the stage of the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City last Thursday night for the preliminary competition hosted by reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach and actor Derek Ramsay.

The competition started with the swimsuit. The ladies donned two-piece bikinis by Italian brand Yamamay. Last Jan. 17, the 86 candidates were in Cebu to show off their bikini bodies in one-piece swimsuits also created by Yamamay.

Miss Philippines Maxine Medina, of course, had the homecourt advantage. She was loudly cheered by the audience as she walked in her green and white bikini.

She was also radiant in green as she strutted down the stage wearing an emerald gown designed by Rhett Eala.

For the national costume, Medina wore a Mindanao-inspired shimmering gold gown with green and purple accents. She also had on an intricate south sea pearl headdress.

Medina certainly wows the crowd whenever she walks. But it’s when she opens her mouth that’s the problem. The model and interior designer already faced a lot of criticism for her less-than-stellar English-speaking ability. Often, when answering in English, she also fails to convey a direct point.

But it wasn’t her grammar that got netizens tweeting Thursday night; it was her fact. One of the activities of the Miss Universe pageant was a fashion show in Vigan where some of the candidates donned the terno.

A video clip of the activity was shared to the audience. At one point, Medina shared her knowledge about the official Filipino dress for women wherein she said that it was invented by former first lady Imelda Marcos. And she said it was called terno because it was a one-piece.

The netizens called her out on it. After all, the terno already made the history books even before Marcos was born. But Marcos did revamp the look when she was first lady in the 1970s.

The preliminary competition will determine the candidates that will advance to the top 12 of the competition. A person’s vote will also help a contestant land in the top 12.

There are four ways to vote: the Miss U app, the website:, Twitter and the Vodi app.

According to the Miss Universe website: “Only votes that comply with the instructions and the Voting Rules and Procedures will be counted. You shall not use any third party services to vote on your behalf. The contestant with the highest number of votes as determined by Administrators during the Voting Period will receive a guaranteed spot in the Top 12.”