PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, December 20, met with newly-crowned Miss Universe Catriona Gray at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
Gray, 24, paid a courtesy call on Duterte before flying to New York City on Thursday night to begin her reign as Miss Universe.
In one of the photos from Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Duterte was seen having a talk with Gray in a private room.
The photo also showed the Filipino-Australian beauty queen receiving a bouquet of flowers from the President.
The two then posed for a photo.
Panelo, in a text message, said Duterte thanked Gray for bringing pride to the country when she won the Miss Universe crown.
Gray arrived in Manila on Wednesday, December 19, after former Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson arranged her return to the country from Thailand, where she was crowned as Miss Universe.
"The courtesy call started at 6:20 p.m. [It's] still ongoing. They (Duterte and Gray) are just exchanging pleasantries. He thanked her for bringing the crown. He said everybody is euphoric about her win," the Palace official said.
Gray bested 93 Miss Universe 2018 candidates from different countries to succeed Demi Leigh Nel-Peters from South Africa.
Gray is the fourth Miss Universe title holder from the Philippines after Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973), and Pia Wurtzbach (2015). (SunStar Philippines)