The biggest Philippine fashion event of the year celebrates the people who make us proud to be Filipinos.
On Independence Day, the Philippines’ best fashion magazine brought back its annual MEGA Ball. This time, the grand event’s bedrock was the celebration of Filipino excellence in the field of fashion, beauty, culture, sports, and entertainment.
In keeping with its identity, MEGA recognized the Filipinos and Filipinas who are uplifting our country through their work and dedication. MEGA salutes these personalities, brands, companies, and groups, who were named the Pinoy Pride Awardees.
For more than 50 years, Ballet Philippines has been revered for having cultivated and nurtured the best dancers in the country and abroad. As the leading professional classical and contemporary dance institution in the Philippines, Ballet Philippines continuous to leave a legacy that has been invincible since it was founded in 1969 by National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, with the support of Eddie Elejar and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Having mounted the biggest and most relevant shows in the past decades, the institution truly deserves to be called a pride of the Philippines.
In a country where expressing one’s identity has yet to be truly accepted, Fifth Solomon broke boundaries and opened himself up to the public. Undaunted by uncertainties, he spread his wings wider than his naysayers’ influence. A former Pinoy Big Brother housemate, Solomon has evolved into a writer and an award-winning director. To wit: In 2012, his Metro Manila Film Festival Short Film entry Manibela won him the Most Gender Sensitive Award. Now, one of his biggest projects is taking him to the global stage: Solomon is Drag Race Philippines’ producer. Pride and flair are definitely words that suit this multi-hyphenate.
It’s not easy to say “beauty with a purpose” and actually mean it. But Bioten has imbibed that mantra since its creation. Using natural ingredients, the Bioten experts use years-long experience, knowledge, and science to create safe and effective products for all types of skin. The products’ formulas are paraben-free, dermatologically tested, and go through a rigid quality-control process. In their efforts to continuously evolve, they have done what they had always aimed to do: to create beauty with a purpose, and save the environment while they’re at it.
When Pia Wurtzbach uttered “confidently beautiful with a heart,” many people thought it was the usual “beauty-queen answer.” But as the Miss Universe 2015 revealed herself to a growing fanbase, everyone saw that beneath that glamorous and beautiful exterior is a soul that is even more captivating. Even as she passed on the crown to her successor, Wurtzbach tirelessly worked on-and-off-camera to help raise awareness of HIV and AIDS. With that, too, she has been using different platforms available to her to give voice to minorities and the LGBTQIA+ community. Her other achievements/advocacies include partnering with Love Yourself Inc., a local organization raising HIV awareness; getting invited to the TEDxP&G Singapore Talk, where she talked about the importance of mental health; helping raise funds for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), together with her fiancé Jeremy Jauncey; helping raise awareness of menstrual health hygiene through educational videos produced with the Department of Education; raising over Php 300,000, with fellow beauty queens Carla Lizardo and Bianca Guidotti, for Save the Children; serving as volunteer for the for the COVID-19 vaccination of HIV frontliners and people with comorbidities; and becoming a UNAIDS Goodwill ambassador for Asia and the Pacific.
Indeed, we must hail a true queen.
She is the first-ever Philippine athlete to have won a gold medal in the Olympics. If that’s not worth all the veneration, we don’t know what is. But Diaz is more than just that once-elusive medal, especially for women and young girls in the Philippines and around the world. Before the biggest game of her life, we watched her (through her Instagram account) go through seemingly endless hours of training, using what’s available in her rented space, while she’s stuck in a foreign country during an unprecedented pandemic. She conquered what was once deemed as a man’s sport, and she was fabulous while she was at it. (She’s known to wear her red lipstick during training and competitions, which makes her a real rockstar in our eyes.) Hidilyn is proof that with passion and determination, women can truly be whatever they want to be.
It’s hard to transition into your true passion when you’ve already been molded as something else. But Bret Jackson worked hard to do that—and it paid off. A former Pinoy Big Brother contestant and teen heartthrob, Jackson went back to his roots and his true passion: music. With the sole purpose of creating a venue for undiscovered Filipino artists—especially those in the Visayas region—to showcase their talents, he formed Paraisla, a music group and marketing studio. The idea behind Paraisla came to him while he was staying in his hometown in Dumaguete City and touring its neighboring islands. Now, with his momentum, we wouldn’t be surprised if his work would get more recognition in the near future, and give the Filipinos more talents to be proud of.
Miss Universe Philippines Organization
There are few countries in the world that take beauty pageants as seriously as the Philippines. Through the years, the competition has become way more than a beauty contest: it has become a stage for women to express their thoughts and ideas, and promote their advocacies to a bigger audience. With this in mind, the Miss Universe Philippines Organization, led by its director, Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up Shamcey Supsup, brought together the topmost experts in the field to help women achieve their dreams, while bringing with them the name of the Philippines. In the years to come, the country will have more crowns in its collection, and with it, a bigger sense of pride.
Filip + Inna
In a world of fast-fashion, slow and purposeful fashion takes a lot of patience, determination, and passion to achieve—much more so, if one has to work with artisans from different regions in the country. But Len Cabili, founder of Filip + Inna has such love for the Philippines, she was able to build a brand that is pure in its motive to create pieces that advocate for, and even advance, Filipino artistry and culture. Each piece is meticulously crafted by the hands of Filipinos and Filipinas who have nurtured traditions from one generation to the next. There is no greater pride than having a legacy surrounded by people who breathe and live the Filipino way.
Heart Evangelista has more than 10 million followers on Instagram. She has been all over the world, attending the biggest fashion events and having drinks and tea with some of the biggest names in the fashion industry (we’re talking Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, French fashion designer Christian Louboutin, to name a few). And yet, she could talk freely and carelessly about anything related to the Filipino way of life—remember that meme worthy post about buying corned beef in a glamourous dress? Evangelista’s influence on fashion and the Filipino audience has grown a thousandfold since she started show business in her early teens. She has evolved from being a model to an actress, to a painter, to a global fashion icon—and there are no signs of her slowing down. With all the projects in her pipeline, there’s nowhere for her to go but up.
Gary Valenciano is called Mr. Pure Energy for a reason. His songs, whether soulful or fast in rhythm, have a way of uplifting and invigorating his listeners. Not only that, but his music has been touching the lives of Filipinos for generations—an accomplishment attained by only a few names in the industry. In a league of his own, and unstoppable in his evolution and constant reinvention, Gary Valenciano is a Filipino icon worth emulating.
Putting together brands and talents that embody the rich culture and heritage of the Philippines, ArteFino has grown into one of the biggest creative collectives in the whole country. Never veering away from their vision of providing a space for all kinds of beautiful Filipino craftsmanship, ArteFino reaches even the far-flung areas of the country to collaborate with artists who share their passion. The movement is proof that we are stronger when we work together.
The MEGA Ball 2022 is sponsored by DITO Telecommunity, Jo Malone London, TUMI, Avignon Clinic, Nespresso, Victor Consunji Development Corp., OPPO, Y.O.U Beauty, H&M, Alberto Shoes, BranReluao and Associates, Instituto Español, ASUS, and Don Papa Rum.