• Crowns for a cause


    Pageant spotlights use of dried water lilies for gowns

    The modest waterlily took centerstage anew at the 12th Las Pinas Waterlily Festival that bloomed with pomp pageantry. Its highlight was the Miss Las Pinas Water Lily 2017 pageant, where a resident of Barangay Talon Dos, Hajer Ashraf, bested 15 other candidates representing the different villages of the city. She won a P25,000-cash prize.

    The candidates of Miss Waterlily 2017, here with patron Sen. Cynthia Villar, are dressed in gowns made entirely from the aquatic plant

    Placing first-runner up was Jeanne Talania, of Barangay Manuyo Dos who also won a crown and P15,000. Declared second runner-up was Charmaine Louise Peralta of Barangay Zapote who went home with a cash prize of P10,000.

    A celebration of beauty and nature, the Miss Waterlily beauty pageant is the first of its kind whose biggest criteria for judging is based on the uniqueness and creativity of the contestants’ mestiza ternos made entirely out of dried water lily. Pegged at 40 percent, the gown should reflect the natural color of the aquatic plant besides bearing a fashionable design. The rest of the criteria for judging are physical beauty at 30 percent, and intelligence and wit for another 30 percent.

    The pageant’s grand winner Hajer Ashraf

    How then can one use water lilies as fabric for gowns? In an interview with fibre2fashion.com, Philippine Textile Research Institute senior science research specialist Marites de Leon explained that water lilies naturally produce coarse fiber with high gum content. To make them workable for gowns, one must sundry the plant no longer than three days lest it becomes too brittle to use. In addition, according to textiletoday.com.bd, the soft plant tissue that surrounds the water lily’s hollow stem should be removed via rubbing after one day of sun drying. Thereafter, the pre-cut, split stems are air-dried for four to six more hours under direct sunlight, until they are dry but pliable. It is then ready for use in fashioning a beautiful gown.

    The pageant, as well as the Water Lily Festival, is the brainchild of Las Pinas native and Senator Cynthia Villar. Launched in 2005, its aim is to showcase the city’s love for the environment as a giver of life and livelihood.

    “Through the years, we are pleased that our homegrown Waterlily Festival continues to attract visitors and tourists to the city because of its unique attribute and because it pays homage to Mother Nature and our culture,” she said.


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    Local tourism highlighted in ‘Miss Millennial PH’

    LUZON-based Filipinas were the first-liners of new beauty pageant Miss Millennial Philippines 2017, which besides looking to crown a smart and stunning lady, also hopes to serve as a platform where the candidates can promote the beauty and charm of their cities and provinces.

    On its first week, the pageant on noontime show Eat Bulaga saw six millennials take center stage to show off the attractions, rich history and culture, and must-try delicacies of their hometowns.

    Carina Cariño of La Union shared that besides its fame as the “Surfing Capital” of the Philippines, her province is being is working towards becoming the agri-tourism hub of Northern Luzon. She added that La Union is not only known for its beaches, but also for its old churches, vineyards, pottery making, grape picking and cheerful locals.

    Lovely ladies from Luzon—knowledgeable about tourist attractions in their respective hometowns—vie for Miss Millennial Philippines 2017

    Jozlyn Manansala, on the other hand, described Laguna, the “Resort Capital” of the country, as a “refreshing” trip down south. There tourists will find the unique handiwork of locals via footwear and wood works.

    Up north, Zambales representative Kimberly Johnson said they have the sweetest mangoes that could rival Guimaras’ famous product. The 20-year-old Miss Millennial added that everyone will surely enjoy the breathtaking islands and coves of Zambales which is just a few hours away by land from Manila.

    Chelsea Claro of Nueva Vizcaya and Shaira Joy Dizon of Malabon proved themselves effective spokespersons for Nueva Vizcaya—“a place blessed with natural wonders”—and Malabon—“the best destination for food trips”—respectively.

    Finally, Jaya Pearl Cartujano, the lone Visayan from the batch promoted her hometown of Capiz with its crystal clear waters and as the “Seafood Capital” of the Philippines.

    Dizon, Cariño, Manansala, Johnson, Claro and Cartujano are six of 38 beauties selected to represent their hometowns in a competition that is first of its kind on Philippine television. As such, one candidate is given the opportunity to present their tourism video per show episode. Moreover, they are also given weekly challenges that will require them to produce creative and eye-catching online content. These materials will then be uploaded on the show’s official social media accounts.

    “The beauty pageant with the girls on it is just secondary. The true pageant is how you sell your province to the viewers,” said Jeny Ferre, program creative head.

    Ferre shared that they were thinking of a new segment, they thought of highlighting the beauty of the country with so much that remains to be discovered. She said that through Miss Millennial Philippines, the show can capture the adventurous side of the youth and pique the interest of more people to travel locally.

    “When we come up with a new segment, we try to think of its possible contribution to the community. There are a lot of beautiful places in the Philippines which are not shown or reported on the news,” she said.

    Moreover, Ferre said the concept recognizes the influence of the Internet especially in tourism, which is why they decided to incorporate social media in the beauty pageant. She said by promoting these provinces online, they hope that more people, especially the youth, will be tempted to try and discover first-hand the hidden gems of the country.

    “We want to create a better image of the Philippines. And through this new segment, we want to show everyone, especially our fellow countrymen that the Philippines is worth a second look,” she said.

    At the end of the competition, “Miss Millennial Philippines” grand winner, which will be determined through text and online votes, will receive a condominium unit a car, and P500,000.

    A Miss Bayanihan Queen will also be crowned among the 38 contestants who can produce the best online tourism campaign for her hometown. She will take home P100,000 for herself and P1 million for her province.

    The rest of the candidates vying in the pageant from across the country are Eleonora Valentina Laorenza (Aklan), Tarilaye John Beke (Antique) Joan Marie Abanza (Apayao), Arrianne Dia Gallotan (Benguet), Edelle Rose Paller Pilatan (Bulacan), Jenny Rose Ignacio (Caloocan City), Julia Gonowon (Camarines Sur), Teresa Soledad (Camiguin), Kimberly Anne Bernal (Cavite), Allyza Molly Teodora (Davao City), Josephine Segovia (Guimaras), Dianne Irish Joy Lacayanga (Ilocos Norte), Jeanevave Cabautan (Isabela), Czarmy Alcober (Leyte), Camille Mirafuentes Folio (South Cotabato), and Patriz Anne Dabu of Bataan; and Daniela Lampey (Mandaluyong City), Vanna Vefsie Discaya (Masbate), Berjayneth Goc-Ong Chee (Misamis Oriental), Chrischelle Sarte Maranon (Nueva Ecija), Joannie Olila (Muntinlupa City), Angelica Esther Portugaleza (Negros Occidental), Jasmine Bungay (Pampanga), Annie Uson (Pangasinan), Sofia Jane Panapanaan (Paranaque City), Mary Justine Anne Lucero (Puerto Princesa, Palawan), Jenwell Morante (Quezon Province), Ladylyn Santos (Quirino), Carmela Villaruel (Sarangani), Camille Folio (South Cotabato), Naoimi Leano (Tarlac), Sarah Elizabeth Madrigal (Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu) and Mary Jade Capin from Zamboanga, Sibugay.


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