Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — All 86 contestants of the 65th Miss Universe pageant gathered together last Monday at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City in a gala called the Governor’s Ball, as the Jan. 30 pageant draws nearer. The gala, which was also attended by several officials from local and international governments, was an opportunity for attendees to rub elbows with the beauty candidates in a special black-tie dinner.
Among those in attendance were Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, and officials from the Miss Universe Organization (MUO). Current Miss Universe titleholder Pia Wurtzbach was seen arriving with MUO president Paula M. Shugart and Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson of LCS Group, the official host of the pageant and therefore the Ball’s namesake. The event was hosted by international supermodel Joey Mead.
The Governor’s Ball also served as a private fundraiser, bringing together the pageant’s staunchest supporters to raise awareness for Pass It Forward, a philanthropic outfit affiliated with Singson which acts as a bridge between givers (individuals, corporations, and foundations) and receivers of charity. The cause is in line with MUO’s global advocacy against HIV/AIDS, and also serves to encourage the pageant’s winners and host countries to support their chosen charities.