'Diwata Waling-waling', 'Agila ug ApoDuWaling'

Davao bets’ national costumes in MUPH carry region’s cultural richness, natural beauty
Maria Isabel Pelayo of Davao City (Left) wearing 'Diwata Waling-waling' and  Johanna Puyod Yulod of Davao Region (Right) wearing 'Agila ug ApoDuWaling' during the national costume competition of Miss Universe Philippines 2024 on Sunday evening, April 28 in Sultan Kudarat.
Maria Isabel Pelayo of Davao City (Left) wearing 'Diwata Waling-waling' and Johanna Puyod Yulod of Davao Region (Right) wearing 'Agila ug ApoDuWaling' during the national costume competition of Miss Universe Philippines 2024 on Sunday evening, April 28 in Sultan Kudarat.Photo by Miss Universe Philippines

Miss Universe Philippines 2024 representatives Maria Isabel Pelayo of Davao City and Johanna Puyod Yulod of Davao Region flawlessly showcased their 'Diwata Waling-waling' and 'Agila ug ApoDuWaling' national costumes among 51 other candidates in Sultan Kudarat on Sunday evening, April 28, 2024.

Pelayo’s national costume is inspired by the “Queen of Philippine Orchids, Waling-waling,” designed by Dabawenyo designer Mark Sayad. Waling-waling, once worshiped by the native Bagobo as a “diwata,” is considered one of the most beautiful orchid species endemic to the island of Mindanao, particularly to the tropical forest of Mount Apo and the provinces of Davao.

Photo by Miss Universe Philippines

“‘Diwata Waling-waling’ is a couture costume that embodies the essence of mystical guardianship and natural splendor. ‘Diwata Waling-waling’ is the protector of the 11 tribes in Davao, exuding an aura of authority, mirroring the role as a “diwata” and as a guardian of the land and its people,” Mark Sayad captioned on Facebook.

Pelayo’s national costume is also a symbol of "Sinag," the faithful eagle companion of "Diwata Waling-waling," which embodies the spirit of unity and symbiosis between humans and nature. "Sinag" symbolizes the sense of flight and freedom, epitomizing the untamed beauty of the wilderness and the enduring spirit of camaraderie. With its blend of traditional craftsmanship, symbolic imagery, and mythical storytelling, the "Diwata Waling-waling" is a beaded gown adorned with Mindanaoan beads.

“Diwata Waling-waling pays homage to the cultural richness and natural beauty of Davao City, celebrating the timeless bond between humanity and nature; the flora and fauna,” Sayad added.

“At first, of course, it's a little nerve-wracking. You want to ensure that you're doing justice to the outfit, its elements, and its purpose. However, by the end of it, I truly enjoyed representing my home with pride. It was challenging, but I was thrilled to have succeeded. Excitement filled me throughout the experience,” Pelayo shared.

Pelayo said on a side note that in every MUPH activity, she gives her all while ensuring that her energy is evenly distributed, as this is her strategic game plan for the entire journey.

Photo by Miss Universe Philippines

On the other hand, Yulo's national costume embodies the iconic symbols of Davao: The Philippine Eagle and its habitat in ApoDuWaling — Mt. Apo, Durian, and Waling-waling. 

Designed by Stephen Azarcon, the ensemble features the mascot in green and shades of red and pink, highlighting the hues of Davao's rich biodiversity. The country's national bird, though critically endangered, soars freely in the well-protected national park and is nurtured by the flora and fauna of Mt. Apo, locally known as Apo Sandawa, the highest point in the country.

“A hand-held fan and minaudiere mimicking the famed durian and Waling-waling further accessorize the costume. Finally, a headpiece that bursts into rays of hope and love completes this ensemble resonating with Davao’s gift of natural beauty and bounty to the rest of the universe,” Azarcon said in a Facebook post.

Pelayo and Yulo also capitalized on the familiar surroundings of their home court in Mindanao, adding an extra layer of confidence to their performance.

Pelayo and Yulo exude pride as they gracefully carry the symbols of Davao’s diverse biodiversity onto the stage, eloquently sharing its captivating story with the universe.

With the conclusion of the Mindanao leg in Sultan Kudarat for MUPH 2024, Pelayo and Yulo ensured that the journey is far from over as they remain committed to representing the pride of Davao.

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