Philippine bet Samantha Bernardo has emerged as one of 10 standouts at the live broadcast of Miss Grand International preliminary competition Thursday night in Bangkok, Thailand.
For the opening segment, the 28-year-old model wore a gown designed by Filipino designer Louis Pangilinan. Called “Lipad,” the shimmering ensemble represents the yellow-throated leaf bird, which is endemic to Bernardo’s home province, Palawan.
“This gown inspirits the small bird with broad wings that is undoubtedly recognizable by its green body and yellow throat,” the designer said in a social media post.
“This emerald green-colored gown is premeditated with hand-embroidered beads and sequins. Accentuated with gold crystals as a representation of the yellow throat of the bird and feathers from fibers extracted by hand and worked into fine threads woven together in the lower part of the gown,” added Pangilinan, who also designed the gowns of Miss Japan and Miss Dominican Republic.
Bernardo got the third highest number of online votes, following representatives from Cambodia and Indonesia. Guatemala and Ecuador rounded out the five most popular candidates in national costume.
The other half of the Top 10 candidates were selected by the judges. The five countries include Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Panama.
From the Top 10, only six ladies will make it to the next round. This will include the three candidates with the most number of votes, and three picked by the judges.
Miss Grand International will then pick three “Best in National Costume” winners.
The two-hour preliminary competition, a run-up to tonight’s coronation, was divided into two parts — the evening gown competition, and then the swimsuit round.
For the swimsuit competition, Bernardo started her performance with her signature twirl, a strut she has mastered after joining Binibining Pilipinas three times. She playfully glided on the stage even pointing her finger to the camera and ended her walk in a sultry stance.
The pageant frontrunner is carrying a well-meaning advocacy as she competes against 62 other delegates to win the country’s first-ever Miss Grand International title.
Bernardo is a spokesperson of Malaria Free Philippines, which partners with the Department of Health and Kilusan Ligtas Malaria to fully eradicate malaria in the country by 2030.