Mariel de Leon will certainly treasure her Miss International experience even though she failed to win the crown for the Philippines on Tuesday.
De Lean said her stint at the international pageant made her a “stronger, wiser and smarter woman,” and that it taught her how to fight harder for her goals and dreams.
“I really learned a lot from this experience. I made a lot of relationships with the other girls here and I am really proud of how far we’ve all come. I’m going to put this in my good memories,” she told ABS-CBN News.
The daughter of screen veterans Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong failed to make it to the Top 15 of the pageant held in Japan.
De Leon was hoping for a back-to-back win for the Philippines. Her predecessor, Kylie Verzosa, was the Miss International 2016 titleholder.
Kevin Lilliana of Indonesia was crowned Miss International 2017.
Nonetheless, de Leon remains appreciative of everyone who joined her in this journey.
“I would just like to thank all my supporters, not only in the Philippines but around the world. Thank you so much for showing me so much love and support. All your words and messages really warm my heart. I appreciate everyone,” she said.
“For the people who helped me along the way, my mentors in Aces and Queens, my parents and my family, also my boyfriend, all my friends who supported me throughout the whole way, thank you so much. I love you all. I wouldn’t be here without you. I wouldn’t have come this far without your support so thank you so much,” she added.
It took de Leon two tries in Binibining Pilipinas before getting the opportunity to represent the Philippines in Miss International.
Meanwhile, Christopher and Andolong are still proud of their daughter even though she didn’t win the competition.
Both believe there’s still a lot in store for de Leon in the future.
“Sa lahat ng kapwa Pilipino nating sumuporta, who truly cared for our daughter Mariel, who have been there from the very beginning, maraming maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. This is just the beginning for Mariel. Hindi dito nagtatapos. She’s looking forward to many things. There are many things ahead of her,” Andolong said.
For one, Christopher noted that de Leon will resume filming “Ang Panday” when she gets back to the Philippines.
“She’s still shooting the movie with Coco (Martin). There’s more to come. She’s still the Bb. Pilipinas International. We are very proud of her,” he said.
According to Andolong, her daughter “really worked hard not only for the family or for herself but more for the country.”