Humans of Ateneo

Humans of Ateneo is a project of the Sanggunian: Commission on Mental Health that aims to share the different stories of resilience among the Ateneo Loyola Schools community in order to inspire the student body.

Future ng Perlas ng Pilipinas sa Miss Universe
Written by: Pearl Bayog | October 23, 2019

My younger self wasn’t really scared of crowded places, or noisy people, unlike the other kids. In fact, I really loved to go on the bigger stage and see people cheer for me. I stepped into the world of pageantry at the very young age of three. You’d think that’s the reason I was able to develop my social skills and my self-confidence, in a way. But, there’s really one incident in my pageantry career when I was young that gave birth, or triggered my greatest fear in life, which is not being enough, my fear of failure.

There was one time during a photoshoot I had when I was three years old. I was posing, and really projecting and expressing myself in front of the camera. Then, the photographer noticed that I wasn’t giving out my fullest smile. So, he asked me, “Can you show us your fullest smile?” And I was really hesitant because my teeth weren’t complete back then. Then, when I showed it to them, they were all laughing at me. One particular makeup artist even said, “You want to be a beauty queen but your teeth aren’t complete?” I can still remember the feeling that I had back then: I started questioning myself if I was really fit for that type of career. Since then, I kept on comparing myself in such way to other people. Whenever I’d see other kids who are also joining pageants, I would think something, someone inside me is whispering to me and saying, “Look at them. You’re not as thin as them, or your teeth aren’t even complete.”

When I grew up, I still pursued [pageantry] even if I had fears or insecurities within me. Personally, [getting rid of insecurities] is a process, because you can’t really cut it off agad. But, what’s important is that you’re consistent and reminding yourself that you should not be listening to the negative things other people are telling you. I think it’s better if you would consistently think for yourself. Do things that would make you feel better, and stop comparing yourself to other people because they have a different life, a different path. Not everyone goes through the same one. I think that’s how I cope.

I recently across an interview with Catriona [Gray], and it really inspired me a lot. She had said something about insecurities that went, “We should not really compare our unfiltered reality to the filtered world.” Kasi, in pageantry, we are literally being judged. They really rank you according to different categories, and it’s a given that you need to look presentable, and be confident enough to be able to enter that career or industry. I think what really struck me about her statements was, “Not everyone sees the depth and the length of your journey. They can only see the results of your hardships.” It doesn’t really matter what other people tell you, as long as you yourself know the hardships you’ve gone through, the sacrifices you’ve made. What matters is not the what ifs, but the what is—what you have right now.

I think in this world right now, we always think of the future kasi the world is fast-paced. Like, at this time, I’m thinking about my classes later, the papers I have to work on. With that, we aren’t able to fully grasp or enjoy and savor the moments of the present, which is kinda affecting our mental state. For me kasi, I was able to talk to my guidance counselor when I was in high school, and I told her that my problem with myself is I’m really scared of not being good enough. She said that I shouldn’t think about my end goal, because the goals that I set for myself are sometimes really unreachable, because I set such high standards for myself. Instead of focusing on my standards, I must focus on the small steps that I have to go through so that I will be able to achieve those goals. With that, she gave me a piece of advice, that I should be more in the present: what can I do now, so that it will help me achieve my goals in the next day or in the near future?

— Pearl Bayog

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Photo by Gwen Morelos
Layout and Post-processing by Mary Abigail Bungay
Transcript by Angel Martinez

Future ng Perlas ng Pilipinas sa Miss Universe

"It doesn’t really matter what other people tell you, as long as you yourself know the hardships you’ve gone through, the sacrifices you’ve made. What matters is not the what ifs, but the what is—what you have right now."


Seth Fernando