MANILA -- Samantha Bernardo is not closing her doors on the possibility of joining another pageant.
In a virtual press conference organized by Binibining Pilipinas on Friday, the beauty queen said she may compete again if she is "still qualified."
"I don't want to close myself with other opportunities. I don't want to end a statement that is still open-ended. And if I'm still qualified and I'm still eligible for it, and I feel that it's still going to be worth it, why not?" she said.
But Bernardo, who finished first runner-up in Miss Grand International last March, said she would rather not make any promises.
"I don't want the fans to go crazy for it, but I've been receiving a lot of support and messages so maraming, maraming salamat po sa lahat ng naniniwala sa akin [at] patuloy na sumusuporta," she said. "Sana kahit hindi ko matuloy itong pageant na ito, o kung hindi ako sasali, or sasali pa rin ako, sana you will still support me in other things that I can do."
"I want to make sure that it will still align [with] my purpose and my passion. So let's see and let's hope for the best."
Bernardo returned to Manila last May 13 after a two-month stay in Thailand, where she was able to mix work and play with her fellow Miss Grand International queens.
As of Friday, she is staying at her home after undergoing quarantine at a hotel.
"I explored nine provinces," she said of her trip. "Thank you so much to all my Thai fans... They all recognized me even without makeup."
"I am so touched and I will never forget that."
Meanwhile, Bernardo reiterated that she is happy with her overall performance in Miss Grand International when asked if she regretted anything about her stint in the pageant.
"I feel like I couldn't do any better than that, you know what I mean?" she said. "I feel like 'yun na talaga 'yung best ko, and I feel na hindi ko na kayang higitan 'yun."
"Maybe I can be better next year for that, or later this year. Pero during that limited amount of time and knowledge, and with the pandemic happening around us, 'yun na 'yung best ko," she added.
If anything, Bernardo said she would not have focused too much on the "negativity" among some pageant fans.
When asked to give a message to some Filipinos who could not easily accept defeat in pageants, the beauty queen replied: "I know that we are really a pageant-loving nation, the Philippines, and we have proven our streak in this industry. But let us remind ourselves that this is also a competition. There's going to be a winner, there's going to be a loser."
"At the end of the day, as long as you know the girl did her best and the girl represented us proudly [and] with honor, with elegance, I think that's the most important thing," she stressed.
Bernardo went on to point out that that there is no fun in winning all the time.
"Are we going to be happy if we win every time? I think there's no thrill in that. It's also time to give others a chance, and it's also a time for us Filipinos to find another queen that will represent all of us, and hopefully can win another crown for us," she said.
"I hope that I have proven myself in this industry... Always celebrate tayo and be happy with what the outcome is," she ended.
For finishing first runner-up, Bernardo got to bring home a crown, a sash, a $6,000 prize, and a contract with Miss Grand International.