Ms. Universe 2024 gowns reflect rich Bulacan jewelry and crown industry

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CITY OF MEYCAUAYAN—Ms. Universe Philippines 2024 Chelsea Anne Manalo’s gowns and costumes are reflections of Bulacan’s rich culture and tradition as they were inspired by the centuries old jewelry and crown industry in this city.

Forty year old Manny Halasan, a renowned and celebrated jewelry and crown maker and fashion designer from Meycauayan locally shared in a two]-week exhibit at SM City Mall Marilao that was opened on Friday his winning creations worn by Manalo during the Ms. Universe Philippines 2=024 competition and coronation night on May 22 in Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila.

The exhibit displays the four gowns of Manalo during the pageant—the long gown, the national costume gown, the back-up gown and the coronation evening gown.

A third generation of crown and jewelry makers in their family, Halasan made an infusion into fashion design and have already created numerous gowns for beauty queens in different pageants.

The gowns resemble the characteristics of a Bulakenya as given prominence and placed in a spotlight in the “La Bulakenya painting” of Juan Luna. Halasan said the gowns are also the reflections of the Malay race of the Filipinos, of a Bulakenya. The national costume gown design based on the competition flora and fauna theme highlights an endemic bird in the Philippines while the crowning gown is made to be very regal that suits a beauty queen where only the crown on her head is missing.

“Very regal ang gown during the coronation, queen gown talaga, crown na lang ang kulang,” (The gown is very regal for the coronation for the real queen herself and only the crown on her head is missing), he said.

The Ms. Universe competition in November in Mexico, he said, will be a similar but more broader platform to display, showcase and celebrate the rich Filipino culture and tradition and their ingenuity and creativity.   

“During the coronation night on May 22, we just had one back up gown, but for the Ms. Universe competition in Mexico this coming November, we would have three backup gowns,” he said in a media interview shortly before the exhibit opening.

Halasan would not disclose the highlights and major designs of the Manalo’s gowns in the November competition but he said what he has learned in the fashion design industry is to always become better and surpass your first creation. He said, the challenge really is not with fellow designers but to yourself.

“Ang challenge sa akin dati ay makipag-compete sa ibang designers pero over the years, natutunan ko na ang ang sarili ko ang kalaban ko. Iyon ang kalaban natin para mas lalong maging tagumpay. Dapat talbugan pa natin iyong naunang maganda nating nagawa. Dapat maging inspirasyon ka rin sa iba,” (The challenge for me at first was to compete with my fellow designers but over the years, I learned that my biggest competitor is myself. Our hardest foe is ourselves. We should strikingly beat our first creations with our succeeding ones. We should also become an inspiration to others), he said.    

Halasan was trained in his grandparents’ shop in Barangay Calvario, Meycauayan. He is the third generation of the Halasan-family-owned crown, jewelry and fashion business. For 6 decades, the Halasan name and creations has carved a reputation as one of the sought-after crown and jewelry providers for weddings, vital occasions as well as provincial, regional, national and international pageant affairs.

“The intricate designs and the depth of research and appreciation by a true artist was meticulously appreciated to every detail and position of each crystal, beads and layers after layer of ingenuity and uncanny skill. Threaded together and masterfully and hand-painted with a high level of taste. Dreamy and without a doubt, each masterpiece draws awe and approval as soon as it sets foot on stage,” Halasan and his team of fashion group design members said in a statement.

Halasan was a student at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Guiguinto town when he decided to hone his ideas on fashion and designs. He then studied at Fashion Institute of the Philippines and then infused more and new designs to their crown and jewelry business.

Halasan who first and once dreamt for his creations be worn in Ms. Earth, Ms. World, Bb. Pilipinas and in Ms. Universe and which all came true, said he could not ask for more but for an Oscars in the near future.

Oscars Academy Awards in different categories is a Hollywood most coveted award for the film industry.

Former TV personality Sunshine Garcia-Castro, wife of Vice Gov. Alexis Castro congratulates Halasan and asked Bulakenyos to pray both for the further success of the fashion designer as his creations that will be worn by Manalo will signify the country’s reign in the Ms. Universe competition.

Emmanuel Gatmaitan, SM Marilao manager said the exhibit runs until July 12 in SM Marilao mall. SM Baliwag and Pulilan will also hold the exhibit in August.

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