Change and transition: Miss Grand Philippines stuns in symbolic nat’l costume

December 1, 2021 - 1:17 PM
Samantha Panlilio_NatCos
Samantha Panlilio in her national costume for Miss Grand International 2021 in these photos on Louis Pangilinan's Instagram with photo credits to Seven Barretto, Claude Villahermosa and Dariel Miraflor. (Photo from Instagram/

“Inspiring change, transition and hope.”

The national costume of Miss Grand International Philippines 2021 Samantha Panlilio is a testament to the experiences she has gone through before representing the country in the Thailand-based beauty pageant.

This was the comment of her costume suit designer, Louis Pangilinan, as he shared a glimpse of her one-piece hand-beaded attire in an Instagram on Tuesday.

Panlilio, who won the Binibining Pilipinas Grand International title last July, is the country’s representative to the ongoing Miss Grand International 2021. This pageant is set to crown its winner on December 4 in Bangkok.

During the national costume segment, Panlilio impressed the audience when she appeared on stage with the beaded suit and humungous white butterfly wings behind her back.

The wings and her headdress were designed by Santino Rivera.

On the other hand, her footwear is a creation of renowned designer Jojo Bragais, who also provided the official shoes of the Miss Universe 2020 bets.

Inspired by the Paru-Paro Festival held annually in Dasmariñas, Cavite, Panlilio’s costume is also a representation of her hometown.

Panlilio shared a clip of her performance at the Miss Grand national costume competition on Instagram.

In the video, she can be seen showcasing her costume with her wings glowing while the stage lights dim, highlighting her butterfly attire further.

The Philippine bet’s national costume earned laudatory remarks with some praising Panlilio for how she presented it to the international audience.

“Ang ganda nung eksena nung spotlight. [Naglagay] buhay sa butterfly. Kala namin sabotage. Grabe, [nerve-racking],” an Instagram user commented with heart emojis.

“You’re so stunning, Samantha!” another online user exclaimed in the comments.

“Pak na pak naman ang awrahan mo, Sam. God bless to your quest,” a different Filipino wrote.

Miss International Philippines 2021 Hannah Arnold also showed her support by commenting a series of Philippine flag emojis.

According to Pangilinan, Panlilio’s costume suit depicts the “flamboyant transformation of women empowerment.”

“Inspiriting change, transition and hope. Like Miss Grand International Philippines 2021 Samantha Panlilio, from a caterpillar, she goes through several stories before she become the beautiful being she is today,” he wrote on Instagram.

“A woman who is capable of changing and touching others with hope and joy — truly, a golden butterfly,” the designer added.

Celebrating change

The Paru-Paro Festival is being held on Dasmariñas every November 26, the same day that it became a city in 2009.

It symbolizes the city’s transformation through the years, from its barrio days in the Spanish era to its elevation as a component city.

The festival depicts the metamorphosis of a butterfly in a parade of costumed street dancers.

This is because the butterfly is known to symbolize transformation, resurrection, rebirth and endurance, according to Symbol Sage.

“Butterflies are among the most symbolic creatures because of how they transform through life. From small and humble caterpillars, these insects transform themselves into glorious, beautiful winged creatures. This is why butterflies are one of the most popular symbols of resilience and triumph,” its website said.

Pageants as way ‘out of comfort zone’ 

Panlilio previously said that the Binibining Pilipinas pageant had “pushed her even harder to be herself.”

“The best way to really evolve is to accept who you are and to really take it into heart,” she said in her introduction video in the national pageant.

Panlilio in another interview said that she wanted to join Bb. Pilipinas before to release herself from her “comfort zone.”

“After studying, I just wanna put myself out of my comfort zone and really meet people who have the same mindset,” she was quoted as saying.

“There are many career-driven women in Binibining Pilipinas and I think I am in the same boat. So definitely I want to expand my network in that area. I am joining Bb. Pilipinas because I have something to fight about. That’s something I want more people to be aware of,” the then-Cavite representative added.