Ladies of La Union

DESIGNER Nikky Ordinario (left) and Vin Abrenica.

Unwavering confidence and fearless determination are the essence of modern womanhood, this year’s Mutia ti La Union (Miss La Union) and the provincial government of La Union believe.

This year’s theme, “EmpowHER,” thus hopes to inspire all to push boundaries and shape a future that celebrates diversity, challenges social norms and breaks stereotypes.  

After they were officially sashed, 20 candidates marked the beginning of their journey towards empowering their communities and embodying the unwavering confidence and fearless determination of women in La Union.

Reigning titleholder, Supiden’s Kristine Billy Mateo Tabaday, who won exactly a year ago, will crown her successor tonight, 2 March, at the Baywalk Poro Point in the City of San Fernando, La Union.

Tabaday’s triumph in 2023 marked the third consecutive year for the municipality of Sudipen taking home the crown. It was a back-to-back win for Meghan Sanglay and Divina Marie Villanueva from the same town.

For having eight titles to date, the municipality of Agoo is the most successful in Mutia ti La Union. It’s the only municipality to have been crowned six consecutive times, from 2012 to 2017.

The annual beauty pageant began in 1978 as the Miss La Union competition. It became a major annual activity celebrating the founding of the province in 2011. After the Iloko code was passed, the pageant became known as Mutia ti La Union, in 2012.

Miss Universe Philippines 2014 Mary Jean Lastimosa, Miss Grand International 2016 1st Runner-Up Nicole Cordoves and Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental 2019 Emma Tiglao will inspire and lead the grand coronation as hosts.

Excitement is building as celebrity performer and heartthrob Joshua Garcia and Kyle Echarri also join the celebration.

Right after the grand coronation night, pageant fans and enthusiasts can celebrate through song and dance at the Ayat Fest 2024: La Union Founding Anniversary. Ben&Ben will rock the stage and bring high-energy during the after concert.

Beauty, talent and local creativity

Days leading to the coronation night, the 20 official candidates honed their communication skills and knowledge at the Women Empowerment Symposium and Q&A Training led by Karen Agustin-Ostrea.

The training further empowers the candidates to become effective advocates for women’s rights and catalysts for positive change in the province.

They enhanced their dance skills to deliver an exhilarating performance through the workshop of Kervin Mendiola.

Under the guidance of director Bernard Maybituin, the candidates are now ready to shine on stage with grace and confidence through the Stage Discipline Training.

The Mutia ti La Union Pre-Pageant and Abel Bangar Fashion Show were hosted on 24 February at the La Union Convention Center, marking the opening of La Union’s 174th Founding Anniversary celebration dubbed as Ayat Fest 2024: 174 Years of Celebrating Love, Celebrating Unity.

From traditional dances to modern renditions of La Union’s cultural heritage, along with singing performances, magic shows and declamation and oration pieces, the pre-pageant was a showcase of beauty, talent and local creativity as candidates took the stage with their talent presentations.

For the fashion show, candidates modeled resort wear featuring locally produced Abel Bangar textile-turned-into-pieces by local designers from the province. These pieces were also judged as they took part in the Mutia ti La Union competition.

Reigning queens of the province and local male models, together with actor Vin Abrenica, strut the runway wearing the Formal Glam Abel Bangar Collection of Nikky Ordinario, a designer from Balaoan, La Union.

“Let us set aside our differences and come together to celebrate the love and unity that define La Union,” Governor Raphaelle Veronica “Rafy” Ortega-David said.