Miss Universe Philippines Celeste Cortesi took to social media to share her experience and realizations after visiting Marawi recently with Save the Children Philippines.
The beauty queen remarked that visiting the province was an experience that truly changed her life.
"My mother is Filipina, but my family had to move to Italy when I was only 6 months and therefore I grew up in Italy. 4 years ago I decided to go to the Philippines," she wrote.
Celeste relayed that knowing the experiences and stories of the people she encountered here in the Philippines changed her perspective.
"Experiencing life here, joining organizations, and hearing stories really changed my perspective of the world. I am blessed by the people around me, especially my family, for always reminding me the importance of sharing my blessings with others and giving more than I am receiving," she stated.
With her recent trip to Marawi, the beauty queen said that she was enthralled by the culture of the province.
"I am not going to lie, at first, I was scared to go on this adventure and explore Marawi. However, since the moment I landed, I felt safe and I was immediately mesmerized by the amazing culture I was in," she said.
Celeste said that during the trip, she was able to see the state of the lives of many Filipino children.
"Throughout this journey, I was able to see with my own eyes the state where many Filipino children are living right now. Many of them still cannot access basic human rights like food, shelter, health, and education," she said.
She remarked, "It broke my heart to see it but it has reminded me of the importance to do our part to make a change. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. It’s always a pleasure and an honor to be able to learn more about how vast and complex our people and culture are."
Celeste expressed her appreciation for Save the Children Philippines for the programs that they do to enhance the lives of others.
"There is truly more work to be done but I would like to thank @savethechildrenph for your projects and programs that help uplift the lives of our countrymen. I hope to work with you more toward creating a better universe for every Filipino," she said.
Celeste was crowned Miss Universe Philippines back in April.
It was her second national pageant after winning the Miss Earth Philippines pageant in 2018.
"The strength I got from them is indescribable. I’ve worked so hard for this, I’ve prepared. And I let God do the rest knowing that whatever is meant for me will never pass me by. I’ve grown so much since I came to the Philippines five years ago and I really promised myself that I would only join a pageant when I am ready to take on the responsibility of a crown, and I am now," she posted on social media following her big win in April.
"Yesterday, I received my second chance and I am beyond honored and grateful to be able to represent my country in the Miss Universe stage. I hope that with my story I can inspire so many to never give up on their dreams because through hard work, perseverance and faith you can achieve anything you want," she added.
After being crowned Miss Universe Philippines in April, Celeste has been engaging in different charity and community works.
In May, she visited the Tebow CURE Hospital, a non-profit specialty orthopedic hospital located in Davao City serving children with disabilities, alongside former Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Tebow.
Back in August, she visited Samar for Save the Children Philippines' nutrition program.