“I have been told that I couldn’t, so I did.”
This statement vividly portrays a smiling girl standing with a crown on her head.
Ma. Ahtisa Manalo has proven a lot. Being the youngest queen in this year’s Binibining Pilipinas batch of beauties and the newly-crowned Bb. Pilipinas International, she personifies the hardworking dreamer molded from a globally competitive university like ours.
It was a path different from her boyish childhood, a time in which she nurtured her dream of becoming a police officer. “I grew up with my guy cousins, and I have lots of guy playmates. My interests are usually boy stuff. I have toy guns, I have character cards, all the toys that guys usually have. And I think those interests of mine are also one of the factors why I wanted to be a police officer.”
However, her family opposed her decision so she pursued BS Accountancy instead. “I tried to remember where I excel at, and I can remember that in high school, I found bookkeeping, the basics of accountancy, easy. And, without hesitation, I applied for the accounting program.” Ahtisa graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy in 2017 at Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation-Candelaria Campus.
Still, she never forgot her dream of being a police officer. After graduating, she applied to the Philippine National Police Academy. “For a while, I thought the police dream of mine was already gone, but during my process of graduation application in college, that’s where my mind was. I remembered that I really wanted to be a police officer, so I went to the Philippine National Police Academy without anyone knowing it. I did not tell anyone. I kept everything a secret, even from my mom. Especially my mom, because she didn’t agree with my plan.”
In all of these, she emphasizes how important it is to persevere for one’s goals in spite of what others say. ”I think that is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned, that you have to work for your dreams. No one will work for your dreams, so don’t let anyone tell you what you cannot be, what you cannot do, and who you will be.”
She was trained by Aces & Queens and won the title Binibining Pilipinas Miss International. Earlier, she was Bb. Niyogyugan 2016 and Bb. Aliwan 2017 2nd runner up. She was also Miss Young and later Miss Enverga-Candelaria and was also crowned Miss Regional PRISAA. As Quezon’s winning bet, she believes, “This is [the] start of another journey…a journey I am taking for the Philippines.”
Despite her victory, she remains humble and grateful for the people around her and for the success she received. “This dream wouldn’t have been a reality if it weren’t for my family, my friends, my supporters, my core group, and all the people who helped me during this journey.”
In both her planned police officership and beauty pageantry, Ahtisa commits to being true to herself and following her passions. “I don’t let people tell me what I can be, what I cannot do, and what I will be.”
To other dreamers, she has this advice, ”You are never too young to achieve your dreams!”