The evolution of Bea Gomez’s national costumes: From blue sea serpent to golden lunar dragon

December 11, 2021 - 12:03 PM
Bea Gomez_national costumes
The national costume of Bea Gomez in the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 pageant in this Instagram post of Axel Que and Beatrice Luigi Gomez, Miss Universe Philippines 2021 on stage during the National Costume Show at the Universe Arena in Eilat, Israel on December 10, 2021. (Photos from Instagram/axlaxelque and Miss Universe Organization/Benjamin Askinas)

The Bakunawa’s evolution.

This was what Filipinos noticed after Beatrice Luigi Gomez showed off her national costume in the 70th Miss Universe being held in Red Sea Resort in Israel.

The Philippine bet on Saturday paraded her golden costume designed by fellow Cebuano, fashion designer Axel Que, while its jeweled headpiece and intricate accessories were created by Manny Halasan.

Gomez’s costume is inspired by the “bakunawa,” a serpent-like dragon in the Philippine mythology, particularly in the Visayas region.

The bakunawa, a Visayan folk icon, is believed to be the cause of eclipses, earthquakes, winds and rains.

During a lunar eclipse, it is believed that the creature is attempting to swallow the moon in the sky.

“The golden lunar dragon seen here is the bakunawa’s final form and a metaphor for this contestant’s personal evolution. The mystery solved, this dragon has evolved!” the announcer said as Gomez showcased her national costume.

Pageant fans were impressed with her costume as they recalled what she wore in the national costume competition of Miss Universe Philippines 2021 before she bagged the crown.

“Definitely a transformation. Kudos to the team, the designer and to Luigi. Raise our flag,” another Twitter user said.

“OMG I LOVE THIS (starry-eyed emoji). The bakunawa has evolved,” a different fan noted.

Bakunawa in first form

Gomez at the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 competition wore a blue gown with long sleeves, a creation of Que. It was inspired by the bakunawa which was eventually revealed to be in its “mid-life cycle.”

Que previously shared a bit of the myth on her Instagram before.

READ: Rundown: Manila Carnival Queens’ inspirations for Miss Universe Philippines nat’l costume round

“One of the most captivating pieces of literature from our rich trove of folkloric history has got to be the tale of the Bakunawa. Each region and tribe might have different iterations of the mythical beast, and its origin story, but one thing is certain, it has been believed to have caused lunar eclipses, earning it’s notorious moniker: Moon Eater,” the designer wrote.

“The Bakunawa, beguiled by the 7 moon sisters’ beauty, decided to devour them to satisfy its lust. When the 7th moon was about to (be) swallowed up by the great serpent, Bathala intervened and told the people to bang pots and pans, which drove the beast away into the depths of the ocean. There, the Bakunawa bides its time, hoping for another chance at fulfilling its sinister desire while the people keep their pots, and pans ready, just in case,” Que added.

The designer said that the team went with the popular rendition of the creature which was a colossal sea serpent/dragon.

“We wanted to push the form further by opting for a non-traditional bottom — an avant-garde type of trouser — detailed with exaggerated micro pleated organza to simulate the fins of the legendary behemoth,” Que said.

Gomez’s double halo, the designer said, was a representation of the celestial phenomenon of the lunar eclipse.


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A post shared by Axel Que (@axlaxelque)

Bakunawa in final form 

Gomez at the Miss Universe National Costume show wore a gold gown which was revealed to be the bakunawa in its final form.

Que called the creation the “golden lunar dragon” which she said is a continuation of her narrative of the mythological creature.

“I’m taking my artistic license to a whole new level. The initial version was a bit restrained, it was more of a Drake (video game jargon used for a dragon’s stage of evolution), which is basically mid-life cycle,” the designer wrote on Instagram.

“I wanted to take everyone on this journey of growth and maturity, not just for the costume itself, but also as a metaphor for Bea’s personal evolution,” Que added.

“This is a personal, hypothetical envisioning of what the Bakunawa would look like had it succeeded in devouring the last moon. I chose gold to render the whole piece in because aside from its divine beauty, it is considered as the perfect element (because it’s chemically one of the least reactive), and to hopefully imbue this characteristic to the wearer, much like an enchanted armor,” the designer further said.


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A post shared by Axel Que (@axlaxelque)


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A post shared by Axel Que (@axlaxelque)

The national costume show in Miss Universe is an international tradition where contestants display an authentic costume of choice that best represents the culture of their home country.

Que previously hinted that Gomez’s national costume would be “something that’s unique, something that’s evolved, and bright.”

Pageant fans can vote for her national costume through the Miss Universe app or by visting the website.