FOR the Miss Universe Philippines tilt this year, professional volleyball player and beauty queen Michele Gumabao chose an advocacy close to her heart: promoting sports to the youth.
Gumabao isn't only a beauty queen and a model, after all. She's made her mark in volleyball as part of the De La Salle University Lady Archers, and then later, the Creamline Cool Smashers in the PVL.
"Sports teaches all of us to fight and to rise above any situation. It give us the opportunity to be better — for ourselves, our families and our country," said the former Binibining Pilipinas Miss Globe winner.
Now, as Gumabao moves forward with her pageant journey, she's drawing on her own personal experiences to speak about her advocacy.
And she's pulling in some high-powered help to speak about their own lives, too.
In a recently uploaded video on her Instagram account, Gumabao shared the experiences of Phoenix star Calvin Abueva, national triathlete Nikko Huelgas, and volleyball star Sisi Rondina as they join her in promoting the importance of sport to the youth.
"Sa mga kids na gusto mangarap, 'wag kayong bibitaw, maraming pagkakataon para makapunta rito sa pagiging athlete at para makuha niyo ang gusto niyo sa buhay," The Beast said in the video.
Huelgas, a triathlon SEA Games gold medalist who came from humble beginnings, shared: "Sobrang overwhelming sa feeling 'yung i-represent mo ang country mo. Kaya sa mga bata, work hard and chase your dreams."
Rondina, a renowned beach and indoor volleyball athlete, meanwhile, bared that although volleyball wasn't really her first love, she's felt more empowered since pursuing the sport.
"Sa mga katulad ko na athletes [na] walang-wala pero na nangangarap, wag niyong susukuan 'yung gusto niyong marating at kung saan kayo passionate," the former University of Santo Tomas standout said.
Lastly, Gumabao shared that having grown up in a family of athletes, she's witnessed how the field changed lives.
"By sharing these stories I hope we can inspire children to fight for their dreams and never give up because through sports, we can overcome hunger, depression and poverty. We are here today because our dreams are much bigger than all our excuses," she said.