By Franco Regala
MEXICO, Pampanga – Mak Tumang, the Kapampangan designer who made Catriona Gray’s stunning gowns, described his Miss Universe journey as “painstaking but fulfilling.”
In his first appearance before local media, Tumang said the gowns worn by Gray in the pageant night held in Bangkok, Thailand were meticulously pieced together to make the Philippine representative shine in the eyes of the universe.
Gray credited Tumang for his creations of the iconic Ibong Adarna-inspired, and the fiery red “Mayon” gowns that she wore on December 17 at the IMPACT Arena, Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi Province, Thailand.
“Since March 2018, we have been conducting research on how to perfectly execute the designs of the dress, and the hand-placing of hundreds of multi-colored stones to complete patterns was very much painstaking but all worth it because our ‘sese’ (adopted daughter) took home the crown,” Tumang told reporters.
He added that his relationship with the beauty queen went back to her campaign in the Miss World 2016 pageant.
Tumang said he also dressed Gray during her latest Binibining Pilipinas stint where she was eventually crowned Miss Philippines-Universe to represent the country in the prestigious competition.
The designer, meanwhile, thanked his fellowmen for acknowledging his role in Gray’s journey, and for sharing their proud moments as “kabalens” through him.
He urged aspiring designers to “put their passion on what they do, and always do their best.”
The Kapampangan designer returned to his hometown in Barangay San Antonio here, Thursday, December 20.