As it is the 10th year anniversary of the MEGA Pinoy Pride Ball, our tradition of celebrating our nation’s independence, we take a trip down memory lane reminiscing our cherished moments recognizing the country’s best in style, no less.
June 12th is more than just a date—it’s a celebration of the sovereign leadership Filipinos have fought for and so rightfully deserve. From age-old champions to modern-day heroes, we all had done our fair share on fighting for our rights and never cowering to the ever-constant challenges our nation-state has faced. Thus, it’s with great pride and honor up to this day to be able to hoist our flag and say all Filipinos are worth fighting for.
And as MEGA understands what it means to be a true Filipino, being the first-ever local glossy title published in Philippine history, we have always made it a point to pay tribute to all Filipinos who are making waves both locally and globally. Whether it’s through the world of business, art, charity, sports, politics, or technology and science, we always hope to be another stone in the building of a strong national identity.
But apart from honoring notable people who had greatly inspired thousands of Filipinos, the MEGA Pinoy Pride Ball throughout the years has also served as the stepping stone of extraordinary Filipino artistry, who eventually became one of today’s world-class designers. From Dubai-based designer Furne One of AMATO Couture, London-based designer John Herrera, to Los-Angeles based designer Puey Quiñones, the list just goes on and on, proving that MEGA will always be welcoming new talents in the industry and help boost their careers to the next level.
Now while the MEGA’s Pinoy Pride Ball should’ve held its culmination today, the unfortunate pandemic hinders us from doing so. However, MEGA will still be celebrating with everyone virtually and in high spirits, too. And as we do so, let’s take this perfect opportunity to take a look back through MEGA’s decade-long journey on celebrating our independence.
The First MEGA Pinoy Pride Ball (2010)
MEGA kicked off its first-ever Pinoy Pride campaign with Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez on the cover. World-class guests who ranked among the country’s top businesspeople, talents, designers, and artists arrived dressed to the nines. It was held in the historic champagne room of Manila Hotel—a historical fixture in itself, having withstood more than a century of parties and celebrations.
For the first venture of MEGA holding a grandiose ball, we highlighted The Musikito String Orchestra, who performed blindfolded in front of the audience. And at that moment, MEGA helped raise funds amounting to a whopping P800,000 in just two minutes for this talented and young ensemble of Malabon kids (aged 10 to 15 years old), which they needed in order to compete in the Summa Claude International Youth Music Festival in Vienna, Austria.Apart from raising funds, the celebration wouldn’t be complete without putting the spotlight to our ever-stylish guests following the theme Modern Filipiniana. We witnessed Ruffa Gutierrez wearing an ethnic-inspired dress by Rajo Laurel. Model and Radio DJ Raya Mananquil chose to show a subtle hint of skin in her one-shoulder, sheer gray dress by Pablo Cabahug. And making an exquisite take on modern Filipiniana was Miriam Quiambao in a colorful Dennis Martin terno embellished with crystals and giant flower appliqué on the side.
MEGA Pinoy Pride Ball: The Terno Ball (2011)
On its second year, MEGA concluded the month-long celebration with the Terno Ball. The Pinoy-themed fête, held in Makati Shangri-la, had a grandiose display of modern ternos fashioned by Frederick Peralta and choice pieces from Jewelmer worn by top models like Ria Bolivar, Valerie delos Santos and Jessica Yang.
With over 300 guests invited, the Rizal ballroom was filled with everyone’s own rendition of the terno. Instead of the usual cut and silhouette, the customary wear was updated with crystal embellishments and soft ruching just like Bela Padilla in Francis Libiran. Phoemela Baranda, on the other hand, looked so ravishing in a sparkling black terno by Rhet Eala. And finally, Khristine Gabriel who was a head-turner in an orange festive terno complemented by cutout appliqués by Francis Libiran.
MEGA Pinoy Pride Ball: The Global Pinoys (2012)
Following the successful run of MEGA Pinoy Pride Ball for the past years, it immediately became one of the most awaited fashion events in the country. And in 2012, we put the spotlight on Filipinos who are making a mark globally.
So, it was only fitting to celebrate Dubai-based designer Furne One and his glimmering golden collection titled, Mata Hari. And bringing life to his collection were top models of the country including Marina Benipayo.
And one of the stars who were lucky enough to witness this breathtaking collection was AsNTM host and mentor Joey Mead-King, looking all stellar in black sheer dress with modern cutouts. On the other hand, TV host Issa Litton was also present wearing a white mermaid gown embellished with elegant ostrich feathers.
MEGA Pinoy Pride Ball: Young Designer’s Competition All-Star Finale (2013)
In 2013, MEGA had two cover stars for our Pinoy Pride issue: Regine Velasquez and G Töngi. And as for MEGA Man, it undoubtedly needed to be Mr. Pure Energy, Gary Valenciano. For several years, the MEGA Pinoy Pride Ball was held at the Makati Shangri-la, and that time, it’s also where we announced the winner of MEGA’s Young Designer’s Competition All-Star: John Herrera.
The night had a sea of ingenuity and creativity in fashion as guests came in their best Filipino-designed and Filipino-inspired dresses. One of the notable fashionable guests was Maxene Magalona in a pink pouf dress. KC Concepcion was also present arriving in an A-line silhouette dress accented with tribal patterns. But captivating everyone the most was Vina Morales in an ethereal white figure-forming dress with lace cutouts.
MEGA Pinoy Pride Ball: Young Designer’s Competition 20th Anniversary (2014)
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the MEGA YDC, we made sure to pull all the stops as we commemorate our independence once again. The Rizal Ballroom of Makati Shangri-La was transformed into a vision of lush greenery. A fashion showcase led by MEGA YDC alumni Chris Diaz, Jeffrey Rogador, Gian Romano, and Veejay Floresca displayed a tour de force of exciting fashion, proving that they are indeed the new guards of Philippine fashion.
The entire ballroom was abuzz with chatter and high spirits as guests mingled in their interpretations of contemporary Maria Clara, ranging from traditional to colorful. One of which was Ruffa Gutierrez wearing a black dress punctuated by an astonishing bishop sleeve and statement bow. Another stunner that night was undeniably Sarah Lahbati in a beautiful white dress with a train fully embellished with ostrich feathers.
The Mindset Revolution (2015)
It was on this year when we started doing a social media campaign for MEGA’s annual ball. For weeks, a veritable who’s who filed into the MEGA studios to get their New PH portraits were taken, which would then be used as their social media avatars on Independence Day. Following the thrust of the New PH campaign, MEGA talked about a movement close to our heart: #BuyPhilippines.
It’s a documentary featuring the owners and purveyors of noted local retail brands discussed their challenge of maintaining their competitive edge, creativity, and obligations as Filipino brands in the face of globalization. And speaking of, this was followed suit by a stunning show from Dubai-based couturier Michael Cinco, who has garbed several global actresses for various functions. His mini-show highlighted his ever-sumptuous beadwork and dramatic silhouettes paired with an elegant, yet ethereal makeup.And since the theme was revolutionary red, all invited guests impeccably donned the fiery, statement-making hue. We saw Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach in a sheer lace mermaid dress, while Karylle wore a mermaid dress punctuated by a huge bow at the back. Nadine Lustre stood out amongst the sea of celebrities present as she wore a banig-inspired dress in A-line silhouette.
The New PH Unite (2016)
Picking up from last year’s “revolution” theme, this time MEGA celebrated connections, understanding that we stand stronger as a people, and that openness, inclusiveness, and compassion are the keys to a brighter, more diverse, more creative, and certainly more interesting reality. For this year, we were treated by a stunning capsule collection by Dubai-based designer Ezra Santos, who was also one of our global awardees.
Now as the dress code was white, each guest that arrived in the brand new grand ballroom of Shangri-La at The Fort had his and her own unique interpretation—from white ternos, tuxedos to voluminous ball gowns. To perfectly illustrate, Julia Barretto wore this stunningly simple yet elegant white ballgown exuding her youthful aura.
Kiana Valenciano, on the other hand, kept her look with a hint of sultriness as she donned a white crop top paired with a voluminous chiffon skirt. And the most sophisticated look would probably belong to Miss International 2016 Kylie Versoza with an off-shouldered lace cape gown.
The MEGA Millennial Ball (2017)
It was in 2017 when Millennials were starting to take over the new world. So, it was only fitting for us to focus on the future torchbearers of the Philippines, the generation of young and unafraid who have used a newfound power for the greater good. In the spirit of inclusivity, MEGA sought out ten Millennial trailblazers who have led the charge of change and inspiration with their respective fields.
Every year, we always feature a designer and in 2017, we put the limelight on the most promising designers of the country, John Herrera, Patty Ang, and Mark Bumgarner. Upon showcasing their magnificent capsule collections, they just proved that Filipino design and creativity is definitely global.
Speaking of global, let’s talk about the world-class #OOTNs of our guests who filled the grand ballroom in the City of Dreams. They were all clad in their own renditions of #MoFi (modern Filipiniana), such as Nadine Lustre, who veered away from donning a terno and wore a majestic white Thian Rodriguez dress accented with a plunging neckline.Anne Curtis had her own fairy tale moment as she arrived in an embroidered ball gown by one of our featured designers, Mark Bumgarner. But the real eye-catcher that night was none other than Vice Ganda. When he emerged at the gala, he wore a breathtaking white creation by John Herrera complemented by a mile-long train. But what really made this look memorable is how he utilized his platform properly by raising awareness on countless socio-political issues that the country was facing.
The MEGA Millennial Ball (2018)
The focus of the gala in 2017 was aimed at the Millennials, a risk that reaped many rewards—selfies, #OOTNs, and video stories included. For 2018, we chose to keep it the same because it’s really the Millennials—the next generation of leaders—who will remind us of Filipinos’ true brilliance and undeterred spirit in whatever crisis we face.
But days leading up to the fête, there was only one name on everyone’s lips: Furne One. Despite a collection that was heavily cloaked in mystery (one that rings into roughly 80 million pesos, no less), the anticipation was felt throughout the packed room. It served as his coming home, by all means, celebrating his 25th anniversary in the industry. And of course, no (Swarovski) stone was left unturned by Furne One and his team at Amato Couture.
The Marquis Events Place in Bonifacio Global City was filled with celebrities featuring their own interpretations of the night’s theme, Maximum Exposure. As the theme of the ball is definitely not easy to pull off a look that’s always age-appropriate, Maymay Entrata showed us she truly knows fashion. She donned a fully-embellished Furne One creation paired with a statement earrings.Another stellar lady was Lovi Poe, who dared to bare with a black sheer dress by Furne One. But the real head-turner of the crowd and gone all out with her interpretation of maximum exposure was Coleen Garcia. She wore a silver sparkling Rosenthal Tee gown embellished with beaded tassels complemented by a daring thigh-high slit and plunging neckline.
The MEGA Equality Ball (2019)
By 2019, as we have been celebrating the independence of our nation for several years, we now wanted to highlight another significance of what it means to have pride. And that’s standing up for everyone’s rights—whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or any other gender under the spectrum of the rainbow. We know what it means to be seen, heard, and supported, so it was only fitting to give the spotlight to all those who have truly raised the pride flag both on a local and global scale.
Held at the Sofitel Hotel Manila, Philippine fashion’s finest celebrities immediately shut down the red carpet with their own take around metallics. Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray arrived like a true queen in a rose gold figure-forming gown by Mak Tumang complemented by a stole.TV host Janeena Chan was beyond doubt fiercely sophisticated in a Daniel Manila jumpsuit with heavy sequin embellishments, complemented by a white tulle cape. But of course, one of our favorite style savants, Heart Evangelista-Escudero wouldn’t dare be left out. Never failing to mesmerize us one outfit after another, she shined amongst the crowd wearing a sequined rose gold dress with a thigh-high slit by Mark Bumgarner.
Overall, in the decade-long journey of MEGA celebrating the Philippines’ finest—regardless of what field you’re in—we will always make it a point to help strengthen our nation’s beacons of hope as they continue to strive harder for the betterment of our future. Independence day will always have a special role in our identity. While the messages we conveyed through the years were somehow varied, it all connotes one thing—there is no greater joy in being a Filipino. This is pride at its most essential, and we will keep on fighting when our independence and democracy is once again imperiled.