Manila Bulletin: Bb. Pilipinas 2018 Evening Gown Review

Not only have we witnessed the crowning of the queens who will be representing the Philippines in international pageants this year, we also saw the masterpieces of Filipino fashion designers during the Long Gown competition

If there’s a shortage of crystals and sequins in your local fabric shop, this might be the reason why: The Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Coronation Night was held last March 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Forty amazing Filipinas from around the country gathered to vie for one of the six Binibining Pilipinas titles.

Currently, the Philippines is enjoying a golden age in pageantry. Since 2010, our representatives have gone on to win Miss Universe, Miss World, two Miss Internationals, and numerous placements. What pageants have done is to not only show the world how beautiful Filipinas are, but also to give Filipino fashion designers a chance to showcase their talent and creativity.


Bb. Pilipinas International 2018

Ma. Ahtisa Manalo

At 5’ 7.5”, Ahtisa wore this eye-popping hot pink evening gown made of spancrepe fabric that featured a flowy, chiffon train attached at the waist. It is embellished with Swarovski cyrstals and Japanese cut beads.

Designer Mikee Andrei said, “As as kid, I wasn’t allowed to play with dolls. So dolling up beautiful women like Ahtisa is a dream come true.” She sashayed and expertly swooshed that chiffon much to the delight of the audience. Mikee’s real-life Barbie came to life and slayed the competition.


Bb. Pilipinas Supranational 2018

Jehza Huelar

Third-time candidate Jehza Huelar finally captured a title. Her beige lace mermaid gown by Xioti Chiu featured folded panels on the lower part of the skirt. Jehza looked svelte and very fit in this silhouette. The thin crystal and metal belt accentuated her tiny waist. Her hair and makeup added the sophistication and fresh, youthful look to the whole ensemble. Miss Supranational is known to be a runway-heavy challenge and Jehza is the perfect candidate for that. She carries herself effortlessly and with so much charm.

Bb. Pilipinas Grand International 2018

Eva Psychee Patalinjug

This 23-year-old Cebuana went with the traditional pageant look with big blown-out hair and a peachy, nude illusion gown with antique-finish embroidery. Oh, and don’t forget the side slit to really make it a true pageant moment. The gown was masterfully crafted by Cebu-based designer Philipp Tampus, who is a favorite among beauty queens. Maybe Eva can keep a similar style when she competes for the Thai-owned Miss Grand International pageant. I feel this look will appeal to Thai sensibilities and possibly capture the Philippines’ first MGI crown.


Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental

2018 Karen Gallman

She was the lady in red that night. This petite, five-foot-five Boholana beauty looked quite tall in her Benj Leguiab IV gown that featured a deep-V bustier and a body-hugging silhouette. The designer has dressed other beauty queens in similar stunning beaded/crystallized gowns that show off the body without being too risqué—sexy in a tasteful and still elegant way. The Miss Intercontinental crown is another pageant that has eluded us. But if Karen looks like this during that pageant, it will not be surprising if we finally get it.


Miss Universe Philippines 2018

Catriona Elisa Gray

When Catriona stepped out in the muted gold, fully crystallized, sequined gown by Mak Tumang, there was no doubt she would walk away with the “Best in Long Gown” award.  At a towering 5’10” (plus 5” platform heels), Catriona looked like a golden, Filipina version of Jessica Rabbit down to the sideswept, Hollywood glam hair. The gown was a collaborative effort between Catriona and Mak. She said, “I wanted it to be fitted and have a wet-look shimmer to it. Mak suggested the cutout details to make it more flattering.” However, the most unique piece was the “Three Stars and the Sun” ear cuff she wore (see inset). This homage to the iconic symbols on the Philippine flag was her idea and Tessera Jewelry made it a reality.


Bb. Pilipinas Globe 2018

Michele Gumabao

Michele stayed with the designer who made her black Philippine Eagle-inspired national costume. She wanted something light and fresh, so they agreed on yellow, which reflects her bubbly personality. According to designer Nat Manilag, “I presented her with three options and she liked this flower-inspired gown.” This one-shoulder, serpentine-cut gown made of soft tulle and neoprene fabric and with flower spangle details is reminiscent of Miriam Quiambao in Miss Universe 1999 down to the low bun. This professional volleyball athlete looked every inch a beauty queen.


Bb. Pilipinas 2018 1st Runner-up

Vickie Marie Rushton

From brides to beauty queens, Francis Libiran is one of the favorites. He created both Vickie’s national costume and long gown. This petite (5’5”) Cebuana beauty went the classic pageant route with a V-neck, pale lilac gown, which featured a side slit and a sculptural piece on the left hip. The color perfectly complemented Vickie’s flawless complexion. She sported the traditional evening gown competition updo, which showed off her beautiful face.


Bb. Pilipinas 2018

2nd Runner-up Samantha Bernardo

Samantha chose a non-traditional mustard gown with a dramatic cape by Patty Ang. Although it bordered on the heavy side and was a bit covered up, the beauty from Palawan was able to carry it off on stage. In a way, the shocking, bright color works because it stands out from the pale, nude, shimmery gold and silver gowns. Though one of the front-runners in the competition, a 2nd runner-up finish is still great because it will allow her to join the pageant again next year and possibly get a crown.


Special Mention

Sandra Lemonon

Sandra wore one of the best evening gowns of the night. If not for her Q&A, she would have been in contention for one of the titles. Her teal Edwin Uy gown featured a sweetheart bustier, side slit, train, and heavily crystallized back. It sounds like a lot but it worked so well on stage. The striking color and a gown devoid of any embellishments (well, except for the back) was a relief for the eyes in a sea of crystals, sequins, and beads.

This article originally appeared in Manila Bulletin.
All photos courtesy of BPCI unless otherwise indicated.


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