Catriona Gray, a queen and cultural warrior
Among Cat’s exploits these days is to advocate for everything Filipino
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray continues to put the Philippines’ arts and culture at the forefront of her work as the #RaiseYourFlag series heads to Zamboanga, Mindanao.
Not only did the Filipina-Australian beauty queen make us proud by winning the country’s fourth Miss
Universe crown, she also brought honor to the Philippines by bringing local fashion to the global stage. Even though her reign has ended, she continues to champion Filipino culture through her own platform.
During her time down south, Catriona met the women of the Yakan tribe and learned about a beauty custom unique to the indigenous group.
Known as the tanyak tanyak, the face painting tradition is reserved for the tribe’s nuptial ceremonies. Worn by the couple to be wed, the painting is done with the use of bamboo tools dipped in a thick mixture of rice flour and water.
The pattern features circles, spots, and diamonds as design elements, representing the moon and the stars being witnesses of the union. How romantic is that?
Meanwhile, her collaboration with
One Town, One Product Philippines proved to be more than just a fashion and travel story, but an educational one as well.
On a recent trip to Laguna, the 26-year-old ambassadress for the One Town, One Product (OTOP) PH program by the Department of Tourism, met the people behind the province’s crafts as part of her #RaiseYourFlag series.
“With so much of the community feeling the effects of the pandemic, I feel that my #RaiseYourFlag series has an even bigger purpose,” she says. “I am lending my platform to our Filipino small businesses, MSMEs, and entrepreneurs to give them a hand, to showcase their talent, creativity, and ingenuity along with their stories in hopes that we can overcome the challenges, together.”
From discovering Laguna’s tastiest delicacies and sustainability efforts to finding the first cotton twinning industry in the country, Catriona’s trip made us long for our own travel goals. But from all the things she saw in Laguna, what caught our attention was the shoes she wore in one of her visits. Guess what? A special footwear is named after the young advocate herself.
Designed by Liliw-based brand Aishe Footwear, the Catriona abaca mules feature materials locally sourced, all handcrafted by sapateros in Liliw, with an embroidered three stars and a sun emblem as a finishing touch.
“Kinikilig ako kasi (I was overjoyed because) Filipino brand Aishe Footwear created shoes in my honor,” she says. “I was even able to experience putting together my own pair of the ‘Catriona’ shoe!’”
The mules are among the many creations of the brand. Based in the Tsinelas Capital of the country, Aishe Footwear produces many kinds of artisan shoes, in a variety of aesthetics—including crocheted and patchwork—in colors mirroring the town’s vibrant culture.
With Philippine style and destinations at the forefront, we cannot wait to see what’s next in Catriona’s #RaiseYourFlag adventures.