Exploring Mindanao’s Visage: The Vogue PH Journey Pt. 1

The team behind Vogue Philippines shares a glimpse into the making of the groundbreaking April 2024 issue, “Faces of Mindanao”. 

“To be seen and heard”—this short phrase flooded Vogue Philippines’ inboxes since the launch of their April 2024 issue that fronts the southern region’s makers and cultures. In a groundbreaking moment for global fashion, the beauty of Mindanao steps into the spotlight, thoughtfully curated by the Vogue Philippines team. 

“When we first began crafting the idea for Vogue Philippines, we hoped to create a space that spoke to and for the Filipino, where we could be seen and heard, with our voice recognized, and resonating. We felt that it was our time to help shine a light on our countrymen from Mindanao and bring their stories to our local and global audiences,” says Bea Valdes, Editor-in-Chief. 


Unraveling Diversity and Representation

The journey began with hundreds of pages and images that echoed back within the Vogue Philippines team. Be it from fashion, beauty, or culture, each member presented a range of topics and personalities they wanted to feature. 

For the April issue, the fashion team conducted a casting call in Davao last December 2023. More than 300 aspiring models from General Santos, Sarangani, Basilan, Maguindanao, Cotabato, Bukidnon, and more were met by the members of the Vogue team. The final selects were featured in catalogs such as a fashion editorial in Bukidnon, a beauty editorial lens in Davao by Neal Oshima and Mark Nicdao, and the April cover story photographing Muslim and Tausug Shaira Ventura in Manila. 


A five-time crowned beauty queen, a recently licensed nurse, and salon muse to bespoke designer Federico Navarro, Shaira Venutra shares her inspiration: “I am happy that, nowadays, models like me [are] already beginning to shine and have the spotlight. It is an honor for me to set an example for them, that having a conservative background is not a challenge in modeling, but rather a good representation of how we respect our practices.”


Mindanao’s Vibrant Narrative

In the quest to uncover the authentic essence of Mindanao, Vogue Philippines embarked on a journey that spanned the diverse landscapes of this vibrant region. The team explored the provinces of Davao, the mountains of Bukidnon, the shores of Lake Sebu, and the beaches and lush mangroves of Zamboanga.


“Mindanao is a beautiful and vibrant place full of stories longing to be told,” says Features Editor Audrey Carpio. Vogue Philippines met with people of many indigenous roots—Blaan, Manobo, Tausug, and Mandaya—each contributing to the rich mosaic of Mindanao’s identity. From the intricate artistry of Tboli’s tradition of tnalak to the masterful craftsmanship of the Yakan weavers, the richness of Mindanao’s cultural heritage was given a platform by Vogue Philippines. 


Fashion Director Pam Quinones, herself hailing from Cotabato City notes, “Mindanao has always been a mystery to most people and whatever slice information we have of the southern region is imbued with tales of conflict. As someone who was born and raised there I know the culture to be rich and unique, the people to be truly diverse with many languages spoken and proud of their ancestors and land, and the stories to be complex.”

Head on over to for the full April 2024 cover story.