This year's National Costume segment of the Miss Universe Philippines pageant was certainly one for the books! The theme meant for this year’s presentation was habi, or weaving in Tagalog, with each finalist's costume needing to be comprised of at least 30% Philippine textiles or weaving.
"The Philippine textile industry is an integral part of our uniquely beautiful history. It represents the rich stories and craftsmanship of different tribes and communities throughout the archipelago. It is part of the fabric of our national identity," the Miss Universe Philippines organization explained.
With the streets of Calle Crisologo in Vigan as their runway, the 32 candidates floated down the cobblestones in opulent ensembles fit for the queens that they are. Mermaid-cut gowns were a favorite style this year, with Ivylou Borbon and Dorthy Gemillan seen sporting these fitted frocks. Naturally, a terno’s oversized and embellished butterfly sleeves made an appearance in this year's costumes as seen on the likes of Anjeanette Vapor and Alyssa Felix. Finally, a national costume presentation wouldn’t be complete without elaborate headpieces like Sonja Tanyag and Annabelle McDonnells' intricate toppers.
It’s clear as day that these beautiful women who strutted their stuff gave their all to display the beauty of Filipino artistry through their costumes. And while all these pageant queens looked absolutely stunning, 15 girls stood out to us the most during the presentation.
In no particular order, here are the 15 most jaw-dropping national costumes from Miss Universe Philippines 2022:
1. Alyssa Georgia Felix, Pampanga
Pampanga’s delegate had a story to tell with her national costume named “Karo” designed by Rowell Panlilio. In the town of Macabebe, history, faith, and livelihood intertwine and are paid homage to through Alyssa’s elaborate mermaid-cut gown that features wood elements and intricate gold details. Her costume was made even more touching knowing that it weighed more than 10 pounds, which Alyssa explains was a symbol of the bayanihan spirit shared by all Kapampangans.
2. Angelica Lopez, Palawan
Featuring intricate beadwork in tones of green and gold by Edwin Uy, this gorgeous two-piece costume on Angelica Lopez was dripping in grandeur. What really made it a look to remember during the presentation was the gorgeous floor-grazing cape, which had a lush nature backdrop painted on its surface.
3. Anjeanette Japor, Lucena
Made by designer Moda Ivanka, Lucena’s costume was inspired by the striking three-headed eagle! Anjeanette’s headpiece and terno sleeves all have the face of our national bird while the rest of her costume featured golden feather decals to stay in line with the eagle motif. The front of her dress broke up all the gold and featured intricate multicolor beadwork.
4. Chantal Schmidt, Cebu City
Spectacular was the first word to come to mind when Chantal graced our screens in this ostentatious black and white costume. Made by designer Axel Que, the effort poured into this heavily embellished creation made it no joke to walk in. But Chantal's effort was all worth it, as the “Pearl of the Orient Seas” as the creation is called perfectly encapsulated the beauty and bounty of the Philippine oceans.
5. Dorothy Gemillan, Iloilo City
Miss Iloilo lit up her path with this lavish costume created by head designer Tata-Blas Pinuela. Taking inspiration from Our Lady of Candles in the roman-esque Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral in Iloilo City, this costume named the “Iloy Candelaria” was a true shining star during the national costume presentation with its attached candles and ornate headpiece. Of course, Dorothy personified as the Lady of Candles wouldn’t be complete without a baby Jesus on her arm.
6. Elsa Schumacher, Batanes
Another creation by Edwin Uy for the national costume presentation was Batanes representative Elsa’s indigenous-inspired look! Her costume features beadwork all over the hand-woven textiles and layers of chunky beaded necklaces adorning her neck. But what captivated the viewer's eyes the most about her costume was her ostentatious headpiece with hanging round details that hung on her back.
7. Isabel Dalag Luche, Mandaue
Mandaue’s Isabel Luche was a feathery look consisting of life-sized chicken dolls which she carried and had attached to the top of her oversized hat. This contemporary chicken look by Mark Barry Luche is a nod to sabong or cockfighting, a popular pasttime in the country. To incorporate some glamour into the design, they opted for a green figure-hugging gown with a half-skirt that exposes a leg covered in an ethnic print.
8. Celeste Cortesi
Crowd-favorite Celeste Cortesi didn’t fail to stun with her chic national costume made by John Carlo Pagunaling. Her purple beaded top can honestly be worn outside this presentation, but here she teamed it with a matching pair of pants. Instead of just leaving it at that, her indigenous pattered look also had a floor-grazing skirt attachment that floated behind her as well as a purple turban in a lively print.
9. Ivylou Borbon, Pangasinan
Ivylou transformed into an iridescent butterfly in a stunning creation by Glenn Gonzales and Milton Salinas they named "Kum Papey," which translates to butterfly for Pangasinan natives. This dress was done justice by Ivylou as she spread her delicate wings to take flight during the segment. Colorful patches were sewn onto piña silk to signify the creatures' colorful wings. To us, the ensembled beautifully embodied the spirit of Pangasinenses and how they can emerge beautifully no matter what happens, just like a butterfly.
10. Michelle Dee, Makati
Michelle’s ethereal monochromatic national costume was a modern rendition of a Maria Clara by designer Francis Libiran! This dreamy neutral look with bejeweled embroidery was made purely of Philippine textiles such as abaca and piña to depict a Filipina's understated yet elegant beauty, which is exactly Michelle!
11. Julia Saubier, Albay
The Bicolana Goddess of the Moon named Haliya was said to be a fierce and strong protector. She also symbolizes the inherent feminine strength within all women. Hence, it's no coincidence that Julia paid homage to the goddess through this splendid moonlight blue costume by Erjohn Bela Serna that he named "Hulya". Ifugao, Mountain province, and Tinalak weave were used to create this costume and its bow and arrow, while Julia’s hat features a handpainted Mayon volcano.
12. Lou Domonique Piczon, Cebu Province
The Banig Festival Queen is here, and her name is Lou Piczon! Clad in a flamboyant modern Filipiniana made of 95% banig, this trusty weave has been a hand woven art form for generations and remains a common source of livelihood by the local women of Cebu. Designer Danny Booc added to her regalia embellished wooden beads, ropes of abaca, and rhinestones. Not one to shy away from surprises, Lou’s look also included a fan-shaped back detail depicting the magnificence of her province!
13. Annabelle McDonnell, Misamis Oriental
Annabelle’s national costume look is nothing short of breathtaking! Made by designer Jermaine V. Nabong, it was inspired by kuyamis, a variety of coconut trees that bears golden-colored fruits that the name Misamis Oriental was derived from. Her gown was made out of hinabol, which is a native woven fabric of the Higaonons. Besides that, the beads and accessories that adorned the dress all over were made out of coconuts!
14. Sonja Jeyn Tanyag, Laguna
Donning a Chico Estiva creation, Miss Laguna’s opulent costume consists of pink regalia with crystal embellishments and a wing-like purple cape made of the most delicate-looking fabric. Just like her predecessor Leren Mae Bautista, Sonja’s look also features an ornate gold headpiece in the shape of leaves to represent her hometown.
15. Katrina Llegada, Taguig
Last but definitely not the least is Taguig’s Katrina Llegado! A fiery ensemble made entirely out of dried water lilies, this design was thanks to Pablo Mendez III in collaboration with the Taguig Waterlily Livelihood Center. It’s a gorgeous baro’t-saya decorated with teal beadwork that makes for such a unique contrast to the overall orange color.
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