By Sarwell Meniano

BEST IN NAT’L DRESS. Airissh Ramos of Eastern Samar is the winner of the Miss Universe Philippines National Costume Competition at the Leyte Normal University on Thursday evening (May 4, 2023). Her costume, according to her, represents the thriving agribusiness and the “warmth and wonder” of the 23 municipalities of the province. (Photo courtesy of Tingog Partylist)

TACLOBAN CITY – The town of Arteche, Eastern Samar is all proud after their candidate bagged the Miss Universe Philippines national costume top award during the preliminaries Thursday night.

Mayor Rolando Boie Evardone thanked Airissh Ramos for bringing pride to their town and the entire province. The mayor also called on his constituents to support their candidate until coronation night this May 13.

“Indeed a proud moment for Eastern Samar! Someone from Arteche won the Best in National Costume of Miss Universe Philippines 2023 with gown designed and made in Oras town and earrings made in Can-avid town,” Evardone said in a social media post late Thursday.

Earning the highest score of 95.2 percent, Eastern Samar’s avant-garde ensemble is a “love letter to the farmers, a serenade to the gods.”

Designed by John Hubert Capito, the handwoven garment is made of tikog (reed grass) and buri (palm tree leaves) fibers and features a “cleverly constructed bodice, voluminous butterfly sleeves, a panuelo which beautifully drapes around the shoulders, and a cascading ruffled skirt and train.”

Ramos’ costume is embellished with pearls, wooden beads, and crystal which were made by artists from Oras National High School in the province.

According to her, the design is a representation of Eastern Samar’s thriving agriculture and the “warmth and wonder” of its 23 municipalities.

Picked for the 2nd place was Joemay Leo of Benguet and 3rd place was Kimberly Escartin of Southern Leyte. All winners received a sash and a PHP15,000 cash prize.

Miss Universe Philippines organizers held the national costume competition at the Leyte Normal University as part of the delegates’ Eastern Visayas tour from May 1 to 5.

The Eastern Visayas tour is a partnership of the Department of Tourism, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and Tingog Partylist.

During the event Thursday night, Tingog Partylist Rep. Yedda Romualdez said bringing the delegates to the region is an opportunity to showcase the “beauty of the region and hospitality of our people.”

“Make the most of this rare opportunity to represent the diverse culture of our country and create more opportunities for women’s empowerment for the desire of unity. I encourage you to be self-aware of the power of this platform gives you and to use your influence with purpose and integrity. It is time for our voices to be heard,” Romualdez told candidates.

Miss Universe Philippines delegates arrived in the region on May 1 and explored top destinations and landmarks in Tacloban City; Basey and Marabut Samar; Palompon, Palo, and Sta. Fe in Leyte province. (PNA)