Many of us know Precious Lara Quigaman as the beauty queen who won the Miss International crown back in 2005. On Instagram, she’s the ultimate style icon with her glamorous OOTDs and travel photos with her family. What we don’t usually see, however, are stories about the struggles she needed to overcome before she stepped foot on the Binibining Pilipinas stage.

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The Miss International titleholder took to Instagram to express how grateful she was to have visited Italy—a travel destination she only used to dream about when she was younger.

“Being in Italy with my husband, enjoying the sight, the food, the experience, and just each other was wow! Those were things that I used to just dream about, you know?” She wrote in her caption. “It was a humbling, overwhelming moment to realize how truly good God is, how He gives more than we ask.”

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She also looked back on her college years when she used to hide her jeepney fare in her socks to make sure she’d have money for a ride home.

“Quick college story—When I used to commute from Biñan, Laguna to UST in España, I always only had the exact amount of money for a meal, and enough money to get to school and back home,” the 39-year-old shares. “I used to hide my pamasahe in my socks or bra [so] in case ma hold-up ang jeep na sinasakyan ko, eh makakauwi pa rin ako."

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Now, she is a loving mom of three who gets to enjoy the fruits of her unparalleled hard work—all while serving as an inspiration to many. We’re so happy for you, Lara!

This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Female Network editors.

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