by Christine Cudis
MANILA — A Filipina beauty queen, who grew up abroad, finds her peace in doing charity works in her parents’ home country.
It was Excelsa de Jesus’ first time to visit here since she was crowned Miss Philippines America in the United States in 2016. As she was raised by parents who are both working in the medical field, her life was pretty comfortable.
While she was doing her engagements as a titleholder then, it touched her heart that she was able to help many people living in poverty.
This time, crowned with another title as the Miss Republic Philippines International in Manila, she took it upon herself to explore different provinces in the country to host outreach events.
“I have such supportive group around me, the blessings I have just overflow that it just felt right to share it with others,” the 21-year old philanthropist said.
Excelsa supports herself by doing a barista job in Manhattan.
With a degree in performance arts, she also hustles as a lounge singer and plays the piano occasionally. She takes part in fund-raising concerts in the US with other singers to finance her generous activities.
In her most recent series of outreach events, her parents, Wilfredo and Ana Gene, went with her to see the works their daughter has started.
They went to Childhaus, a brainchild of celebrity hairdresser Ricky Reyes, in Malate, Manila; Reclamation Dumpsite in Taguig City; Port Barton Elementary and High School in San Vicente, Palawan; Barangay Rima and Estancia in Iloilo; La Castellana, Negros Occidental; and Crossing Magallon Elementary School in Bacolod City; in a whirlwind three-week schedule.
They provided food and hygiene kits for their beneficiaries, who were also entertained with Excelsa’s singing and motivational talks.
Being in an active mission to help make other people realize their own value, the young beauty queen said that going through a phase in her life where she suffered from some kind of depression pushed her to go to places and spread words of encouragement to others who may be experiencing the same.
“I had a phase when I was younger when I just started questioning everything about myself. It felt like I need to do great, I have to succeed so the people who love me continue to love me. I was asking, do they only love me because I am like this? What if I am suddenly not the way I am, will I still get their love?” she said.
It is a normal phase for teenagers to doubt themselves or question the ways of the world, and fortunately for Excelsa, she had her parents, who also serve as pastors at the International Fellowship Church at College Point in New York, to guide her every step of the way.
“God opened my eyes to realize that every single person no matter who they are, what they are, are looking for love and acceptance. Some just to try to find it in all the wrong places and all the wrong people,” she said.
“They never feel fully satisfied inside. They try to find temporary happiness and escape through alcohol, drugs, sex. Maybe they feel good at the moment but the morning after, why do they still feel so empty inside?” she continued.
Also an active member of their church which supports her activities, Excelsa noted, “the Lord will truly satisfy your life because everything in this world is only temporary and you can never find true joy and satisfaction unless it comes from the great provider Himself, unless it comes from the one who is abundant in love, joy, peace, and happiness”.
Planning for a future charity event, Excelsa announces another collaboration with world-renowned veteran Filipino singer Jose Mari Chan on October 12 at Northern Boulevard, Woodside in New York. (PNA)