Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray (left). Image: Instagram/@otop.philippines

Catriona Gray visited Laguna to showcase some of its local products and businesses in her role as an ambassador of the Department of Trade and Industry’s OTOP project. The Miss Universe 2018 was also recognized as “Adopted Illustrious Daughter of Laguna” by the provincial government.

As the face of “One Town, One Product” (OTOP) Philippines, Gray will highlight small local businesses in various regions, with Laguna as her first stop.

I am lending my platform to our [Filipino] small businesses, MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises) and entrepreneurs,” the beauty queen said via Instagram today, Aug. 29.

Gray wants to use her influence to give these businesses “a hand up, to showcase their talent, creativity and ingenuity along with their stories in hopes that we can overcome the challenges together.” 

The beauty queen revealed that at the beginning of the year she and her team initially planned to go to numerous regions in the country to further showcase the Filipino culture. However, due to the pandemic and the strict quarantine measures, she was only able to visit her first province later into the year.

Raise Your Flag LAGUNA!” Gray declared. “Now, with so much of the community feeling the effects of the pandemic, I feel that my #RaiseYourFlag series has an even bigger purpose.”

Laguna holds a special place in Gray’s heart since it is her mother’s birthplace and home for the first seven years of her life.

The beauty queen thanked Laguna’s governor and vice governor, as well as the provincial board members and heads of municipalities, for conferring the said title on her. 

Gray donned an intricate embroidered powersuit and barong with matching face mask, created by Laguna designer Frederick Berches.

View this post on Instagram

Raise Your Flag LAGUNA!! 🇵🇭💛 Back at the beginning of the year, my team and I had planned trips to the regions of Philippines to further highlight and showcase our Filipino culture. But with how the first half of this year unfolded, that was just not possible. Now, with so much of the community feeling the effects of the pandemic, I feel that my #RaiseYourFlag series has an even bigger purpose. As @otop.philippines Ambassador, I am lending my platform to our filipino small businesses, MSMEs and entrepreneurs to give them a hand up, to showcase their talent, creativity and ingenuity along with their stories in hopes that we can overcome the challenges, together. 🇵🇭 Laguna, my mothers birthplace and home for the first 7 years of her life, is my first stop. 💛 I’m greatly honored to be recogonised with the title of Adopted Illustrious Daughter of Laguna by Gov Ramil Hernandez, Vice Gov Karen Agay, provincial board members and heads of municipalities. 🙏 Maraming Salamat po. I’m wearing a embroidered powersuit and barong made by designer Frederick Berches who hails from Lumban, Laguna…my next stop! 🇵🇭 #RaiseYourFlagLaguna 🇵🇭 #SupportLocalPH Captured by @dheejaymagcalas Styled @justine.aliman19 @styledbypatrickhenry Hair @kiel.hair, @cornerstone Note: Myself and all of my (limited) number of team have been swab tested and are taking every measure: mask wearing, handwashing/sanitizing, social distancing and limiting number of people present, throughout all of our visits. #StaySafe

A post shared by Catriona Gray (@catriona_gray) on

The ambassador disclosed that she and her small team underwent COVID-19 swab tests before pushing through with the visit.

She added that proper COVID-19 measures were followed throughout their stay such as mask-wearing, hand washing and sanitizing, social distancing and limited attendees.

The beauty queen also tried her hand at embroidery with the help of three generations of Lumban embroiderers, the oldest being 88 years old.

“Our Filipino culture is something that should not only be passed down and continued but also cherished and shared with all,” OTOP said. “We are so thankful for Ms. Catriona Gray for continuously giving her love, support and appreciation to our OTOP weaving communities.”  /ra

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