Millennials are often described as the entitled generation, employees who can’t stay put in a job with an average stay of only 1.6 years! Their life motto is YOLO (You only live once!) and they’re caught up spending left and right just to have something to post on IG, FB, etc. But you see, I also know a lot of great millennials who know what they want in life (a lot earlier than when our generation did) and are working hard to achieve their goals. Yes, they love to spend especially on experience, but they also make a lot of sense and want to make a difference in the world.
Today I start a series entitled FQ cuties. It’s a fun feature to see the positive side of this interesting generation. Let’s get to know them and their high FQuripot tips.
This is Christa Borja. She is 26 years old and is one of the favorite candidates for Binibining Pilipinas which will culminate in a coronation night in April 2017. She is #Binibini20.
Christa Borja is #Binibini20, one of the favorite contestants in the Binibining Pilipinas 2017.
I’ve known Christa since she was probably five years old. Being neighbors, she grew up with my sons and I remember her performing in some village programs together with the other kids. Her mom, Alice, will forever have a soft spot in my heart.
Christa’s mom who is a registered nurse in London.
When I gave birth to our youngest Anton, they found a trace of meconium in my water bag. Meconium is the dark green substance forming the first feces of a newborn infant and to eliminate chances of infection, our baby had to be given antibiotic shots everyday for seven days. So it was either we stay in the hospital until we finish the seven days or I bring my baby to the hospital everyday. But Alice, a registered nurse, volunteered to administer the shots - home-service for free so mommy and baby could go home right away. It was a big gift for our family because at that time in December 1996, older brothers Martin and Enrique were already very anxious to meet their new baby brother. (St. Luke’s didn’t allow children below seven years old to do hospital visits even for family).
Christa is the youngest of three daughters of our neighbors Manny and Alice Borja. She recalls that at a young age, her height (she stands 5’9”) would always make people say, “Christa, you’re so tall, why don’t you apply to be a model?” Christa shares that because of such comments she started watching fashion shows on sky cable, “You know Tita, in my parents’ bedroom, I would do the catwalk. I did it there because they have this big mirror where I could see my strides.”
The young Christa Borja.
She was studying at Miriam College then but at age 14, she joined her mother Alice who was already practicing as a registered nurse in London. She narrates, “Of course, at first, it was hard. I also experienced being bullied. Maybe because I was the new kid in school and I had a different color. I was once pushed down the stairs!” Luckily, no deep scars both on her long legs and her heart were left, as she just looks back at those days as part of growing up as a migrant in a first world country.
She continues her story, “Fortunately, I made friends with nice girls who showed me the ropes and I did pretty well in school. In fact, I also surprised myself when I graduated from St. Mary’s University with first class honors.” Christa took up Tourism Management Studies in this Catholic University in London.
She started working part-time during her college days. She also did several internships until she became a Fashion Merchandiser at Marks & Spencer in U.K. She worked on both budgets and market research for the firm.
High FQuripot tips from #Binibini20
Christa had to take a student loan to fund her college education and that is why she is also careful in budgeting her earnings. Here are some high FQuripot tips from Christa.
1. I don’t have a credit card. This way, all that I buy, I buy with the money I already have.
2. I love to shop for clothes but I never buy them in full price. I always wait for the sale.
3. I have my weekly and monthly budgets. For my transpo in London, I made sure I was using the most economical routes and trains from our home to my place of work.
4. I stick to my budget for fun time and holidays.
And here’s a really cute story about number 4.
“There was a plan to go home to the Philippines for Christmas 2015 but my budget was not enough for fare and the usual pasalubongs so I said I won’t go anymore. Then my sister said, ‘Christa, why don’t you join this beauty contest. If you win Miss Philippines U.K., your fare will be free!’ At that time Tita, even if the thought of becoming a model had already crossed my mind in the past, I had not really thought about joining a beauty pageant. Believe it or not, the free fare was my motivation! Then a friend of mine said, ‘Naku Christa, baka matalo ka lang, sayang pa yong panahon at pagod mo!’ Somehow, I didn’t appreciate her lack of support, but it lit a fire inside me to be more competitive.”
And so the story of turning something negative into positive happened here. Christa won the title Miss Philippines U.K. 2015! Yahoo!
Christa Borja crowned as Miss Philippines U.K. Check out the pink prize she’s holding. It says, “winning a return ticket to Manila,” her motivation in joining this beauty contest.
Fact is, I was probably one of the first to tell her that she should join a beauty contest. Back in 2009 when Marvin and I visited them in London, she was only 19 years old then but I noticed that while we were walking on the streets, she always elicited a second look from the people. But it took a few years to convince herself to join. Heck! It took a free ticket home to motivate her!
After winning the Miss Philippines U.K. in 2015, she also joined Miss Great Britain 2016 (she has dual citizenship – Filipino and British). The winner of that pageant competed here in Manila during the Miss Universe 2016.
Christa Borja as Miss Universe Great Britain finalist in 2016.
At that time, she had to make a decision, “Do I go on and try to compete in the Binibining Pilipinas back home? I had to decide, because it was the last year I could still join the pageant.” She gathered her courage, packed her bags and said goodbye to her stable job at Marks & Spencer. I’ve seen how this young woman work hard and give it her best as she prepares for the pageant and I kid you not when I say it’s a lot of hard work. But Christa is just so happy to have the support of her family, friends, neighbors and even her boyfriend back in London, also a looker, with his Filipino and Italian genes.
Christa met her boyfriend Gio Gregorio through online channels. She’s the first to say that it’s not the best way to meet your future boyfriend but this is how it happened, “We liked the same FB page, then I made a comment. He also made a comment, then he sent me a friend request. Of course, there’s online pakipot also, so even if I found his photo cute I didn’t accept right away but asked through PM, ‘Do I know you? Have we met at a Filipino party in the past?’ And then it developed from there. When I saw how he showed respect and love, especially to his Filipina mom, ayon na! It’s been nine years, Tita!”
Christa continues to talk about Gio with fondness and love, “He’s a good influence on me. I think he has a higher FQ compared to me. I appreciate that after nine years, he is still very caring. Now that I’m not there, he still visits my mom and sister, helps them with their errands like do the groceries, feed our cat.” To all the above I said, “Wow!”
While Christa used to be a super planner with rigid schedules and checklists, preparing for this pageant has somewhat made her less controlling. Yes, she’s still competitive and would want to win the crown, but she’s now more focused on enjoying each moment – the training, the long nights, embracing all the uncertainties that go with the whole adventure.
Christa shares, “More than ever, I now believe that if you want something, you have to go for it. This was probably a dream already in my heart as a young girl but it was put aside because of other matters, one of which was that my dad was very conservative and I knew he wouldn’t approve of me joining a beauty contest. Thankfully, I now have his and everybody’s support. I’ve adapted well to the British culture but deep down inside, I’m still very Pinay. I still have my Pinoy values intact like love for family. At the end of the day, I still have a boodle fight with my sister, watch Tagalog shows on TV and enjoy the usual Pinoy thrills.”
Indeed, it’s exciting times ahead for #Binibini20. Catch us today at 12:10 p.m. on FQ Live! Episode 6 as I interview Christa about her FQuripot tips, her preparation for the pageant and many more. If you have any questions (including Miss Universe questions ) PM me via FQ Mom Facebook page.
You may wish to follow her journey through:
And support their hashtags:
Should you wish to vote for her and I’m gently asking you to do so please click this link:
Cheers to FQ cuties and I hope this piece inspired you to come up with your own high FQuripot tips!
1. Watch FQ Live! today at 12:10 p.m. and join my conversation with Binibini 20 Christa Borja.
2. I will give a talk at the Gender and Development (GAD) at the National Police Commission on March 22, 2017 at 10 a.m.
3. I will give a talk at the Alumni Connect on March 25, 2017 at the Decagon Silver City.
4. Want to know your FQ Score. Take it today. Who knows you or your friends may be FQ cuties! Click link to take the test. http://tinyurl.com/FQTest
Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books "Raising Pinoy Boys" and "The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon" (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is a behavioral economist, a certified gallup strengths coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Images from normannorman.com, yuleefoster.wordpress.com, Fg-a.com, angelopedia.com put together to help deliver the message.