MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A day after ending her Miss World stint with a Top 5 finish, the Philippines' bet Catriona Gray posted a message for her fans and supporters on the Miss World Philippines Facebook page.
Catriona was a favorite to win the pageant, but coronation night on Sunday, Decemeber 18 (Monday, December 19 in Manila) ended with Puerto Rico's Stephanie del Valle being crowned .
Dominican Republic's Yaritza Miguelina Reyes Ramírez came in 2nd, while Indonesia's Natasha Mannuela placed 3rd. (READ: Top 5 finish for PH's Catriona Gray at Miss World 2016)
Catriona started off her message by greeting her supporters and telling them that she is okay.
She continued: "Miss World was never just a beauty contest to me."
Catriona recounted that after her first trip to Tondo, Manila, she prayed and asked, "God, why does there continue to be so much suffering in this world?"
"And God spoke to me in my own voice saying 'That is why I created you (my children),'" said Catriona.
"This revelation struck me so deep in my core that I knew I had set foot a new path," she continued. "The crown represented a journey that grew from being an independent endeavor to one that became more than me. A journey that rallied the support and love of my countrymen. A journey that forced me to look into myself and discover what I was made of. A journey that found its heart in the children in one of the poorest slums of my country. Yes, the crown represented a journey...until I realized that the journey could continue and exist without it."
One of Catriona's happiest moments in the pageant, she said, was when the Philippines was announced one of the Top 5 among the Beauty with a Purpose (BWAP) projects.
The winner of the Miss World pageant's BWAP challenge receives $10,000 for the charity that they worked with. Miss World visits and supports the BWAP advocacies that get into the Top 5 of the challenge.
Catriona's charity, Young Focus, provides care and education to the youth in Manila's Smokey Mountain area.
Indonesia's Natasha Mannuela was announced the winner of the BWAP challenge on coronation night.
In her message, Catriona thanked her fans for the love and support they gave her during her journey.
"Where will the journey take me next?" asked Catriona. "That's yet to be discovered but I really would love to keep our sense of community that we've created together even though multimedia is over.
"I am honored to have been able to represent my country on the world stage, to capture hearts all around the world and to make you all proud.
"Keep your torches burning. Mine is burning stronger than ever."
Watch Catriona's BWAP video and read her full message below:
Meanwhile on Thursday, December 22, Miss World 2013 Megan Young posted a message for Catriona and her supporters.
“It is only beginning of great things for this lady, I believe. A bump in the road only makes you stronger. [Catriona Gray] represented our country with pride and grace and as a Filipino and a Miss World sister, I am so proud of her achievements. Let us show support to Cat most especially by helping out with her Beauty With A Purpose Project - Paraiso,” she said.
It is only beginning of great things for this lady, I believe. A bump in the road only makes you stronger. @catriona_gray represented our country with pride and grace and as a Filipino and a Miss World sister, I am so proud of her achievements let us show support to Cat most especially by helping out with her Beauty With A Purpose Project - Paraiso. To donate to her cause, visit http://cat-elle.com/paraiso/ we love you, Queen Cat! #ForThePhilippines A photo posted by Megan Young (@meganbata) on Dec 21, 2016 at 6:26pm PST
Aside from earning a place in the Top 5, Catriona also won the multimedia challenge during the competition. – Rappler.com
More Miss World 2016 on Rappler here: