'I'm first and foremost a Filipina': Catriona Gray is new arts, culture ambassador
Catriona Gray
Charisma Lico-Santos

'I'm first and foremost a Filipina': Catriona Gray is new arts, culture ambassador

Earl D.C. Bracamonte (Philstar.com) - February 26, 2021 - 2:08am

MANILA, Philippines —  In celebration of Arts Month in the Philippines, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) named Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray as its goodwill ambassador.

The Filipino-Australian beauty from Oas, Albay will henceforth espouse the agency's various causes related to the arts, culture and our heritage.



"Even before I was chosen to represent the women of the world, I always consider myself, first and foremost, a Filipina! I have always been proud of our culture, our people, and our creative spirit. And I want to learn more! Together, we can be prouder and stronger in a time when we need to be proud Filipinos," revealed Cat on her teaser video, "Kultura 101 with Catriona Gray."

She also invited online audiences to watch and interact at the "Padayon" forum on NCCA's social media pages.

"Being an ambassador, I find so much information especially in the National Museum of the Philippines, such as research materials, footage and photographs I can show you. Every episode, I will share what I have learned from aspects of our arts and culture."

The first episode, which aired last Saturday afternoon, titled "Parikitan," explored the ways how pre-hispanic inhabitants adorned themselves.

"The jewelry/accessories of our indigenous peoples say much about color and style. Even before we were colonized, the islands were rich sources of gold, as evidenced by unearthed collections displayed at the Ayala Museum that dates back to the 12th century; some 300 years before we were colonized by Spain," she said. 

In life and death, pre-hispanic Filipinos showed great style and flair. The Boxer Codex contained in the journals of the 'conquistadores' will attest to that. Our ancestors were great craftsmen in making fine jewelry. In terms of adornment, our indigenous peoples showed their love for materials, like beads from all over the world procured through trading, which, when woven, showed social status and wealth.

Cat's experience with the T'bolis in Lake Sebu of South Cotabato was part of her Miss Universe journey. "I wore their traditional outfit complete with accessories - wearing a culture of beauty and skill. Also, I've tried the Yakkan make-up, tanyak-tanyak... Speaking of body art, in the tattooing of the Kalingas, you have to deserve a tattoo because of bravery and leadership. The three stars and a sun were symbolism for the flag. Gusto ko may watawat na pwede kong isuot and that's how I came up with the design for my ear cuff during the pageant."

The NCCA's mandate is pursuant to Sec. 8 of Republic Act No. 7356 in formulating policies for the development of culture and the arts. The second part of the five-episode series will delve into fashion and its manifold foibles. Titled "Usapang Habi" (Weave), the episode, and the others following it, will be aired this Saturday at 2 p.m. and subsequent weekend afternoons thereafter on the NCCA Facebook page.

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