The National Costume Competition took place in Kia Theatre, Cubao, Quezon City last March 3, as part of the Bb. Pilipinas 2018 Fashion Show. The two-hour spectacle was preceded by a 30-minute Jag Fashion Show, where the 40 delegates paraded in sexy denim attire.
At the end of the show, 10 costumes were judged as the best. The winner will be determined by the voting public and announced during the live pageant. The Top 10 are:
Bb#4 – Ana Patricia Asturias. While this Dave Ocampo hijab gown isn’t as elaborate or colorful as the other nine shortlisted costumes, Patrik’s dramatic unveiling as she made her entrance added a hefty touch of flair.
Bb#11 – Maria Andrea Abesamis. Symbolizing the elegance, class, and vibrance of a Filipina, this Muslim-inspired ensemble by Chico Estiva made Aya a sight to behold.
Bb#18 – Rosantonette Mendoza. Much as we still have reservations about the Sarimanok being depicted as monochromatic, the gold beadwork and rhinestones on this Rau Jan Uson-Ablaza piece transformed Rosantonette into an avian goddess.
Bb#19 – Michele Theresa Gumabao. On its own, this Nat Manilag Philippine eagle-inspired terno is a surprise inclusion. But Michele’s impressive presence and stance helped it soar.
Bb#20 – Catriona Gray. Where do we even start? Cat entered the stage like she was ready to stop the competition at halfway point and almost prompted the Kia Theatre crowd to bow before an actual monarch – all thanks to this jaw-dropping Jearson Demavivas number. If this were Mortal Kombat, Cat putting down her Sarimanok parasol to flaunt her glistening veil was a potent Fatality.
Bb#29 – Samantha Kaye Avestruz. It’s almost hard to believe that Mick Guarino‘s shimmering ode to womanly beauty and appeal is made partly of scallop shells.
Bb#30 – Sarah Margarette Joson. Riding on the T’boli trend followed by Elizabeth Clenci and Chanel Olive Thomas in their respective global stints last year, Sarah rocked this Jay-R Garcia Flores number.
Bb#31 – Jehza Mae Huelar. This threepeater makes this list two years in a row, this time with this Neil Patrick Policarpio creation. This breathtaking beaded modern terno pays homage to both Jehza’s home city of Davao and the late great Pitoy Moreno.
Bb#33- Stephanie Joy Abellanida. The third Sarimanok-themed outfit in the Top 10 is by Archie Castillo. The gorgeous intricacy of this dress pays homage to the archetypal Muslim princess – a role Stephanie played with divine carriage.
Bb#35 – Sandra Lemonon. Edwin Uy earns props for this innovative warrior-themed number, which alludes to the legendary Ibong Adarna. Completing the look is a faux-bladed staff, which Sandra twirled seductively, making for an unforgettable presentation.
Bb#1- Vickie Rushton. This intricately cut Masskara-inspired modern terno by Francis Libiran set the bar high; it’s surprising that it wasn’t shortlisted.
Bb#3 – Murielle Orais. Don’t know with you, but we feel this number channeled Miriam Quiambao‘s 1999 Miss Universe costume, albeit with different flora as inspiration. Murielle looked dazzling in this sampaguita-themed dress.
Bb#5 – Rose Marie Murphy. This stunning piece paid tribute to Rose Marie’s home province of Agusan del Norte and is accentuated with a beautifully-painted cape that depicts the Manobo culture.
Bb#7 – Sigrid Grace Flores. She may be Bikolana, but Sigrid worked this Koronadal-inspired piece with aplomb, removing her jacket to reveal her sexy bare back.
Bb#8- Shane Tormes. Call it gimmicky, if you wish, but Shane’s costume, depicting a coconut harvest was indeed fresh and original. We hope that wasn’t a real itak, though.
Bb#10 – Kayesha Chua. It was a toss-up between two Banga-inspired numbers and Juliana Kapuendl‘s had the better train, but we’re giving the nod to Kayesha, who not only balanced more pots but also managed to incorporate more fierceness into her presentation. Aileen Damiles will be proud.
Bb#21 – Anjame Magbitang. We think it could have done without a few tacky elements: the “KKK” emblazoned on her hat, the cape, and – for Pete’s sake – that toy pistol, but we do appreciate the new direction it took.
Bb#24 – Ena Louis Velasco. This costume earns props for concept: The serpentina cut symbolized femininity, while the capiz upper half symbolized the Filipina’s innate toughness. It made Ena channel the White Queen from Through the Looking Glass.
Bb#32 – Eva Patalinjug. Not a novel design per se, but it was made memorable by Eva’s playful presentation.
Bb#39 – Trixia Marie Maraña. It’s reminiscent of some of the best Philippine national costumes sent to Miss Universe in the 2000s (Zorayda Andam and Gionna Cabrera anyone?) with 3D dolls sewn to the skirt for good measure.
Here are the other 20 National Costumes. Which one should have made the cut?