The week is almost over following the euphoric victory of Catriona Gray, representing the Philippines at the 2018 Miss Universe beauty pageant in Thailand this past Monday. Already there has been plenty of excitement in the wake of her win, including a hot debate between Filipinos and Australians in social media when an Aussie tabloid claimed the half-Aussie model-singer for her birth state of Queensland (even crossing out the “Philippines” label on its front-page headline). While that online mess is sorting itself out another, more local claim is being pressed towards Catriona, for wearing Tboli traditional dress of T’nalak fabric.

According to Philippine News Agency, South Cotabato Provincial Board Member Dardanilo Dar is moving to have Catriona Gray acknowledged as an “adopted daughter” of the province. The proposition was made at the SOCOT Provincial Board on Tuesday, December 18 – one day after Catriona won Miss Universe 2018. He explains that this is due to her contributions in promoting South Cotabato. Catriona had performed in a series of “This is Philippines” videos showcasing her in various travel destinations in the country. For the “This is Mindanao” segment she was featured in SOCOT, primarily in the Lake Sebu area in traditional attire.

Garbed in T’nalak fabric dress, Catriona was filmed in scenic locations such as the Seven Falls of Lake Sebu and in the surrounding Tboli traditional villages, even introducing the area by its tourism moniker as the “Land of Dream-weavers”. Parts of this footage were shown during the Miss Universe pageant when Catriona took her turns on the stage.


She herself had been an honored guest during the 2018 T’nalak Festival and South Cotabato Foundation Anniversary festivities last July, during which the Tboli municipal government already declared Catriona to be their “adopted daughter”. In BM Dar’s opinion, extending the adopted daughter honor for the newly crowned Miss Universe to the entire province of SOCOT was only fitting. In his words, “It was a great honor for the entire province to be showcased in a big international event like the Miss Universe.”

Catriona herself had a great time during her visit to the province, gushing about in in her Instagram page. “Had the most amazing first day in South Cotabato!” She wrote on a post. “Being the last day of the T’nalak festival we witnessed all of the dance groups as they danced down the streets and showcased their regions and cultures!”

Somehow this sounds like a better way of connecting Catriona Gray and her Miss Universe victory to a certain locale in many Filipinos’ opinion, not like the exclusivist attitude of the Australian tabloid that seemingly rejected all of her Filipino half to focus only on the Aussie part, something that has already rubbed Filipinos on social media the wrong way.

Images courtesy of Philippine Star

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