It was fun to be a part of the celebration of the Balayong Festival in the heart of Palawan, Puerto Princesa. Known for its beautiful beaches and tourist destinations, this annual event would never be complete without the much-anticipated highlight of the festivity…the Miss Puerto Princesa coronation night.
Last weekend, Puerto Princesa celebrated Balayong Festival, and one of the biggest activities of the event was the city’s beauty pageant, the Miss Puerto Princesa 2018. Fifteen candidates from the different barangays of the city vied for the title. Luckily, I was the official designer of the event and it was a very exciting experience because when I arrived Friday evening (flight was few hours delayed), we had little time to rest, had dinner and started fitting almost midnight. The candidates fitted their outfits, from their opening cocktail dresses, swimwear and evening gowns. We only had few hours to do the alterations since the pageant was the following night. Good thing all my designs fitted well.
The next day, I had to wake up early to be one of the judges at the pre-pageant of the candidates. We were asked to make questions for each candidate. It was actually an impromptu interview as if the candidate were interrogated answering at least 10 questions each from the judges. What amazed me is the fact that each and every candidate was witty and confident enough to have answered the questions confidently.
Later in the evening, the pageant night started with an opening number wearing my sexy cocktail dress creations with the Balayong flower as the inspiration. The sexy cut of the dresses with floral prints made them look so “summer-y” and flattered the sexy figures of the ladies.
After the opening number, the candidates came out in my evening gown creation which made it difficult for the judges to choose the winner for the best in formal wear. I believe the candidates look so elegant with the gowns. Being the chairman of the board of judges, I had a hard time selecting who my best in evening gown should be. Not only did they all looked ravishing and lovely, but also they carried and projected the gowns with poise.
While in their evening gowns, the Top 8 were selected. Then they came out in a 2-piece swimwear while the rest of the girls came out in their 1-piece official swimwear. From the Top 8, the Top 3 were selected. The Top 3 came out wearing my matt gold gown creations and given the final question. Again, the three answered the final question with ease and assuredness, but the best and most deserving candidate who answered best won the crown. The 2nd runner-up title went to Zandra Saul. The 1st runner up went to Karishma Geraldo. The title of Miss Puerto Princesa 2018 was won by Angelica Lopez.
The event was hosted by former Miss World 1st runner-up Gwendolyn Ruais. Judges of the pageant include former Manhunt Philippines winner Rommel Torres, Miss Universe 2011 3rd runner-up Shamcey Supsup-Lee, some people from the city and provincial government of Palawan and yours truly as the chairman of the board.
Balayong Festival is headed by Raine Byron-Manuel. The event was organized by the Team JAMP headed by international photographer Joe Agdeppa. JAMP is an event and media production company base in Palawan, Qatar and Dubai.