Binibining Pilipinas 2023 candidates celebrate Filipino heritage with their National Costumes

From diwata-inspired garbs to festive ensembles, the local beauty pageant gives a glimpse of this year’s National Costume show with its photo exhibit.

The National Costume showcase is one of the many aspects of beauty pageants that celebrates culture. It is where design talents meet heritage, where candidates get the full freedom in telling the stories of their hometown with the help of their creative team. A testament to that is Binibining Pilipinas 2023’s National Costume photo exhibit. Located at the Gateway Mall Activity Area, the display features this year’s 40 hopefuls wearing over-the-top garbs that put the spotlight on the diverse Filipino culture. It gives everyone a glimpse of what’s to come at its National Costume show, which is set to happen on May 18 at The New Frontier Theater.

In no particular order, here are some of the looks we are excited to see in full motion on the stage.

Bb. 10 Rasha Cortez Al Enzi and Bb. 7 Allhia Estores (Photos by Raymond Saldana and Owen Reyes)

Bb. 10 Rasha Cortez Al Enzi (Urdaneta, Pangasinan)

Designer Er Stephen Alvarado captures two of the iconic symbols of Pangasinan for Rasha’s costume—the bangus and salt. The look pays homage to the province’s marine wonders and fishery industry.

Bb. 7 Allhia Estores (Parañaque)

If there’s a quick, and delectable, way one can learn about the heritage of the Philippines, it is through food. That is what Allhia is serving with her costume by Erjohn Dela Serna. Looking like a Karinderia queen, she pays tribute to turo-turo and eatery culture and the women that lead them. 

Bb. 30 Charismae Almarez (Photo by Raymond Saldana and Owen Reyes)  and Bb. 34 Joy Dacoron (Photo from @joydacoronbb34/Instagram)

Bb. 30 Charismae Almarez (General Luna, Quezon)

Charismae’s costume is all about patriotism, bravery, and independence. The look crafted by Roy Aquino is a nod to General Antonio Luna, to whom her town is named after. 

Bb. 34 Joy Dacoron (Cebu Province)

It is the Child Jesus that inspired Joy’s costume. The Santo Niño look, designed with pride and deep respect by Chino Ledesma Christopherson, “symbolizes unwavering faith and pays tribute to our province’s patron.” 

Bb. 26 Rheema Adakkoden (Photo by @_domcruz_/Instagram) and Bb. 23 Zoe Bernardo Santiago (Photo by Raymond Saldana and Owen Reyes)

Bb. 26 Rheema Adakkoden (Camarines Sur)

To stick with the “gandang Filipina” look, that’s the goal of Rheema with her costume. To do that, she and her designer Justine Navato looked at the masterpieces of National Artist Fernando Amorsolo. The result is a look that celebrates the Filipina vendors. 

Bb. 23 Zoe Bernardo Santiago (Manila)

Zoe presents all of the iconic symbols of Manila with her silver costume designed by Kelvin Bartolaba. Dubbed “PASADArela,” it features a jeepney-inspired breastplate and armpieces that pay homage to the Jones Bridge.

Bb. 16 Atasha Reign Parani and Bb. 12 Xena Ramos

Bb. 16 Atasha Reign Parani (General Trias, Cavite)

Atasha becomes Prinsepe Juan from the “Ibong Adarna” tale. The costume features her riding the mythical bird with feathers made of eco-bags.

Bb. 12 Xena Ramos (Santolan, Pasig)

Xena brings the festive Pakalog Festival of Santolan, Pasig to Binibining Pilipinas’ stage. Celebrated on New Year’s Eve, the festival is known for its “iconic lechon shared boodle-style” spread and all sorts of merry-making. Her all-white terno costume designed by Jomar Peralta and Richter Masangkay features shell fringes that will create sound as she moves. 

Bb. 3 Lyra Punsalan and Bb. 24 Anna Valencia Lakrini (Photos by Raymond Saldana and Owen Reyes)

Bb. 3 Lyra Punsalan (Pampanga)

Channeling the Kapampangan goddess of dawn, Múnag Sumálâ, is Lyra with her costume crafted by Mak Tumang. In Filipino myth, Múnag Sumálâ herself was said to be a “golden serpent,” which is mirrored by her gilded body suit and snake accessory.

Bb. 24 Anna Valencia Lakrini (Bataan)

A symbol of hope and courage, alitaptap or fireflies served as the inspiration for Anna’s costume by Axel Que. According to the Filipina beauty, the costume reminds her “of the unbreakable spirit of the Bataeños, who have weathered countless storms but still glimmer like the fireflies.”

Bb. 2 Elaiza Dee Alzona and Bb. 21 Paola Allison Araño (Photos by Raymond Saldana and Owen Reyes)

Bb. 2 Elaiza Dee Alzona (Zambales)

Elaiza is set to bring the beauty of the Masinloc Church of Zambales to the Binibining Pilipinas stage. Her costume by Randy Linic presents Baroque and neoclassical elements of the awe-inspiring structure.

Bb. 21 Paola Allison Araño (Batangas)

Another nod to Philippine literature is Paola’s costume. Designed by Patrick Isorena and Paolo Blanco, it features the cover of the “Noli Me Tangere” novel, red ribbons and roses, and a pen, depicting themes of justice, freedom, and hope. 

Bb. 35 Sofia Lopez Galve and Bb. 22 Anje Mae Manipol (Photos by Raymond Saldana and Owen Reyes)

Bb. 35 Sofia Lopez Galve (Province of Rizal)

Sofia’s costume is all about the SuMaKah (Suman, Mangga, Kasuy, and Hamaka) festival. Another Patrick Isorena creation, it presents the “city’s primary source of livelihood and economic prosperity” and “the diligent and hardworking nature of Rizaleños.”

Bb. 22 Anje Mae Manipol (Quezon Province)

Designer John Robert Bombani creates a grand costume for Quezon Province’s Anje. The look features the famous welcome arc of Tiaong, Quezon, the colorful Pahiyas Kiping, and the Baroque design of the Minor Basilica de San Miguel Archangel.

Bb. 29 Trisha Martinez and Bb. 14 Jeanne Isabelle Bilasano (Photos by Raymond Saldana and Owen Reyes)

Bb. 29 Trisha Martinez (Laguna)

Maria Makiling has been a perennial muse in the local pageant scene. This time, the famous deity is reimagined by designer Louis Pangilinan. Trisha dons a gold costume decorated with different flora and fauna elements and lights.

Bb. 14 Jeanne Isabelle Bilasano (Albay)

Wrapping this list is another terno creation. Jeanne presents her take on the traditional piece with her costume designed by SDArtistree, featuring hand-woven abaca, indigenous fabric, handmade flowers, pearls embellishments, and appliques.

The grand coronation night of the 59th Binibining Pilipinas is set to take place on May 28 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

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