12 Most Beautiful National Costumes at Bb Pilipinas 2019

Earlier today, Bb.Pilipinas unveiled the National Costumes of the 40 official delegates in a photo exhibit at the Gateway activity center.
As if in keeping with the Met Gala, the batch of national costumes of this year’s edition is replete with well thought-out designs by the country’s best designers. Also props must be given to lensman Raymond Saldana and his creative team.
Binibini Malabon – Jessica Marasigan

(c) Raymond Saldana / BPCI
Countless designers have tried but failed to give the terno a modern twist. Jessica Marasigan in her Dennis Celestial is a modern terno done right. The costume stayed true to the terno spirit while giving it a shiny golden mosaic  twist. The headdress and the fan complements the whole look completely.
Binibini Muntinlupa – Martina Turner Diaz
(c) Raymond Saldana / BPCI
While not necessarily an exclusive Filipino concept of justice, Martina Diaz’s national costume becomes a caricature of the current state of justice in the country – one where there is no blindfold. Please take note that this how I take this Jhong Ramiso creation. The gold scale and sword that stood out in the black ruffled train and body suit makes for one solid aesthetic that would have given him entry ticket to the Met.
Binibini Talisay City, Cebu – Gazini Ganados
(c) Raymond Saldana / BPCI
This Richardson Apayla creation may be an overwhelming design replete with red and gold color palette, there is one thing that the design accomplished. That is to complement the glorious face of Gazini Ganados.
Binibini Pasig – Maria Andrea Abesamis
(c) Raymond Saldana / BPCI
If you are awed by Miss International First Runner-up Ahtisa Manalo’s national costume at her international tilt, then you will likely be awed by this Amar Sali creation. Abesami’s costume draws inspiration from the Yakans. Also known as dreamweavers, the Yakans are known for their intricate designs.
This costume indulges our senses to the Seputangan, a cloth worn by women in their waste. The Palitpattang, patterned after the rainbow and the binga-sama, patterned after the python makes for a cohesive look that made Abesamis a mystical warrior princess.

Binibini Bataan – Patricia Magtanong
(c) Raymond Saldana / BPCI
Personally, I’ve always favored warrior princess looks over traditional wear. This Urduja-inspired national costume by Pablo Mendez, while not exactly my most favorite design, pays homage to women warriors who have been shattering glass ceiling everywhere. Fast forward to the National Costume show, I hope her team adjusts the costume so that it won’t overpower Patch Magtanong’s beautiful face.
Binibini Masbate – Hannah Arnold
(c) Raymond Saldana / BPCI
Benj Leguiab‘s creation did not disappoint. The color palette and the intricate lines make for one cohesive design. While I am not sure the white applique worked, the rest of the design is beautiful. The inspiration in creating this breath-taking masterpiece is drawn from the culture of the Cordillera and its oldest mababatok, Apo Whang Od. (More on this on a separate feature.)
Miss Mandaue City, Cebu – Ilene de Vera
(c) Raymond Saldana / BPCI
When I first saw this design, I fell in love with it right away. It felt like a national costume a Latin country rep would wear at Miss Universe. The design is strong as it is embossed with musical caricatures to emphasize where Ilene comes from: Cebu. This Malayka Yamas design makes a strong case for Best in National Costume.
Miss Ilocos Sur – Jean Nicole Guerrero
(c) Raymond Saldana / BPCI
Like a feisty female lieutenant ready to wage war against would-be invaders, Nicole Guerrero in this Michael Barassi ensemble commands strength and power. The detail work poured into this creation must be pain-staking. The over-all look and the half-petticoat reveals powerful women who can be both be traditional and modern. Barassi who has been creating national costumes for male pageant contestants has certainly impressed me in this design.

Binibini Cebu City – Samantha Lo
(c) Raymond Saldana / BPCI
Keeping up to the Edwin Uy tradition of national costume, Samantha Lo reminds us of Chanel Thomas’ winning national costume (also by Uy) when she was still competing at Binibining Pilipinas. Only this time, Lo’s costume is leaps and bounds better. The lack of distracting headdress made Lo more regal as a Mindanaoan royalty.
Binibini Pampanga – Emma Tiglao
(c) Raymond Saldana / BPCI
One can never go wrong with the classic gold-and-white. This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite national costume this year. The white fabric was hand woven by Persons-Deprived-of-Liberty (PDL) basket weavers in Angeles Pampanga. The gold embellishments makes the national costume pop out for one classy and elegant ensemble. Job well done, Rich Sabinian. (More on this on a separate feature.)
Binibini Palawan – Samantha Mae Bernardo
(c) Raymond Saldana / BPCI
Paying home to the Palaw’an, Patrick Isoerna’s design reflects the Palawaeno culture that is nomadic and at the same time colorful. Embellished with 10,000 wooden beads (imagine the weight of the costume), the design is representative of Samantha Bernardo’s home province. Isorena’s design also pays homage to the eponymous Ibong Adarna. (More on this on a separate feature.)
Binibini Negros Occidental – Vickie Rushton
(c) Raymond Saldana / BPCI
If the Encantadia sang’gres can be given a fitting fifth sibling, perhaps Vim Rushton in this Jomar Peralta creation would be a perfect candidate. Inspired by the diwata lore in Philippine mythology, Vicky Rushton’s costume commands both power and attention. For Rushton, the Diwata is a symbolism of feminine power that gives back to the community. I agree.

Other Notable National Costumes:

Photography: Raymond Saldaña
Creative Director: January Saga Abad
Set Design: HGR event by Henry Reyes
Hair & Make up by David’s Salon
Shoes and Shades by Jojo Bragais
Set Design: Blooms 2710 events
Styled by Patrick Henry, Mergano & Vhee co
Associate Stylists: Cev Cendaña & Shone Rivera
Accessories by Arnel Papa & Frank Faj Jones

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