Outrageous, outlandish, ostentatious display of artistry at the Bb. Pilipinas 2023 national costume competition
MANILA, Philippines—Local designers evidently had a field day when they were commissioned to dress up the candidates of this year’s Binibining Pilipinas pageant. The recent national costume competition was a spectacle of ostentatious pieces, seeing the ladies parade in outrageous outfits inspired by nature, folklore, food, religion and even architecture.
During the show staged at the New Frontier Theater at the Araneta City in Quezon City on Thursday, May 18, a lot of the ladies carried huge props that tested their strength and challenged their balance while wearing sky-high heels. Jessielen Salvador from Aklan had a scaled-down pre-colonial ship on her back, while Paola Alison Araño from Batangas had a huge copy of Jose Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere.”
Elaiza Alzona from Zambales and Lorraine Jara from Bulacan brought replicas of churches, while Sharmaine Magdasoc from Ortigas, Pasig City, had the Lady of Edsa Shrine attached to a huge disc she carried on her shoulders. Anje Mae Manipol from Quezon rolled out in her hodge-podge ensemble that also incorporated the Minor Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel.
The religious theme continued with Joy Dacoron from Cebu City, who ditched her controversial Santo Niño costume for a Sinulog-inspired dress. Paulina Labayo from Naga City revealed a church interior inside her skirt, while Candy Vollinger from Catanduanes came as a representation of the Immaculada Concepcion, complete with cherubs attached to her voluminous skirt and makeshift arch attached to a metal frame with wheels that is concealed by her dress.
Nature was also a recurring theme among the Binibinis. Trisha Martinez from Laguna was a vision as “Maria Makiling” with a rolling half side of the famous mountain serving as her train, while mechanical birds seemed to flutter above it. Pia Isabel Dulogin brought Misamis Oriental on her huge skirt depicting a picturesque view of her province, while Angelica Lopez from Palawan brought the Tubbataha Reef, complete with a bubble machine. Katrina Anne Johnson from Davao del Sur emerged from a huge Waling-Waling.
Animals also graced the pageant stage when Julia Mendoza from Roxas City paraded in her seafood-inspired costume in pink and blue, and Charismae Almarez from General Luna, Quezon, brought a life-size horse figure along with her Gen. Antonio Luna costume. Tracy Lois Bedua from Iloilo City brought a “karitela” of goods carried by a “kalabaw” (water buffalo), while Anna Valencia Lakrini from Bataan was ethereal in her firefly-themed dress.
Even mythical creatures such as the “Ibong Adarna” did not escape the designers’ imagination. Juvel Cyrene Bea from Quezon City had rollers under her ball gown that had a golden tree where the bird was perched on, while Atasha Reign Parani from General Trias, Cavite, gave a show as both “Don Juan” and the Ibong Adarna from the story.
Festivals and folklore also inspired several costumes. Katrina Mae Sese from Tarlac City was a beautiful “halimaw” (ghoul) inside a “banga” (jar), while Lyra Punzalan from Pampanga brought a splash of color on stage as the goddess “Munag Sumala.” Zeah Pala from the province of Tarlac was ready for the carnival in her “Malatarlak” Festival costume, while Xena Ramos from Santolan, Pasig City, brought a fish dish in her “Pakalog” Festival ensemble.
Other candidates also brought food. Alliah Estores from Parañaque City was a walking “karenderya” (eatery) and even had a few bites on stage, while Sofia Lopez Galve from the province of Rizal carried crates of mangoes and suman (glutenous rice cake).
Even street staples came to life on the Binibini stage. Zoe Bernardo Santiago from Manila stopped traffic in her jeepney-inspired costume, while Yesley Cabanos from Caloocan City was a sexy newspaper girl.
The crowd had a break from the outlandish costumes with more subdued and traditional pieces paraded by Jean Isabelle Bilasano from Albay, Rheema Adakkoden from Camarines Sur, and Mary Chiles Balana from Hermosa, Bataan.
The visual treat served as a grand climax to a full pre-coronation event. Before the actual national costume segment, the ladies paraded in their evening gowns, and even took part in two fashion shows, the much-anticipated Jag Denim Queen presentation, and another one for BeauteDerm, where Lakrini received P100,000 in cash and P500,000 worth of products as Miss Blanc Beaute 2023.
The 40 candidates will battle it out in the final competition on May 28 at the Grand Coronation Night to be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at the Araneta City. Reigning Miss International Jasmin Selberg from Germany will share the microphone with returning hosts 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray and 2016 Miss Grand International first runner-up Nicole Cordoves. Vice Ganda will also perform a musical number.
Tickets to the finals are now available at Ticketnet. The ceremonies will be shown on A2Z channel 11 on free TV, Kapamilya Channel and Metro Channel on cable, and the Bb. Pilipinas official YouTube channel at 9:30 p.m. It will also be beamed to other countries via The Filipino Channel. /ra
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