LOOK: Michelle Dee tributes Miss Universe gown to Apo Whang-Od
LOOK: Michelle Dee tributes Miss Universe gown to Apo Whang-Od
LOOK: Michelle Dee tributes Miss Universe gown to Apo Whang-Od
by Ellicia Del Mundo19 November 2023
Photo Courtesy: Michelle Dee / Facebook page

Miss Philippines Michelle Dee left many speechless and in awe due to the Apo Whang-Od-inspired gown she wore during the Miss Universe 2023 coronation night in El Salvador on Sunday, Nov. 19.

In an Instagram post, Dee shared that the all-black gown is her tribute to Whang-Od, the oldest mambabatok or traditional tattoo artist in the Philippines, who she describes as an “icon, preserving the rich cultural heritage of indigenous tattoo art.”

“She has achieved global recognition and symbolizes timeless beauty, coinciding with Miss Universe lifting its age restrictions, championing inclusivity and challenging age stereotypes. A true icon and the last of her kind, a symbol of bravery, beauty, and inclusivity… Whang Od,” she continued.

The 28-year-old Filipina beauty queen said the gown was created by her friend and designer of dreams Mark Bumgarner.


Bumgarner also designed her gown when she competed in the Miss Universe Philippines 2023. The said gown bagged the Best in Evening Gown title.

According to the Filipina beauty queen, every stitch of her Miss Universe 2023 gown was “crafted passionately and proudly dedicated to our country.”

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A post shared by MMD (@michelledee)

In a separate Instagram post, Bumgarner expressed his appreciation for Michelle.

“We love you @michelledee. Every stitch, every beadwork was made with love and pride, for you and our country,” he said.


“We may have not advanced but working with you has been one of the highlights of my career. You brought pride to us all. We wanted to show the world how vibrant our culture is , and I think we did.You did an amazing job! Love you,” Bumgarner added.

The Filipina beauty queen’s Miss Universe journey concluded earlier than everyone expected as she only made it into the Top 10.

Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios bagged the Miss Universe crown, the first for her country.

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