MANILA, Philippines – Before crowning this year’s Miss Universe Philippines, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray shared a few emotional words with the audience during her final walk.
Here’s the transcript of her speech:
Philippines! My heart is overflowing with gratitude, because here, on this exact stage, I was given the chance to pursue this dream. This journey has been made even more meaningful, because every single step of the way I felt each and every one of you right there with me.
I am so humbled and immensely grateful to each and every one of you who has given true meaning to feeling the love and support of the Filipino people. I knew I had a big role to step up to once the Miss Universe Philippines sash was placed across my heart. Along the way, I had to surmount 3 mountains, to conquer 3 Mayon Volcanos.
The first one was conquering myself. Like every single person, I had to overcome the fear that comes from within. The fear of falling short, the fear of failure, the fear of not measuring up. But I conquered my fear with faith – faith that God purposely set me on this path and that He would not give me a burden too heavy to carry. And faith in myself, because I knew that I was not perfect. But I knew I’m determined. And I knew that out of all 95 women that I was to compete with in Miss Universe, I would be the one and only Filipina, and that gave me strength.
The second was conquering others. There were so many times that people told me that I would fail. I was told that it was too soon for another Miss Universe from the Philippines, I was body-shamed, and I was put down. But I conquered others by surrounding myself with people who uplifted me, supported me, and mentored me. My Team Catriona were my backbone and my safe place. I wouldn’t be standing here if not for every single one of them, and for all of you. And as an only child whose family was away for the entirety of this journey, they also gave me a home.
The third and most important was conquering for a purpose. What was the point of all this? Who was I doing this for? I looked down at the lettering over my heart, and it said Philippines. I felt its weight, knowing the history, challenges, and triumphs of the Filipino people, I thought of the children of Tondo and of my country.
I may only be one person, but now I have the opportunity to serve 104 million Filipinos, and I knew that I was doing this para sa Pilipinas. Inside each and every one of us is a king or queen with the ability to conquer the universe, whatever that may be for you. But we must first conquer ourselves, conquer what others perceive of us, and finally, conquer with a purpose.
To conquer our dreams. Philippines, I will forever our raise our flag.
Thank you for choosing me as your queen. Forever a Miss Philippines, forever a Binibini.
Love, Catriona Gray, your Miss Universe 2018.