Binibining Pilipinas 2022 candidate Graciella Lehman of Oriental Mindoro is the talk of the town for her unusual choice of national costume.
On Monday, July 4, 2022, the creative national costumes of the pageant's 40 candidates were unveiled in an exhibit held at Farmer's Plaza in Cubao, Quezon City.
The photoswere shot by celebrity photographer Raymond Saldaña.
Graciella definitely stood out in her 18-foot Tikbalang-inspired national costume.
Tikbalang is the half-human and half-horse creature of Philippine folklore.
On Tuesday, July 5, 2022, Graciella talked about her national costume via a pageant vlog on YouTube called Pageant Trends.
Graciella revealed that it was Eat Bulaga! host Paolo Ballesteros who made her national costume.
She said, "Sobrang nakakataba po ng puso because this is very well-thought of. This is a collaboration between me and Paolo Ballesteros.
"I'm so happy that... This is exactly how I imagined it to be."
The Tikbalang was actually one of the three ideas she pitched to Paolo.
Graciella revealed, "I actually had a game plan. I suggested three costumes.
"First, the Tikbalang [then] Tamarraw which is from our province in Oriental Mindoro, and also the manananggal.
"The Tikbalang, I think, stood out for mama Paolo that's why we pushed through with it for the national costume.
"And I'm really happy that marami pong na-capture nung costume na yun. I feel like this is a game-changer in pageantry. It's something new to the eyes."
Paolo has been designing national costumes for aspiring beauty queens for quite some time now.
But it was only in 2018 when he officially showcased his talent in creating dresses—one of them was the Filipiniana gown worn by Agatha Lei Romero during the Mutya ng Pilipinas 2018 terno competition.
Paolo also designed two other national costumes for model/aspiring beauty queen Honey Grace Cartasano.
This included the Suman-inspired Filipiniana, which Honey wore during the Binibining Pilipinas 2019 competition.
Paolo also designed the Higantes festival-themed costume Honey wore during the Binibining Pilipinas 2020 pageant.