Binibining Pilipinas is back! The pageant announced on Saturday, Jan. 23 that it has set the coronation night for its 2020/2021 edition on April 17, 2021. This comes after the pageant was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
The pageant resumes its activities for this competition cycle with the Binibining Pilipinas National Costume Photo Exhibit at Gateway Mall from Jan. 22 to 31 and at Ali Mall from Feb. 1 to 14.
No other pageant activities have been announced so far. But fans are definitely waiting with bated breath as to how Binibining Pilipinas, the country’s longest-running, will hold its activities amid the pandemic. This will also be the first time Binibining Pilipinas will hold a coronation night after it lost the national franchises for Miss Universe (now owned by the Miss Universe Philippines Organization) and Miss Supranational (now held by Miss World Philippines Organization).
Will the pageant lose its shine after losing two of its major titles, or will it be able to retain its reputation as the contest’s bigger and most important beauty tilt?
This year’s Binibining Pilipinas photo exhibit showcases its contestants in their national costume. The unveiling of the national costume is a much-awaited event among fans. Many contestants who won the Best in National Costume award went on to win titles in the Bb. Pilipinas pageant in the past years—including 2018 winner Catriona Gray, who eventually won the Miss Universe crown. The last winner of the Best in National Costume award was Emma Mary Tiglao, who bagged the Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental 2019 title.
And how are the ladies of this year’s Binibining Pilipinas faring in the National Costume competition? Based on the photos of the girls in their national costume looks—which were also uploaded on the Bb. Pilipinas Facebook page—it is going to be a tight competition. The looks range from traditional but elaborate interpretations to more modern takes of incorporating local culture and imagery to the national costume.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Honey Cartasano’s national costume made headlines when it was revealed her gown was designed by Paolo Ballesteros. But the look in itself is noteworthy, an interpretation of the classic Maria Clara costume, but inspired by the papier mache “higantes” of Angono’s Higantes festival.
One of the favorites in this year’s pageant, Samantha Bernardo, is pure opulence in her national costume inspired by the national jewels of Palawan. Her headdress and backdress—made from faux pearls, gemstones, and fabric foams—are impressive in its details, as if they are made from actual pearls. It’s unfortunate that we may not get to see it in person.
Pageant veteran Maureen Montagne impresses with her Lakanate-inspired costume. The costume, as its designer Nick Guarino explains, is a reflection of the Lakanates (or kingdoms and communities) that existed in the Philippines during the pre-Hispanic era. Its use of elaborate fabrics, colors, and even plants tells the “past, present, and future” of Batangas. Maureen’s costume is a delight to look at while trying to represent a deeper aspect of Philippine history—which always bodes well of pageant queens.
Vickie Rushton’s national costume seems simple in terms of inspiration but impressive in its execution. The costume is inspired by the Magellan Birdwing butterfly (which can be found in the Philippines). While the specificity of her inspiration isn’t evident in the actual look, Vickie (note her antenna-inspired headdress) managed to combine camp and fashion in her costume. Her butterfly wings are dripping with thousands of Swarovski crystals, rhinestones and gems—and it shows!
National costumes like Gabrielle Basiano’s is really what makes this segment of the pageant a whole lot of fun. Gabriella’s dress is inspired by the kalesa—specifically a “golden kalesa” that represents her hometown, Borongan City, Eastern Samar. The idea isn’t exactly original (remember Miss Universe Thailand 2015 Aniporn Chalermburanawong’s now-iconic tuk-tuk dress?). But the attempt to merge culture, history, and fashion is there. Plus, it’s well within the spirit of the national costumes in beauty pageants—dresses that represent local culture with an over-the-top pageant twist.
Kimberly Anne Tiquestiques took the Flores de Mayo as an inspiration for her national costume. But even without knowing its inspiration, the dress is still a sight to behold. The arch-inspired headdress, embellished with flowers, is breathtaking. Kimberly Anne is not drowned by the size of her national costume; her beauty still comes through, which is important here as, overall, the pageant is still a beauty pageant and not a fashion show.
There are a lot of details on Czarina Joy Lagman Guiao’s dress. But despite that, it still manages to emphasize Czarina Joy’s stunning features. Note how the huge neckpiece, for instance, highlights her face. And even with the huge pieces on her dress, you can still see the fit the dress on her body. Her national costume is extra, for sure, but it doesn’t drown out her natural beauty.
Lastly, Cindy Obeñita’s national costume looks like a traditional dress using non-fabric materials (the designer notes say it is made from “circular bangles” that represent the golden coconut called kuyamis). The dress is inspired by the lore that Cagayan de Oro, her hometown, is resting on the back of a giant goldfish. It’s not as elaborate as the other national costumes this year, but the use of the glittery bangles to emulate the scales of a fish is both fashion and pageant. It is lovely.
All of this year's Bb. Pilipinas national costumes are amazing. Don't take our word for it; check out the rest of the national costumes here:
Photos from Bb. Pilipinas (Official) Facebook page