Miss Universe candidates showcase dresses by PH fashion designers, auction 'national gifts'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Miss Universe candidates took part in a fashion show that accompanied the auction of "national gifts" they each brought from their home countries.

The fashion show featured the works of 86 Filipino designers that dressed up the 85 candidates present, as Miss Jamaica Isabel Dalley was not feeling well.

Filipino designers that took part in the show include Rajo Laurel, Cary Santiago, Francis Libiran, and Odelon Simpao, who designed for Philippine candidate Maxine Medina.

Following the fashion show is the auction of ten pre-selected national gifts from the candidates.

It has been a Miss Universe tradition for each contestant to bring a gift that represents her country.

Among the national gifts were a basketball signed by former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, a traditional Russian headdress, and a Baltic amber pendant plated with 24-karat gold.

There was also a portrait of former South African President Nelson Mandela, with a piece of the original fence from the Robben Island Prison, where he spent 18 years of his life due to apartheid.

The rest of the national gifts brought by the candidates were auctioned off silently.

The auction earned ₱850,000 in total proceeds, which will go to Positive Action Foundation Philippines Incorporated, a charity that focuses on alleviating HIV and AIDS in the country, providing medical treatment for patients.

HIV and AIDS are among the primary advocacies of reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach.

At the tail end of the event, nine outstanding Filipino women were also recognized for their contribution to the betterment of the country.

These include celebrity doctor Vicky Belo, Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, and distinguished chef Margarita Fores.