An Afternoon of Beauty

It rained glamour, beauties and, of course, creativity that Saturday afternoon.

The costume contest of the Mutya Ning Angeles 2022 brought out the best of craftsmanship, skillfulness and talents of pageant aficionados – designers, couturiers, and even mere handlers. Organizers’ wit, notwithstanding.

Eighteen candidates, backed by their respective camps (and even barangays), paraded well-thought, carefully built, beautifully designed creations. The standouts and winners complied with one basic requirement – reflect the culture of Angeles City.

Thus, a deserving winner and runners-up, emerged from equally gorgeous girls. But not after a parade at the SM City Clark which became so festive and a great host to a grand display of original creations.

The winner – “Pamaglala” a unique strapped-on skirt and top made with dried water lilies woven ala overdress that was garnished with beads, small baskets, peanut legumes and rattan. Some “seeds from Aetas” also complemented the get up.

With a beaded pantsuit, the costume represented the basket weaving industry in Barangay Anunas where Candidate 15 Myrna Esguerra hails from. Designer was Richard Strandz.

Barangay Balibago was well represented with a fitting Immaculate Conception imagery that it hosts in a costume worn by Candidate 11 Dynara Maurer.

The costume designed by Carl John Miranda was not that all unique and flashy. It was just like seeing a life size statue. What gave it a hefty count was the angelic face and shiny bouncy hair of the Caucasian beauty who more than resembled a “Virgin Mary”. It was like Mama Mary alighted and was physically present in Clark. Complete with four flapping doves behind her, the movement of the candidate made it like a scene from religious movies. With the pious appearance, little notice was given to the Salakot that was on top of the “statue”, almost making the costume title “Flor Cullada Salaco” insignificant. But alas, it was still mesmerizing.

2ND RUNNER UP. Mayumu Babayi or Sweet Maiden was worn by Candidate 13 Marianne Kim Rada. Fittingly, it was designed by Jorick Lopez Limpag to mimic sugarcane farming at Pulung Cacutud (A Place of Forest). It was a crystally green gown that resembled sugar cane where big chevrons of green and gold leaves, fringes and beads make it really elegant.

3rd and 4th RUNNER UP. Mi Luz Ezperanza or My Light of Hope was a sight to behold with literal lights for a headdress and skirt trims which resembled the Capiz windows of old. Yes, the light that shone behind the white panes of the windows at the back of the skirt were gorgeous. Designed by Kevin Cayanan, the lights on the dress reflect the warmth of the Angelenos. Candidate 8 Giannine Danielle Batul from Barangay Capaya carried the gown well garnished with twisted papaya leaves.

4th RUNNER UP. There was actually a toss up between Candidate 14 Genica Cruz of Barangay Cutcut and another one who I will not name here to avoid heartaches. There was a bit of a crucial moment for judges as they broke the tied score with a vote. So, “Caldera De Cutcut” emerged as a winner. Designed by Ryan Manansala, it was a black skirt like an inverted crown made of hard swinging materials. The headdress with a backpiece of yellow and purple embellishments extended to about 50 inches.

WINNERS ALSO. To my mind there were also other winners on that night – most especially the Sisig Queen. Despite falling not once but twice in the actual walk before judges and other spectators, Candidate 9 Anya Bezaleel Balatbat kept her composure, earning her a loud round of applause. Such beauty and poise under pressure (and embarrassment to some). Take a bow there too Enji Doublis for showing off the culinary delight known of Capampangans.

One personal favorite of mine is “Pinatubo” designed by Iwa Moto and Fritz Angel Fring. Why so? It was complete with elements that represent resiliency and progress over the volcanic eruption. The gown worn by Candidate 2 Eingel Lumbang (appropriately of Sapang Bato) was bedecked with elements of religiosity (church), industrialization (buildings), recovery (highway and tower). My favorite part is the flowing water beside the wooden houses. Such remarkable creation!

The writer served as judge in the Costume segment of Mutya Ning Angeles 2022 with both brain and beauty IC Calaguas and Reina Manuel)

CONGRATS ORGANIZERS. That afternoon filled with talents, skills and creativity won’t be complete without men and women filled with wits. They put up a show to everyone’s delight. Remember, it was a parade of costumes that snaked through the mall. We only see this during the SM Clark’s staging of Flores De Mayo. Pageantry and wits combined and they were personified by Reina Manuel and IC Calaguas, respectively. Of course, under the tutelage of Mayor Pogi Lazatin who even increased the prized money and incentives for the candidates and winners that night, instantly, as he was told of the overwhelming success.

Take a bow there, organizers. My personal kudos for bringing delight and total fun to Angelenos!.

At the end of costume parade and selection of winner, it went even clearer that Angeles City is blessed with talents.