Michelle Dee became an Air Force sergeant for her national costume, eliciting cheers and jeers among local viewers of the pageant.
Michelle showcased her Philippine Air Force reservist training and the country’s tourism industry in her winged ensemble for the 72nd Miss Universe national costume show on November 17.
Created by Michael Barassi, the outfit was woven into a “solihiya” or rattan pattern design for a touch of Filipino craftsmanship.
Some Filipinos expressed their love for it, saying it looked different from the looks of past delegates.
“It’s so good to see something new or fresh in the Philippine National Costume,” an X user said.
“Grabe, for the longest time nagveer out na tayo sa Filipiñana! Ang ganda. Huhu,” another X user reacted.
“Nagandahan ako sa NatCos. Balakayojan. She did well! It’s something new. Hindi yung usual natin lagi na gown gown keme keme,” another Filipino on X commented.
Other users reacted to the mural behind Michelle’s wings.
“Can I just say na grabe yong details ng [national costume] ni MMD [Michelle Marquez Dee]??? Yong painting, yong dress which is handcrafted thoroughly and the execution— sobrang linis!” an X user said.
“Lowkey enjoyed yung NatCos ni MMD, aside sa fresh yung look, somehow, I noticed yung art sa likod niya is kinda similar din dun sa art ng parol ni Cat [Catriona Gray] nung NatCos din niya which is good, me thinks? But yea, WERK KA DYAN, MMD!” another X user reacted.
“Di niyo kinaya yung airplane na nga NatCos niya, nakapaint pa yung jeepney sa likod ganornnnn Filipinas!” a local viewer also cheered.
Some viewers, however, did not like the outfit, saying Michelle could have chosen other concepts amid the country’s rich culture.
“We really can’t get our national costume right, no? I mean given how rich our culture is, why this? All one needs to do is check national costumes in Sinulog, Dinagyang or even Aliwan Festivals to see how boring and foreign this one is,” an art collector commented.
Some Filipinos, meanwhile, shared witty remarks to express their thoughts on Michelle’s look.
“Anong walang connection sa Philippines nat cos ni MMD? It symbolizes kaya the desire of Filipinos to find greener pastures in other countries kasi joke time talaga pasweldo dito,” a Filipino on X said.
“MMD is wearing a national costume like an airplane which represents the overbooking and delayed flights of [Philippine Airlines] and [Cebu Pacific Air],” an X user said.
“Transformers and ate niyo! Pakak na pakak, Pilipinas!” another X user commented.
The Miss Universe 2023 pageant concluded in El Salvador on Sunday (Philippine time) with Michelle entering the Top 10 of the competition. She brought back the Philippines with a placement after last year’s non-placement.
Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios, on the other hand, won the pageant, the first Miss Universe crown for her country.