Top Cities in the Philippines for Emerging Models

Philippine Cities for models

As you begin your journey into the world of modeling, you have to learn how to stay ahead of the competition and get noticed by talent agents and prospect clients. You may have the perfect modeling portfolio to get you started, but when you do not have the opportunities, you are basically not going anywhere.

The best way to get noticed and to be on the front row when opportunities come is to be in the right place. Find out the top cities in the Philippines for emerging models where you can start a thriving career.

1. Metro Manila

Metro Manila
The most populated region in the Philippines, which is also the center of culture, economy and government, Metro Manila is no doubt the top city in the Philippines for everything. Originally called Maynilad, which means “where the blossoming water plants grow”, Metro Manila is a megacity which holds a record of 89.6 % employment rate as of 2012. It is the “place to be” where you can start a blossoming career in fashion or modeling or in other fields you want to pursue.

In this nation’s capital, you can find the “New York City” of the Philippines, which is Makati City. Considered as the heart of Manila, Makati is the prime business and commercial area and the seat of the biggest corporations. It is also where you can find talented and ambitious individuals not just from other parts of the Philippines, but basically from all over the globe.

Top Fashion/Modeling Destination

Being the most competitive and the richest region in the Philippines, Metro Manila is also the top modeling capital of the country. Most castings and auditions for TV programs and international fashion and modeling shows happen in this place.

One of the prominent auditions that took place in the bustling city of Pasay, Metro Manila was the much publicized casting call for Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 3, which was done in Resorts World Manila in October last year. The audition was held in three places only – Jakarta Indonesia, Singapore City and Taguig City in Manila. Before the casting for the 3rd season took place though, TRESemmé X Asia’s Next Top Model Season 2 also had an intimate press conference in January 2014 at Global City, Metro Manila.

These and many other castings and press cons only proved that Metro Manila is the one of the top fashion destination, not just in the country but in Asia as well.

Philippine Fashion Week

Philippine Fashion Week
SMX Convention Center, Pasay City, Metro Manila is the place where the largest apparel trade show and biggest fashion event of the Philippines takes place every May and October of the year and is called the Philippine Fashion Week.  A number of Filipina supermodels, who are now based abroad, were discovered in this event whether they were just simply attendees of the show or they were walking the runway for local fashion designers. This is why most aspiring models always find their way to this prestigious event in the hope of landing a modeling gig in the Philippines and abroad.

Take Danica Magpantay, for example, the first Filipina supermodel who won the Ford Supermodels of the World Finals in 2011 and one of the most successful Filipino Models of all time. She had her debut in Philippine Fashion Week walking for Hush Puppies, before she made it to the Ford Supermodels competition.

Home of Models Turned International Beauty Queens

Over time, the Philippines has been known to be the home of beauty queens who never fail to impress the international stage every year. But, do you know that more than a fraction of these models turned beauty queens hailed from Metro Manila? Here are three of the most notable Manileña models who made it big in the global beauty pageant competitions:

Margie Moran – philanthropist, Miss Universe 1973 and Miss Photogenic, model from Mandaluyong Metro Manila

Precious Lara Quigaman – freelance webpage writer and model from Taguig City Metro Manila, Miss International 2005

Sharmaine Ruffa Gutierrez – actress, model and Miss World 1993 second runner up from Manila


Allison Harvard, 2nd placer America’s Next Top Model Cycle 12 & 17

Aside from our home grown talents, Metro Manila is also the hub for international talents who have advanced in their modeling careers like Allison Harvard, who won the second place in both 12th and 17th seasons of America’s Next Top Model. Now an endorser of Belo Medical Group, Allison Harvard found success in Manila walking for local fashion designers like Rajo Laurel, Dominique Reighard and Michael Cinco and hosting for different local reality shows like Mega Fashion Crew and Celebrity Dance Battle.

2. Cebu City

Cebu City
Cebu is the second most populated metropolitan area in the Philippines after Metro Manila and was the first capital of the Philippines. Now commonly called as the Queen City of the South, Cebu was voted as one of the “top 10 Asian cities of the future” by a Singapore-based consulting firm and was on the 7th spot among the best outsourcing destinations internationally.

If Makati City is called the “New York of the Philippines”, Cebu is dubbed as the “Milan of the South”. With an annual growth of over five percent per year, Cebu is considered as one the fastest growing cities in the country where job and business opportunities abound. It becomes the country’s alternate metropolis for investors, who want to escape the stiff competition and the overcrowded city of Metro Manila.

Land of the Famous International Designers

Aside from being a tourist capital, Cebu is also known for having the best accessories manufacturers in the country. The creativity of the Cebuanos paved the way for many local models and designers alike to get into the national and even international spotlight.

Monique Lhuillier – One of Hollywood’s favorite red carpet designers, Monique Lhuiller is a proud Cebuana, who is now based in Los Angeles, California. She is known for her amazing couture and evening gowns, wedding gowns, bags and accessories, and home fragrances. Her clients include Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Reese Witherspoon, Katy Perry and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Furne One Fernando Barrios or Furne One, owner of Amato Haute Couture, is a Cebuano fashion designer now based in Dubai, who became the MEGA Magazine Designer of the Philippines in 1994. He is now often seen in the catwalks of London, Dubai, LA and Miami designing for the famous names in the international music industry like Shakira, Nicole Scherzinger, Jennifer Lopez and Nicki Minaj.

Fashion Shows

Glitterati Fashion Show
Cebu is a famous destination for fashion shows next to Metro Manila. Last year alone, Cebu held numerous fashion shows like ones mentioned below:

Glitterati Fashion Show. In July 2014, Glitterati, an annual fashion show, was held in SM City Cebu featuring Cebu’s young and upcoming models walking for SM brands.

Gear and Glam. Another annual fashion show with a twist took place in SM City Cebu last year showcasing fashion and vintage car collections put together in a grand show attended by fashion designers and famous celebrities.

7 Shades of Summer. Held in SM City Cebu in May 2014, 7 Shades of Summer featured runway models from Models Association of Cebu wearing colorful designs, basically the seven colors of the rainbow, styled by local fashion designers.

Summer Solstice Cebu.  Another prestigious fashion show in coordination with Fashion Council of Cebu, Summer Solstice showcased 2014 Spring and Summer Collection from the country’s most famous designers in April 2014.

Style Origins 2014. Style Origins is another annual fashion show that happens only in the major cities of the Philippines, which include Cebu City. Style Origins had their last leg of their fashion show series in August 2 and 3, 2014 in Ayala Center Cebu. It is a signature event of Ayala Malls presenting Men’s Fashion and High Street Fashion attended by the country’s hottest personalities and Philippine’s most famous fashion icons.

These were only a few of the many fashion shows held in Cebu last year. This year, more and more fashion shows scheduled and this only means more opportunities for aspiring models who want to hit the runway.

Verns Buckley, Cebuana Ford Supermodel of the World Philippines

Cebu City is indeed one of the top cities for emerging models and no one can better illustrate that than Ford Supermodel Verns Buckley. An 8th placer in the 2002 Supermodels of the World Finals competition, Buckley was a student in University of San Carlos, who was discovered while she was walking past a boutique owned by a talent agent on her way home from school. Soon, Buckley walked for international designers like Escada, Guess and Max Mara and appeared in numerous TV shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show.

3. Davao City

Davao City
Placed in the 5th spot as the richest city in the country according the current revenue statistics, Davao City is known as the hub for commerce and industry in the Southern Mindanao region. Also ranked as the 87th fastest growing city in the world by the City Mayors Foundation based in Freiburg, Germany, the young city of Davao presents limitless potentials in becoming an economic leader of the country.

Considered as the 10th “Asian City of the Future”, Davao is a very promising city that can give a strategic start for entrepreneurs and individuals who want to start a budding career.

Casting Calls In Davao

Being one of the top cities in the Philippines, Davao is also one of the preferred cities to hold casting calls for national competition.

Pilipinas Got Talent. Pilipinas Got Talent is a talent show on ABS- CBN, which is a franchise of Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent. For seasons 1, 2 and 3, Davao City never failed to drop out from their audition locations. In fact, Bringas Brothers came out as third placers on Pilipinas Got Talent Season 3 and it all started when they auditioned for the show in May 2011 in Davao City.

Project Runway Philippines. Another reality TV show franchise from America, Project Runway Philippines just had their auditions in September last year for Project Runway Philippines Season 5, slated to air this year. Davao City was one of the lucky four cities where the castings were held aside from Cebu, Manila and Baguio.

And, another casting call is on the way for Davaoeños this April 2015.

PBB Season 6. While aspiring models from other provinces will have to fly to Cebu, Lucena, Isabela or General Santos, Davaoeños will be saved from the inconvenience of traveling far from home as the PBB 2015 audition will hold a cattle call in Abreeza Mall Davao this coming April 24 and 25, 2015.

For being traditionally beautiful and talented, Davaoeños will always be one of the top priorities to be considered when holding auditions and casting calls.

The City of Diverse Models

Mary Jean Lastimosa
Davao is not only known for Juliana Palermo, Iwa Moto, Bangs Garcia, Erich Gonzales and other renowned national actors. It is also known to be the city of diverse models, who known in the commercial, promotional or alternative fields.

Mary Jean Lastimosa. Originally from North Cotabato, Mary Jean Lastimosa was once an emerging model who found her break in Davao City after winning 2008 Mutya ng Dabaw. She eventually became Binibining Pilipinas 2014 and landed on the top 10 during the Ms. Universe pageant in Florida USA in January 2015.

Jasmine Anne Parker. An artist, commercial model and car show model, Davaoeña Jasmine Anne Parker is currently under the local TV network, ABS-CBN, and is known to be Jasmine Curtis’ alter ego for having a close resemblance with Jasmine Curtis’ facial features.

Angeleah Mejo. If you are into cosplay, you would definitely know Angeleah Mejo. Angeleah started as model and fire dancer before she went to Nagoya, Japan to represent Philippines for the international cosplay competition.

 4. Pampanga

Pampanga
Somewhere in Central Luzon lies a first class, highly urbanized city called Pampanga. Considered as the 6th largest ethnic group in the Philippines, Kapampangans are known to be among the finest Filipinos, who played a very important role in the history of the country.

Aside from being the Food Capital of the Philippines, Pampanga is also known to be the place where the greatest names in politics, show business and fashion industry were bred to perfection.

Land of the Stars

We all know Pampanga to be the home of the famous politicians like the late Senator Benigno Aquino, Sr. and former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. But, do you know that some of the famous TV personalities we know locally and internationally hailed from this province?

Lea Salonga – Known for being the first Miss Saigon, Lea Salonga has gone a long way from Angeles City Pampanga to the theaters of London and Broadway.

Melanie Marquez – From Mabalacat City, Pampanga, Melanie Marquez was the 1979 Miss International Winner, 1986 Ford Supermodel of the World 1st runner up, Most Glamorous Woman in Italy in 1986, and  Face of the ‘80s in New York in 1985.

Vanessa Minillo-Lachy – Vanessa was born in Angeles City, Pampanga, but her family moved to South Carolina where she became Miss Teen USA in 1988. Now an American TV personality, actress, TV host, and fashion model, Vanessa Minillo-Lachey is one Filipina that Kapampangans are really proud of.

Aside from Vanessa Minillo- Lachey, you will be amazed that there are more international artists you adore in TV having Filipino blood running in their veins and that include rapper Apl de Ap, singer Enrique Eglesias and model Leah Dizon.

Top Model Search Pampanga and Other Fashion Events

Top Model Search Pampanga
Pampanga has a local version of the Philippines Top Model called “Top Model Search Pampanga”, which is now on its 3rd season. Pampanga also holds bi-monthly fashion shows known as “SM Pampanga Is My Runway” featuring local fashion models wearing designs from Plains and Prints, Freeway, Artwork, Mags and other fashion boutiques known all over the country.

A well known Japanese brand Uniqlo also opened their first branch outside Manila in Mexico, Pampanga in 2013, which marks the growing fashion industry in Pampanga compared to the rest of the cities outside Manila.

Samantha Gomez, Ford Supermodel of the World Philippines 2011

To top all these off, Pampanga once again proved that it is a haven for aspiring models after a Kapampagan beauty from Angeles City, Samatha Gomez, won the Fords Supermodels of the World Philippines in 2011. She is now walking on international ramps for well-known fashion designers.

 5. Bacolod City

Bacolod City
Known as the City Of Smiles, Bacolod City ranked as the number one “Most Liveable City of 2012” in the Philippines among 120 cities in the country based on website studies, the same commendation that was given to the city in 2008 by MoneySense magazine.

Also placing number 3 as the “Next Wave Cities” in the Philippines by Department of Trade and Industry and Business Process Outsourcing Association, Bacolod is one the metropolitan districts to look out for when it comes to the business and fashion industries.

Beauty Capital of the Philippines

Grendel Alvarado
Bacolod is called the Beauty Capital of the Philippines, and for all the right reasons. Check out these proud Bacolodians, who hit the national and international stage of beauty pageants and runways.

Susan Roces – The Queen of Philippine Movies, Jesusa Purificacion Sonora or Susan Roces is an award winning actress, who hailed from the Locsin Family in Bacolod, Negros Occidental.

Aurora McKenny Pijuan – Ms. Aurora Pijuan is a proud Bacolodian, who became the second Filipina to win the Miss International title in 1970, which was held in Osaka Japan, next to Gemma Cruz.

Sandra Inez Suravilla Seifort – An international beauty queen who was raised in Taiwan, Sandra Inez Suravilla Seifort is a Bacolodian with German descent crowned as Miss Earth Philippines in 2009.

Grendel AlvaradoPhilippines’ Next Top Model winner Grendel Alvarado has gone through a successful modeling journey from Bacolod to Hongkong and was even named as the “Jewelmer’s Pearl Ambassador to the World”.

Vickie RushtonVickie Rushton is a native from Bacolod, who won the “Lin ay Sang Negros” beauty pageant representing Talisay City before bagging the crown for the 2011 “Mutya ng Pilipinas”. She advanced to national TV by joining the reality show Pinoy Big Brother, where she landed 4th place.

Bacolod is also fond of fashion shows featuring local designers and models like the Memento Mori Fashion Show June last year and Bacolod Designer’s Fashion Week 2014 on November 2014. Late last year, they held a casting call for Bacolod Circle of Stars for commercials, print ads, events and TV shows.

With thousands of beautiful faces yet to be discovered and many potentials still to be uncovered, it is truly hard to break into the modeling industry of the Philippines and beat the competition. So, steer your modeling career into the proper direction by being in the right place at the right time and the realization of your dreams will follow.

Top Cities in the Philippines for Emerging Models by

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