My name is Precious Croal, I am 16 years old and I recently participated as one of the candidates in the 2017 Miss Philippines/New Zealand competition.

This was a 3 day event called the Pistang Pilipino 2017 – Philippines Festival which was held in the Celebration Stadium in Christchurch. My mum played a major role in getting me to enter this pageant, because she wanted me to have this new experience and also because she wanted to have the chance to win two return tickets to the Philippines!

The 3 day event was full of Filipino cultural performances, sports tournaments, delicious food markets, the pageant and more. The festival was sponsored by companies and organisations such as BNZ, City Council and Philippine Airlines. The candidates and I got to stay in the Ibis Hotel during the weekend of the event, which was very luxurious, while we bonded and became good friends.

The sections in the pageant included Talent (for which I did belly dancing), Swimwear, National Costume, Evening Gown, Miss Photogenic, Miss Congeniality and most importantly the Question and Answer Section. I was lucky enough to come first in Swimwear and Miss Photogenic. And when the winners were announced I was super excited to receive the award of First Runner Up! 

This came with sashes, money, a trophy and a crown which I can keep as souvenirs of the awesome memories I have from being part of such an amazing experience.

Joining this pageant made me sacrifice a lot of my time as well as time away from my friends. My Mum also gave me a lot of her time and effort to help and support me as much as she could. 

In the end it was all worth it because I gained new friends, a new amazing experience, improved my self-confidence and I made my Mum proud. All of that means more to me than the sacrifices I made. This experience has taught me to step out of my comfort zone and is proof that when you do step out of your comfort zone you can achieve many amazing things. Be brave, be bold, be beautiful. Personal best, nothing less.

By Kathryn Jordan

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