5 Highlights From Vogue Philippines’ Anniversary Gala I’m Still Thinking About

C'mon Vogue!

Step inside as Vogue Philippines celebrates its first anniversary with a gala that had two black carpets in one night.

Related: These Personalities Understood The Assignment At The Vogue Philippines Anniversary Gala

I remember it like it was just yesterday. As I was counting down the days for my long-awaited and long-delayed in-person college graduation (I graduated in 2020), I was informed by my bosses that I was attending the welcome party for Vogue Philippines, which went down the same day as my graduation. Now, not a lot of people can say that they went to their college graduation and a Vogue party on the same day, so I made it work, and in my graduation attire, sans toga, I, along with hundreds of others, welcomed Vogue Philippines to the country.

365 days’ worth of covers, features, stories, adventures, and more later, the magazine officially turned one and celebrated with an Anniversary Gala at the Shangri-La The Fort last August 29. And here I was asked to attend and cover the gala for a magazine I still remember welcoming on day one. It was a night to remember, so step inside closed doors for a few of the memorable moments of the grand evening you probably didn’t know.


Vogue Philippines has always been about celebrating the Filipino identity and championing the culture to the world. As such, the Anniversary Gala went with the theme of Refresh and Rewear. While the event was limited to black and white, it still allowed guests to step out in reworked fabrics and clothes as they flexed the magic of Filipino craftsmanship. Seeing this all up close, it was interesting for me to see how celebs and personalities interpreted the night’s theme. It was serve after serve as Vogue Philippines let Filipino talent take center stage.


You probably saw the black carpet photos on social media. But did you know what went down behind the cameras? How the night went was that guests made their way to the third floor of the hotel to take a photo on the black carpet and then get registered. As you can imagine, as the night wore on, there ended up being a line to take pics on the black carpet as celebrities casually waited their turn at the side. Once that was done, guests then headed to the fourth floor to attend the invite-only Thanksgiving Dinner at Bonifacio Hall. And that was just part one of the black carpet.

Part two saw a whole new batch of stars and personalities do the same steps again, but instead of going up, they headed straight to the Grand Ballroom for the exhibit, where they were later joined by the first batch of attendees. Overall, it was over four hours of celebrity arrivals which was a lot, but there was also a sense of fun and excitement to it as we waited to see who else was going to show up.


Celebrating a first anniversary is a big deal for any magazine. So, Vogue Philippines made sure to go all out with a gala that lasted three parts across two floors. Part one was the Thanksgiving Dinner as guests were treated to Filipino dishes prepared by Margarita Flores, Joris Rycken, and Carlo Huerta that highlighted flavors from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Outside the dining hall was the bar area as well as luxury furniture displays from Fendi Casa.

The guests, as well as the second batch of arrivals, then made their way to the hotel’s Grand Ballroom for the exhibit and the official unveiling of the September 2023 cover. And if that wasn’t enough, the night ended with an exclusive afterparty hosted by Louis Vuitton.


The main event of the evening, the exhibit proved to be my favorite part of the gala. Even walking to the Grand Ballroom was a treat as the outside hallway played host to Vogue Unbound, which are basically enlarged versions of Vogue Philippines’ past covers, a visual representation of the publication’s year. Inside though was a moment as it was a full-on audio-visual sensory experience as reworked pieces made by established and up-and-coming local designers were displayed across the room.

The exhibit was called Common Threads: Re/Creating Fashion, and it celebrated the beauty and purpose of upcycled fashion. This was probably the closest I’ve been to experiencing what the Met exhibit in NYC probably feels like. Scattered around the ballroom were audio and visual booths guests could try out to immerse themselves in Vogue PH’s work, as well as a couple of bars because why not. All this led to the cover reveal of the September 2023 issue. And speaking of…


As the clock struck 10 PM, Vogue Philippines unveiled their first anniversary cover to the crowd. And for the issue, the Vogue PH team went to Batanes to bring together a magazine all about roots, kinship, heritage, and creativity. On the cover are legendary fashion designer Jo Ann Bitagcol, barrier-breaking queer model Lukresia, who made history earlier this year as the second Filipino model to walk the Mugler show in Paris, and Filipino-Japanese model Rina Fukushi.

Lensed by Sharif Hamza, who also photographed the cover for the magazine’s maiden issue, the anniversary cover is beautiful, and it felt surreal being able to witness it be revealed right in front of you, much so for the cover stars who were in attendance that night. That’s history right there. 

Continue Reading: 7 Head-Turning Celebrity Interactions We Spotted At The Vogue Philippines Anniversary Gala