MANILA -- Herlene Budol graced the Binibining Pilipinas 2023 coronation night over the weekend, putting an end to rumors that she resigned as first runner-up.
The social media star, known to many as "Hipon Girl," crowned her successor Katrina Anne Johnson.
She also had the rare opportunity to talk to Bb. Pilipinas founder Stella Marquez Araneta and her husband, Jorge Leon Araneta.
Recalling her encounter with Araneta, fondly called Madame Stella by former and reigning queens and candidates, Budol said in an Instagram post: "Tagos sa puso ang pag-uusap namin kahit saglitan lang."
"[Sabi niya] 'Hi Herlene, you are unique. You are intelligent, you are stunning, you are amazing, you are funny, you are talented. You are a gift from God. I am so proud of your transformation [and] never give up on your dreams,'" she went on.
'Yung pagiging soft-spoken niya sa akin, bigla kong naalala si Nanay Bireng ko. Speechless [ako] dahil nakaka-overwhelm naman talaga mga nasabi niya."
Budol then publicly shared her message for Araneta, admitting that it took a while for their conversation to sink in.
She expressed her gratitude to the Bb. Pilipinas national director for the "life-changing" opportunity she got after placing first runner-up last year.
"Marami kang binagong buhay sa mga BBP queens at isa na ako doon. Kahit first-timer at first runner-up ay malaking bagay ito sa aking karera," she said. "Ngayon ko mapapatunayan 'yung kasabihan na 'life-changing.'"
"Once again, I am your one and only Hipon Girl, Herlene Budol, your Bb. Pilipinas 2022 first runner-up saying 'Once a Binibini, always a Binibini,'" she ended.
Rumors of Budol's resignation surfaced after not being included in recent promotional materials for the Bb. Pilipinas 2023 pageant.
She did not get a chance to represent the country with her first runner-up finish, but her manager signed her up to join Miss Planet International last year.
Budol's move was supported by Bb. Pilipinas, which asked the public to support her pageant journey. However, she ended up backing out from Miss Planet International due to "uncertainties by the organizers."
In an interview with Boy Abunda earlier this year, Budol confirmed that she is joining Miss Grand Philippines, the newly formed pageant which will send representatives to Miss Grand International.
Bb. Pilipinas previously held the Miss Grand International license in the country with Budol's batchmate, Roberta Tamondong, as its last representative.