From Rural Roots to Urban Heights: A Tale of Personal Triumph

“There is a woman that I want to be and until I reach that point, I have work to do.”
This quote has been my guide into shaping the very essence of the woman of substance that I envision myself to be – strong and confident; intelligent and opinionated; successful yet humble. Amidst of these ambitions, I embrace the fact that I have always been a work in progress.
Growing up, books were my companions and academic excellence was the norm. As an adolescent, I struggled with shyness and lack of confidence despite the accolades I have received from writing competitions or academics. My imperfections got the best of me. It wasn’t until at 12 that I began my journey to self-acceptance through modeling.
Modeling led to pageantry which challenged my fear of public speaking and dealing with people. Despite the crowns and experiences being at the center of attention, I still felt like a girl in her own bubble. That’s when I realized that gaining confidence is not an overnight task. Entering college at 14, I discovered that my love for journalism, art and events management could propel me towards a path of greater purpose.
However, I have come to the conclusion that academic achievements are nothing in comparison to the joy and fulfillment of helping others. Inspired by my late brother with Down Syndrome, I spearheaded the “Don’t Limit Me: A Down Syndrome Awareness and Education Campaign” and the establishment of the School Learning Resource Room inside the Special Education Center, a testament of the power of love and compassion for him and the people with the same condition – a moment where I felt the proudest of myself. It is significant to note that there were people who casted doubts on the ambitious project. But with the guidance and help of volunteers, private sectors and the local government unit, we have accomplished what we ought to do.
Upon graduation at 18, I was met with life’s uncertainties. So at 22, I embarked on an overseas journey to find what the universe has in store for me. Thinking that getting a job and just earning would be enough, I fell into a life crisis, the ultimate test of my determination and perseverance to figure out what I want to do with my life. Frustrations and dissatisfaction haunted me. While I’ve had my fair share of breakdowns and tears, the universe eventually started to open the doors that would change my life – doors that I never thought would open for a province girl like me.
I have rediscovered forgotten passions like the arts. From exhibitions to being named Artist of the Year to having been recognized by a royal, my artistic endeavors flourished, paralleled by a resurgence in my advocacy, modeling, acting and journalism opportunities. Projects for print ads and commercials with brands I have only dreamed to work with came pouring in. Some of my wildest modeling dreams, like having billboards overseas and even on the world’s largest mall, crazily came true. My Down Syndrome advocacy has sparked the interest of other regions which led me to spread awareness to a multitude by being a speaker to talks along with respected and high profile individuals across the globe and I was given the opportunity to write on publications and magazines to share my thoughts and opinions to the people from different walks of life.
Indeed, life can change in just a snap of one’s fingers. Life will get better once you declare that you’re ready to receive.
Despite these triumphs, success felt incomplete until love entered my life, proving that amidst every accomplishment, shared moments with a loved one are the golden treasures of life.
Now at 28, I realized that success is not merely about accolades, but about achieving inner peace, happiness and contentment. It is a journey marked by tears, sweat and resilience – something that most people do not have the privilege to know.
In a world that often measures success by external achievements and riches, my story stands as an example that true success is found in the meaningful relationships built along the way and the pursuit of one’s passions and dreams and the impact made on others.
I am halfway now to becoming the woman I aspire to be.

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