Updated Dec 15, 2018, 8:46:00 AM
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 14) — It was the twirl that launched a thousand tweets.
Catriona Gray, the country's bet for the Miss Universe 2018 pageant, slayed once again during the swimsuit competition. This time all it took for her to get the world's attention was to turn.
Candidates walked down the runway in swimsuits, but Gray stood out because of a slow-motion turn that had netizens buzzing.
"Catriona Gray was the first ever contestant to do live slow mo in Miss Universe," one Twitter user said.
The preliminary competition featured contestants in their swimsuits and evening gowns and was shown live via the Miss Universe website and on YouTube.
Praise for Gray wasn't just limited to Filipinos, foreign beauty pageant aficionados were just as awed.
One Indonesian fan said after watching the preliminary round, Gray seemed to be the candidate who most deserved to win the crown.
Twitter also lit up for Gray.
But the moments didn't end there. Fans were just as effusive as Gray walked down wearing her evening gown which featured orange feather details.
Mak Tumang, the gown's designer, said he was inspired by the Ibong Adarna which he described as a creature of breathtaking beauty.
"The 'Ibong Adarna' is a mythological pulchritudinous bird that could change in several fascinating guises. Its enchanting voice can enable complete healing to anyone who hears it. Some artists liken it to the mythological Phoenix where it recurrently regenerates itself by arising amidst a spectacle of flames and candescence," Tumang said on social media while posting a photo showing the details of Gray's gown.
He added both the Ibong Adarna and the phoenix were apt representations of Gray as she has a "resilient, tenacious, and unwavering spirit" and a beautiful voice.