Being “extra” at the Miss Universe Philippines National Costume competition is such a Pinoy thing to do—and we love local pageantry for it.
The Miss Universe Philippines 2022 candidates pranced down the cobbled streets of Vigan, Ilocos Sur in their extravagant national costumes, showcasing the art of “Habi” or the best of the country’s textile industry.
The 32 delegates tell stories of the Philippines’ history, tribes, and local communities through costumes made of our local textiles and weavings. While the candidates looked stunning, there are some who showed the splendor of their costumes without allowing them to overshadow their queenly abilities.
So, without further ado, here are eight of the standout contestants in the 2022 Miss Universe Philippines National Costume competition.
Lou Dominique Piczon (Cebu Province)
“Banig festival queen,” indeed. Lou Dominique Piczon of Cebu Province showed the many features of the handwoven banig in a modern Filipiniana by Danny Booc.
The extravagant costume is made of “95% banig,” adorned with abaca ropes, wooden beads, rhinestones, and an intricate back detail that shows the beauty of Cebu Province.
According to the beauty queen, the costume is an ode to the Badian community that has been “weaving banig for generations.”
Celeste Cortesi (Pasay City)
The statuesque Celeste Cortesi chose to focus on her curvy silhouette in an ornate terno designed by John Carlo Pagunaling.
Compared to the usual Filipiniana garb, the Pasay City representative showed her long legs in a halter top and pants combo. A matching headpiece, strappy heels, and beaded accessories finished off an already edgy look.
Isabel Luche (Mandaue City)
Were our eyes fooling us, or did Isabel Luche just don a national costume inspired by the country’s cockfighting industry?
The Mandaue City-based beauty queen stunned pageant fans in an elaborate costume, complete with a hat with paper-mâché chickens, created by Mark Barry Luche.
The national costume is a textbook definition of extra since it carries a detailed one-piece jumpsuit with feathers, beads, textile-inspired baubles, and inner pants, and more chicken-inspired accessories. The ‘fit may seem too overwhelming to the eye, but coupled with Luche’s vibrant personality, it totally works.
Annabelle McDonnell (Misamis Oriental)
Another perfect example of being extra without being too much is Misamis Oriental’s Annabelle Mcdonnell and her palengke- and sun-inspired costume.
Mcdonnell pranced the cobbled Vigan street in a Jermaine Nabong costume, an all-decked-out creation complete with an extravagant headpiece, sleeves made of bilao and banana leaves, and a formfitting skirt made of nipa fabric.
And if that’s not extra enough, the beauty queen finished off her ensemble with a cape with paper-mâché squash vegetables and a wand with the shape of the sun.
Jeanne Nicci Orcena (Davao Del Norte)
Davao Del Norte’s Jeanne Nicci Orcena also took a fashionable risk of wearing pants down the runway with a costume that’s dedicated to the Tagumeños.
Orcena’s costume, which is designed by Mark Joseph Sayad, may look simple to outsiders but the ‘fit lies in its hard-to-forget details. The attention-grabbing colors, malong-inspired costume, beaded headpiece, and lower cape are more than enough to take our breath away.
Vanessa Ann Caro (Iloilo Province)
Perhaps, one of our favorite fiesta-inspired costumes. Vanessa Caro of Iloilo Province took the classic Filipiniana and gave it an Ilongga-inspired flair.
The all-red Filipiniana, created by Hector Totong Gellangarin, feels like returning to Iloilo’s extravagant fiestas with the extra tassels, white and red headpiece, and a checkered skirt.
Chantal Schmidt (Cebu City)
The third Cebuana to make it on our list, Chantal Schmidt didn’t scrimp on the details of her Pearl of the Orient Seas-inspired costume designed by Axel Que.
Compared to the other costumes, Chantal’s delicate look focuses on the colors black, white, and silver to recreate the elegance of a pearl. It’s tough for a costume to have less than five colors, but this classy yet extravagant outfit is a work of art.
The ensemble highlights Schmidt’s statuesque figure with a pearl headpiece, body-hugging mini dress with black and white beadwork, and giant ruffle sleeves adorned with lace and pearls. Beautiful!
Julia Saubier (Albay)
Last and definitely not the least, is Albay representative Julia Saubier and her Haliya-inspired costume.
The powerful yet elegant creation, designed by Erjohn Dela Serna and Omar Sali, is an ode to the Haliya or the Goddess of the Moon from local mythology. The costume is a feminine take on the overused warrior goddess ‘fit that’s unfortunately tried and tested by many pageant girls.
Thankfully, the costume did the masked goddess of the moonlight justice as it highlighted the woman’s unique strength. It also managed to make a mythology-inspired ‘fit look grand without being too costume-y. And of course, the outfit showcased Julia’s assets really well.
See more of the candidates’ magnificent national costumes below: