NCCA ambassador and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray during her speech at the City Coliseum. // Photo by Jarrod Lorenz Asignacion.

National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) ambassador and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray encouraged Palaweños to have the deepest kind of love for arts and for local artists to continue tapping their creativity to express themselves and build a more solid foundation for arts and culture in the province.

Gray laid emphasis on this Tuesday during the opening of the “Sikatugyaw Festival” at the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum in celebration of the National Arts Month 2020.

She said arts helped her in successfully representing the Philippines in the Miss Universe 2018 pageant because her set of costumes was able to display its important features, such as the Mayon Volcano.

“Why is it important to advocate for Filipino art? When I competed and wanted to represent our country, the Philippines, I wanted to tell a story and I believe that art allows us to tell stories,” she said.

Gray said that the love for Filipino arts must not only happen during February, the arts month but throughout the year, emphasizing that it helps individuals in express their inner selves and everyday experiences.

Gray stated that she used art in the medium of textiles, telling stories through her gowns.

“They told stories of who we are, how we express ourselves, our human experiences, those that we have today. I wanted to tell the story of how strong, how unique, how creative our Filipino talents are,” she said.

“I hope you will join me this February to cultivate and celebrate the love for the Filipino arts,” she added.

Gray visited the city in 2018 as Binibing Pilipinas to promote her advocacy in HIV and AIDS awareness.

Gray along with NCCA, city, and provincial officials for culture and arts program opened the Philippine Arts Festival-Luzon dubbed “Sikatugyaw Festival” under the banner “Ani ng Sining”.