Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach will be relinquishing her Miss Universe crown on January 30, 2017, the prestigious pageant's grand coronation night which will be held here in Manila.
As the day approaches, the beauty queen cannot help but feel emotional.
Indeed, she has come a long way??from a newbie trying to make her mark in showbiz to a world-famous beauty queen.
Did you know she was the family's breadwinner?
And that was her primary reason for joining showbiz almost two decades ago.
"It was a responsibility, it was hard," she said in her one-on-one interview with Venus Raj and Shamcey Supsup-Lee for the ETC Channel's show The Journey To The Crown: A Celebration of Beauty.
"So iniisip ko palagi na I was the best actress in the world.
"I was very young. I didn??t know what I was doing.
"But at the back of my mind, I had to do well.
"Kasi nape-pressure ako sa mommy ko. Because I felt that if we??re struggling financially, it??s because I??m the one providing.
"But I never blamed anybody for it because I thought it was a pretty cool job.
"So parang iniisip ko, okay naman ang ginagawa ko, may pressure nga lang talaga."
LIFE-CHANGING DECISION OF HER PARENTS. Her life did a 180-degree turn when her German dad and Filipina mom got separated.
She was then nine years old.
"My dad had a business in Germany, so I can say that compared to my peers, I didn??t have to worry about my future.
"Pero noong naghiwalay, doon na nagbago lahat.
"Nasa Cagayan de Oro kami noon. Naghiwalay sila.
"'Tapos hindi na kinaya ng mommy yung bahay.
"Kasi inaalala niya yung daddy ko, sabi niya, 'Alis na tayo, punta na tayo ng Manila.'
"Ayaw ko pang umalis, kasi nag-aaral pa ako. Nandoon yung mga friends ko," Pia recounted.
In Manila, she juggled showbiz and school.
"Hindi naman ako tumigil sa pag-aaral, e.
"Pag weekends, nagte-taping ako.
"Dun kasi sa school kunsaan ako nag-aaral, naiintindihan nila na minsan kailangan naming mag-absent.
"Meron kaming special projects, 'tapos i-take home namin yung modules, 'tapos we??ll attend school three or four times a week to do the tests.
"Sinunod ko naman utos nila."
BEAUTY PAGEANT. When she was asked to join beauty pageants, the decision weighed heavily on her mind.
Her primary concern: "Paano na yung bills? Paano na yung mga gastusin?"
But a lot of people had encouraged her.
"Maraming nagsasabi, ??Sumali ka kaya, puwede ka, matangkad ka. Di ka pang-showbiz, pang-beauty queen ka!??
"May potential man ako kaya lang hindi ko alam kung paano? Kasi alam ko, you have to train for that, and who??s gonna train me? I don??t even know how to start.
"Pero hindi kasya sa akin kasi maluwang kasi sa mommy ko, e.
"'Tapos, tinatanong ako ni Mommy, ??What??s the essence of a woman??? At hindi ko masagot!" Pia laughed.
But she has been a fan of beauty pageants, and had secretly nurtured that dream of becoming a beauty queen.
"Even before I joined Binibining Pilipinas in 2013, pag pinapanood ko yung crowning moments, naiiyak ako.
"Kasi napi-feel ko talaga, nanalo siya. 'Tapos, yung iyak niya, iyak ko din.
When less projects were coming her way, she decided to give beauty pageants a try.
Pia related, "I turned down a few projects from ABS-CBN because I wasn??t ready for daring roles.
"Hindi ko iyon magawa so naging very limited yung mga trabaho ko.
"And then, naglalakad ako sa mall kasama ko yung best friend ko, 'tapos nakita ako ni Mama J," referring to beauty queen maker Jonas Gaffud.
"Nakilala ko na siya before that at natanong na niya ako dati kung gusto kong sumali.
"Sabi ko, 'Oh my gosh, salamat at may gagawin ako sa buhay ko!'"
THIRD TIME??S A CHARM. She didn't win any title during her first two attempts.
In 2013, she finished first runner-up; in 2014, she made it top 15.
The third time she joined, "Plano ko talaga, 'Sige, sali ako ulit, pero hindi ko ipagsasabi kasi masyado pang maaga, baka sabihin, gigil na gigil naman ito."
But she was then more determined.
"...At the back of my mind, I??m not gonna sign any contract, any endorsement para makasali ako uli next year.
"But I'm just gonna get through this whole year of waiting and then join again.??
At 26, the age cut-off for Binibining Pilipinas candidates, she won the Miss Universe Philippines 2015 title and became the third Filipina to win the Miss Universe crown.
Smiling, she said, "Mas matagal yung journey ko kesa sa pagsali ko sa Miss Universe."
And there's one Miss Universe memento that she will treat like a treasure.
"I took care of my crown like it was my baby.
"Very sentimental sa akin yun, because it took long to get it.??
One of her major takeaways from her journey: Experience truly gave her an edge.
"When you stop worrying the little things, stop being technical, and just perform and go.
"Just perform, just go!" she ended.