MANILA -- Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray has been giving a glimpse of her trip to Zamboanga as an ambassador of the One Town, One Product (OTOP) project of the Department of Trade and Industry.
The beauty queen and singer has been using her social media platforms to promote Mindanao culture, from food to fashion.
Her latest post showed her learning to weave using nito vines -- which she described as "a kind of wild grass na abundant sa mga kagubatan ng Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte" -- from Subanen weavers.
"Actually, aksidenteng na-discover ng mga ancestors nila ang nito vines. Dahil matibay ito, ginawa itong basket ng kanilang ancestors for personal use. Hanggang sa unti-unti na nila itong binenta. Galing no!" she said.
"Through creating their handwoven products such as bags, wallets, baskets, and hats, these women weavers have been able to support their families' livelihoods and also put their children through school," she added.
In another post, Gray posted a photo of the dishes she tried at Dennis Coffee Garden, which she said offers "halal delicacies originating from the Tausug ethnic group in Jolo, Sulu."
"Each bite is more flavorful than the next. And the coffee is a third-generation specialty. Malanab!" she said.
The former Miss Universe also tried on a mascota, which she said is the traditional wear of the Zamboangueñas, particularly during the 1700s.
"A mascota is made up of six elements: ang corpiño (silk or cotton slip), candongga (panuelo), renggue (upper garment), sobre falda (tapis), cola (the skirt), and enaguas (inner lining of the skirt). Without just one of these elements, it is not a mascota," she said.
"Ang gusto ko ay mapadaling mag-social distancing kapag isinusuot ang mascota noh?! Ang laki ng sleeves!" she added in jest.
Early this week, she put on the Tanyak Tanyak, or makeup reserved for soon-to-wed couples in the Yakan tribe.
"Alam ninyo ba na ang Yakan tribe ay may sariling makeup? Tinawag itong Tanyak Tanyak and it's reserved only for Yakan couples na ikakasal. Kaya I'm so honored to be able to experience the art of Tanyak Tanyak firsthand with the blessing of the Yakan tribe leader, done by the Yakan tribe themselves," she said.
She continued: "'Yong mga patterns created with rice flour, water and bamboo tools represent the moon and stars. It represents the moon and stars being witness to your love. Sobrang ganda ng kultura natin, noh?"
On top of all these, Gray also showcased Zamboanga's beautiful beaches, saying the province is "everything I needed."
"Beautiful views and some of the best and freshest seafood! A trip to Sta. Cruz Island or Once Islas is a must!" she said.
Gray was named OTOP ambassador last July as part of the DTI's efforts to promote local weaving.
She drew wide praise during her Miss Universe campaign in 2018 for her patriotic wardrobe.