It was a comment, or rather a chorus of hurtful slurs, that drove one of the candidates of this year's Binibining Pilipinas pageant to "ruin." And it was a single moment that helped her pick things up and trudge on.
Rosantonette Mendoza, candidate No. 18 this year, opened up about being ridiculed when she first pursued her dreams of becoming a beauty queen right after her college graduation.
In a post on Facebook, she recalled being deemed "too fat," or that she looked out of place among her skinnier counterparts.
She remembered receiving comments such as, "Hala, parang nanay na," or "Ano ba iyan? Bakit may naligaw diyan?" that made her "stop aiming for those crowns."
She continued by acknowledging that she "fell in love with food so much" after that incident, and lost control of her diet. The result? A weight of almost 90 kilograms (or nearly 200 pounds) after just three years.
This was when she started to feel the effects of the additional pounds, saying that she had a hard time breathing.
She gained the extra motivation to lose weight after watching Canada's Siera Bearchell compete for the Miss Universe crown when the pageant was held in Manila in 2017.
Bearchell won over many for preaching about body diversity, as a response to those who claimed that she was throwing away her chance at the competition because of her weight gain.
Mendoza pointed to that moment as she looked back at what made her realize that it's "not over, not yet."
She then narrated that she began hitting the gym, hiring a trainer, keeping tabs on her meals, and trying all kinds of workouts just so she can be ready come this year's Binibining Pilipinas.
"And now, just a few more days until the coronation night, I still can't believe that I'm writing this as your Binibini 18. I'm still in awe," she admitted.
"I’ve learned that it’s good to have dreams. But it's better to have goals. Work hard and do whatever you can to achieve them!
"Thank you Binibining Pilipinas for giving me this opportunity to inspire other people with my transformation.
"So para sa mga matataba, dating mataba, feeling mataba, dun sa gustong tumaba, at sa malapit nang tumaba — you are beautiful.
"Just be yourself. At the end of the day, it is still what's in your heart that matters," she concluded her story.