Miss Universe Philippines 2020 candidates in their national costumes

Published October 24, 2020, 11:32 AM

by John Legaspi

“I look forward to a pageant in which fashion will be one of the things that will be given importance. Not only the creations but the creator themselves,” Design Council head of Miss Universe Philippines Albert Andrada tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “The MUP will serve as a platform wherein Filipinos can showcase their creativity in the local and international scene.”

So far, the Miss Universe Philippines pageant is proving to be one of the most stylish live events of the year. Filipino designers are bringing their A game from the swimsuits (created by international designer Furne One) down to the evening dresses. And this year’s National Costume showcase puts local designers and artisans right at the center of the culture spotlight.

From modern ternos to conceptual couture pieces, here are some of the best looks of the pageant’s most avant-garde segment.

MANDAUE CITY: Lou Dominique Piczon

Taking home the Best National Costume Award is Danny Booc with his The Bibingka Vendor piece. Made out of rattan, rafia fiber, abaca ropes, and dried anahaw leaves, the costume presents intricate weaved designs made quirky with a basket of the famous native rice cake. 

Photo from Danny Booc Facebook page

CEBU CITY: Tracy Maureen Perez

It is all about beautiful transformations for Axel Que, which is why his Mariposa is an homage to the great Cebuano lepidopterist and artist Julian Jumalon.

Photo by Jon Unson

QUEZON CITY: Michele Gumabao

Being the epicenter of the Philippine entertainment industry, it is just right for Jaggy Glarino’s creation to be as stellar as the city it represents. It has elements of vaudeville and local television heritage, creating a silhouette inspired by Filipino heroine Darna.

Photo by Charvin Greig Tome

PASAY: Zandra Nicole Sta. Maria

Designer Mara Chua pays homage to the modern heroes this time of pandemic with her frontliner-inspired costume. The Mangagamot takes an interesting aesthetic as it merges Hispanic style with BDSM and slasher elements to depict strength, power, and liberation.

Photo by Mj Suayan

MARINDUQUE: Maria Lianina Macalino

Omar Sali’s design features the Filipino feast favorite lechon. Dubbed as Lechon ni Ineng, the costume symbolizes women’s burning passion in realizing their desires, and also showcases Marinduque’s native black pig roasting custom.

Photo by Ahleks Fusilero

DAVAO CITY: Alaiza Malinao

Alaiza honors her hometown’s indigenous group by wearing Dabawenya, designed Bagobo Tagabawa artisan Bae Arlyne Salazar.

Photo from NiñOFRANCO/Instagram

RIZAL: Erika Evangelista

Erika’s costume is inspired by Regina Reica, the biggest image of the Virgin Mary in Southeast Asia, with handpainted murals by artists Padilla Vincent, Orville TiamsonLyra Lacanaria, and Julia Baluyut. Completing the look is a crown and rosary made out of copper wires and pearls.

Photo by Paul Gino

ANTIQUE: Joecel Marie Robenta

Ruffy Itaas dresses Joecel as an Antiqueña warrior queen in this costume inspired by Antique’s Binirayan Festival. 

Photo from Ruffy Itaas Facebook page

BULACAN: Daniella Louise Loya

Designed by Louis Pangilinan, La Bulakeña presents a Spanish style terno made with the help of the craftsmen of Hangonoy, Bulacan.

Photo from Tito Norman Facebook page

LA UNION: Trizha Bartolome Ocampo

Designer Raj Calogne is inspired by La Union’s prime surfing spots and created a terno mimicing a sunset above a mosaic of sea waves.

BOHOL: Pauline Amelinckx

Mikee Andrei and Noel Bompat Estopito’s Puwa (which means red) terno represents Bohol’s Sandugo Festival with a skirt that resembles the famous Chocolate Hills.

Photo by Rap Yu