Future History: The Making of the Anniversary Issue Cover Story

Jo Ann wears a DIESEL lacquered pop- print jacket and skirt. Lukresia wears a LEBY LE MORÌA basahan-inspired dress woven and sculpted from diverse scrap fabrics. Rina wears a PAOLINA RUSSO corset fashioned out of upcycled shoes. Photo by Sharif Hamza

“If you want to see your past, it’s in Batanes.”

These words marked the beginning of Vogue Philippines’ sojourn in the highlands. Imparted by independent curator Marian Pastor Roces to features editor Audrey Carpio, it foretold what the crew might find along that hilly terrain: “our people’s beginnings—a story of earth, sky, craft, and boundaries broken.” 

Where we started

Batanes is the northernmost province of the Philippines, taking the front end of the punishing gale-force winds that have carved out its rocky formations for millennia. It’s the point of entry for the country’s first settlers, which might be why the place itself calls for surrender. “Everything just felt symbiotic,” said cover model Lukresia. “In Batanes, it’s like working with nature.” For the Vogue Philippines Anniversary Issue, the team wanted to tell a story about where the Filipino people came from, where we are now, and where we are going—in looking for a place to narrate this from, Batanes simply felt right. Editor-in-chief Bea Valdes said, “It’s a place of longing, but it feels like a real place of discovery as well.” 

Where we are

The cover story cast models Jo Ann Bitagcol, a veteran of the fashion industry and creative director of her eponymous label; Lukresia, a queer model who was scouted after donning her own couture creations in her backyard chicken coop; and Rina Fukushi, a Japanese-Filipino model whose personal journey speaks to the Filipino diaspora. “The casting for the cover was really special,” Vogue Philippines fashion director Pam Quiñones said. “It took us a few weeks to really deliberate on this, but one thing was sure—we wanted to showcase the different faces of a Filipino.” 

Where we’re going

Sustainability is at the forefront of discussion for many Filipino fashion designers and advocates. Among them, there is a collective desire to go back to tradition, celebrating artisanal workmanship, high craft, and upcycling methods via modern-facing silhouettes. “Filipinos are very resourceful, we can make things work even if we have limited resources. We make use of what’s available and are able to create beautiful work within the limitations,” designer Neric Beltran told Vogue Philippines. “Even if we are not technologically behind, we still create—with our hands, with our will, and with our passion.” 

Photographs by Sharif Hamza. Fashion Director: Pam Quiñones. Styling: Melissa Levy. Makeup: Gery Peñaso. Hair: Mong Amado. Models: Jo Ann Bitagcol, Lukresia, Rina Fukushi. Nails: New Lounge PH. Art Director: Jann Pascua. Producer: Anz Hizon. Production Assistants: Bianca Zaragoza, Patricia Co. Photographer’s Assistants: Choi Narciso, JV Rabano, Tim Hoffman. Stylist’s Assistants: Neil De Guzman, Renee De Guzman. Makeup Assistant: Ejjay Salcedo. Hair Assistant: Jeremi Nuqui. Intern: Sophia Lanawan. Shot on location at Fundacion Pacita. Special thanks to Patsy Abad and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.