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The ancestral houses, the cobblestone walkways, the horse-drawn carriages—the City of Vigan is indeed an unparalleled beauty of landscape and culture that seemed to have transported the view of the Hispanic 16th century to the modern times.

Last January 2017, select candidates from the 65th Miss Universe beauty pageant had a trip back in time in the one of the Philippines’ most beautiful cities. Twenty ladies representing their own countries arrived in the city of Vigan on January 15 for pre-pageant activities—receiving a warm welcome from Filipinos and fans.

Among the select candidates who explored Vigan includes the Philippines’ very own Miss Universe candidate, Maxine Medina.

“I want to share with everyone that we are very loving people and we are very passionate in what we are doing. I want to share our politeness to everyone, especially with the elderly. I’ve been telling them to use po, opo, ate, or kuya. I know they’ve been learning these and this is the culture I want to share with them.” —Miss Philippines, Maxine Medina

Animal encounter at Baluarte Zoo

Miss Universe delegates from Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Guatemala, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Thailand, Uruguay, United States of America, British Virgin Islands, Venezuela, and Vietnam enjoyed their animal encounter at Baluarte zoo. They were able to pet baby tigers, white lion cubs, Burmese python, among other animals

Owned by former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson, Baluarte is a free-roaming animal sanctuary.

The candidates also tried the city’s traditional loom weaving and jar making.

“It’s time for us to show the beautiful faces of the Philippines. It’s good for
our country, good for the future of our children.” —Chavit Singson, former Ilocos Sur Governor.

‘Terno’ Fashion Show
Like bright stars in the night sky, the Miss Universe candidates shone while classic Filipino “terno” gowns designed by top Filipino artists from Manila and Ilocos in the evening. Terno, which means “matching” in Spanish, is a traditional Filipina dress usually worn during formal occasions.

The six terno worn by candidates from Great Britain, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Slovak Republic and USA were made of Abel Iloco fabric.

Abel, “a living tradition of craftsmanship of the Ilocanos” as described by Vigan city mayor Juan Carlo Medina, is a traditional cloth in Ilocos made of yarns of cotton or sagut. The process of weaving abel is intricate and labor-intensive, matching its reputation of durability and beauty.

Their gowns were created by Ilocano designers Eroll Reminajes, Danika Damo, Gyan Claude Pasion Ben, Darwin Ramirez, Jan Van Paquing and Rafy Sy respectively.

“We’re shedding light on how awesome this country is, we’re shedding light on how the hospitality here is so wonderful and I think we are promoting this country as a whole. I think that Miss Universe Organization held as American-based company is doing a lot to promote the Philippines and its traditions right now just by being here.” —Miss USA, Deshauna Barber

Greeted by cheering crowd of residents and tourists, the Miss Universe candidates walked gracefully along the historic street of Calle Crisologo.

Also among the Manila designers who crafted the refined Filipino gowns during the fashion show were Joel Acebuche, Albert Andrada, Frederick Berches, Cathy Capistrano, Russ Cuevas, Mike dela Rosa, Jearson Demavivas, Rian Fernandez, Mimi Pimentel, Barge Ramos, Amir Sali, Vince Sityar, and Cherry Veric.

The candidates then owned the stage at Plaza Burgos as they showcased the beauty of Philippine-designed ternos.

“I’m having an absolutely amazing time. Thank you so much for your hospitality in the Philippines, it’s incredible” —Miss Great Britain, Jaimee-Lee Faulkner.

Photographed By Noel Ty

Balikbayan Media Center
Balikbayan Media Center

Balikbayan Magazine's Media Center serves an audience in 60 countries and 101 cities throughout the World to ignite, drive, and fuel the economic development, progression, and modernisation of the Philippines. Our Media Center curates only the most critical, vital, useful, entertaining, and sometimes amusing information released from both the public and private sector. Our editorial team strongly believes that a well-rounded and well-informed society is a thriving society.

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