The Virgin Mary, a tikbalang and TV's Hipon Girl in higantes garb graced the Binibining Pilipinas 2022 national costume stage, showing how the Philippines' oldest and most prestigious pageant has embraced its edgier side.
The 58th edition of Binibining Pilipinas is its third since losing the Miss Universe franchise and its second since skipping 2020 due to the pandemic. It will crown the country's representatives to Miss International, Miss Intercontinental, Miss Globe and Miss Grand International.
Graciella Lehmann of Oriental Mindoro made the biggest splash, based on social media posts, by donning a white tikbalang costume designed by her mentor, Drag Race Philippines host Paolo Ballesteros.
Lehmann wore stilts and strode on the New Frontier Theater Theater like a horse, with the side of her thighs padded. The eyes of the horse headpiece glowed red.
Last year's first runner-up, who is trying her luck for the second straight year, Gabrielle Basiano, came dressed like a framed portrait of the Virgin Mary, an homage to the marian devotees of her hometown, Borongan, Eastern Samar.
TV personality Herlene Budol, also known as Hipon Girl, came dressed for the Higantes Festival of her hometown, Angono, Rizal.
The weekend display of gigantic and edgy national costumes shows that Binibining Pilipinas has evolved past the butterfly sleeve and dainty maria clara dresses of its early years.
This year, the organization led by the first ever Miss International, Stella Marquez de Araneta, also tapped pop sensations SB19 to remix the classic Binibining Pilipinas theme song.
During Miss Universe 2021, the Philippines Beatrice Luigi Gomez wore a moon-eating dragon national costume, showing how far the Filipina queen aesthetic has come since Mary Jean Lastimosa went viral in early 2015 for her dress that looked like a cake topping.
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray literally carried the entire history of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao when she competed in Thailand -- dressed as a gigantic Pampanga Lantern that failed to light up, but still inspired Christmas party memes.
It was portent to her Ibong Adarna preliminary dress and her winning red Mayon Volcano gown -- both designed by Mak Tumang and holy grail to Miss Universe fans.