If you’ve seen Moana, chances are you’re obsessing over it right now, maybe even thinking of doing your own Moana cosplay. We don’t blame you. There’s a lot to love about Disney’s newest movie: the amazing soundtrack, plucky heroine, The Rock’s singing voice, and of course, the stunning tropical paradise in which the story unfolds. For Filipino fans, the setting looks strikingly similar to our own shores. It is set in the Polynesian-inspired fictional island of Motonui.
We don’t know about you, but seeing the clear waters and palm trees in jaw-dropping CGI made us feel #blessed to be living so close to a similar kind of environment.
The uncanny resemblance between Moana’s Motonui and our own islands was not lost on Filipino-Canadian cosplayer Gladzy Kei. Thanks to a family trip, she ended up shooting her now-viral Moana cosplay in El Nido, Palawan.
More Frozen than Moana
Even before Gladzy saw the movie, she knew Moana would be a great character to cosplay. Needless to say, she nailed the look: from the hair to the skirt, down to the oar. The only thing missing? A tropical paradise to shoot her dead-on Moana cosplay in.
For Gladzy, whose current surroundings in winter-time Canada were more Frozen than Moana, the struggle to find this tropical paradise was very real.
“I NEED AN ACTUAL BEACH!! Not a fake photoshopped one!” Gladzy said on Instagram.
Moana cosplay in Palawan
It didn’t take long before Gladzy got what she needed: an actual beach, and not just any beach at that, but the breathtaking shores of El Nido. On a family trip, she packed her costume, sailed the length of the sea on the ocean breeze, and took the photos that turned her into an internet sensation.
Interestingly enough, the trip to the Philippines had been planned long before her Moana cosplay, and the main reason for the journey was to surprise her grandmother for her 80th birthday. (We wonder if her grandma also has a manta ray tattooed on her back…)
“I absolutely love the Pacific Islands, here at El Nido, Palawan! The water is so clear and blue, and the sand is so fine and white. So perfect for shooting Moana!,” she said in a later Instagram caption.
True to her character, she even swam under a cave to get to a secret beach on the other side—and she did it in costume!
At this rate, there’s just no telling how far Gladzy will go with her Moana cosplay. We’re just glad she found Palawan because now we have a real-life Moana to obsess over.
All photos are taken from Gladzy Kei’s Instagram.