In her participation in this year’s Binibining Pilipinas pageant, Herlene Nicole “Hipon Girl” Budol embodied how it is to be a ‘diamond in the rough’. With her comedic personality and humble background, Herlene is not your typical beauty pageant contestant. However, this didn’t stop her from chasing her dreams and during the coronation night, she finally found her sparkle.
A revelation during the long gown competition, Herlene wore a gown designed by Rian Fernandez. Taking inspiration in our agricultural industry, particularly towards our farmers and their produce, Fernandez describe his work as:
An intricately purely hand embroidered full Swarovski cape gown adorned with silver eyeshape with metal claw and lochrose round one hole Xirius. It is inspired with the rice plant also known as Palay.This piece is an extravagant display of opulence and artistry that pays tribute to the local farmers of our country as they give us a bountiful harvest… Ani.
Embracing her branding and identity, the gown also features a shrimp design embroidered at the back.
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Rian Fernandez, whose name you may be familiar with, designed Samantha Panlilio’s gorgeous gown for Miss Grand International 2021. Additionally, he created the costumes worn by P-POP superstars SB19 for the pageant’s opening number.
A breath of fresh air, Herlene broke pageant stereotypes when she spoke Tagalog during the Q and A segment. This may not have been the first time that this has happened, but her sincere response undoubtedly made an impression.
A fitting question, she was asked about her biggest character transformation during her time in the pageant. Here’s what she has to say:
Para sa akin, isang karangalan ng nakatungtong ako dito sa Binibining Pilipinas, bilang isang binibining hindi inaasahan. Para sa akin, ang sarap pala mangarap. Ang sarap mangarap. Walang imposible. Isa pong komedyante na laki po sa hirap, at ang aking transpormasyon ay ang magbigay ng inspirasyon. Because I know for myself that I am beautiful, because I know for myself that I am uniquely beautiful with a mission.
Finishing first runner-up, Herlene might have been a few inches away from winning a crown but the message she tried to transcend has won her the admiration and respect of many. Her story and transformation are truly an inspiration that with faith, determination and authenticity, anyone can become who they want to be.
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Congratulations, Herlene! We are excited about what’s in store for you as both a celebrity and a reigning Binibining Pilipinas Queen!
Vee De Serra is a go-getter and a writer driven by passion. When in doubt, Vee believes that "Life isn't fair but it is up to you make it one". As a city and a beach person, when the sun is out, expect Vee to spend hours getting lost in the concrete jungle or laying by the shoreline with both finishing the day by watching a beautiful sunset.