The Story Behind Paolo Ballesteros’ ‘Tikbalang’ Costume Design for Bb. Pilipinas Candidate

“Eat Bulaga” host Paolo Ballesteros is once again showcasing his amazing talent in fashion design as he revealed to friends and followers the story behind his latest creation: the national costume for Binibining Pilipinas contestant Graciella Lehmann.

The gown, called the Tikbalang, is inspired by the Philippine mythological creature that is half human and half horse. The costume is all white, with Graciella’s heels mimicking the horse’s hooves while she wears a giant headpiece resembling a horse’s head. She also holds a long white staff in her right hand.

“The Tikbalang takes on many forms in different traditions and superstitious beliefs. Others revered it as a magnanimous guardian of the forest,” Paolo shared in the official description of his creation. “A white horse-humanoid spirit that is responsible for the forces of nature that make the trees and plants grow, and the land to flourish in the area that will become its territory. Inhabiting large trees like the Balete tree, always on guard against anyone posing malevolence to its lair.”

He then described all the elements that make up the Tikbalang national costume. “This Tikbalang national costume is fashioned with intertwined branches of the Balete tree that forms the horse head and butterfly sleeves, and hugs the body down to its hooves as to conceal the creature’s looming presence. Sheets of translucent, ghostly-white fabric are decoratively draped as its beguiling mane and tail that dance with the wind as it lurks in the shadows. The body is adorned in lace, with white pearls and rhinestones flickering like diamonds that will captivate anyone who may glimpse at this elusive mythical creature.”

“Ethereal and sublime it may be, be wary of its eyes – blood red, glowing in the darkness of the night. Gaze and marvel in awe, and forever be lost in enchantment,” he added.

This isn’t the first time Paolo designed costumes and gowns for local beauty pageant candidates. He revealed in the past that he had already been designing for them in secret. The first time he publicly shared his creation was during the Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant in 2018 wherein he had designed a terno gown for candidate Agatha Romero. He has also worked with candidate Honey Cartasano in the 2019 and 2021 Binibining Pilipinas pageants for her own national costumes.

(ALSO READ: Paolo Ballesteros’ National Costume Design Is Among This Year’s Bb. Pilipinas Top 10)

The Binibining Pilipinas 2022 national costume showcase will be held on July 16 at the New Frontier Theater. The coronation night will then be held on July 31 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.


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