Meet the beauty queen-turned-real estate investor
MANILA, Philippines --The thought of celebrities living a frugal lifestyle may seem unbelievable considering the lavish balls, parties and other such occasions that call for designer gowns, bags, shoes and jewelries.
But a former beauty queen-turned-television personality didn't let the fame and fortune that came with being first runner-up at the Miss Universe pageant change the values instilled in her by her parents.
On ANC's "On the Money," Miriam Quiambao shared how her parents and a failed business venture with a friend taught her the value of money.
"My parents were both CPAs (certified public accountant)...And I remember when I was 7, they encouraged me to open my own bank account," Quiambao told host Edric Mendoza.
From then on, Quiambao decided to save those envelopes she received from her many "Titos" and Titas" and the 50 centavos her parents gave her by doing household chores by putting them in her bank account.
She carried this frugality throughout her elementary, high school, college days and even life outside campuses.
"As soon as I graduated...I applied as a gym instructor, but the only opening they had was for a part-time job," shared Quiambao.
And what little salary she had from working part-time, she tried her best to save.
"I didn't want to be dependent financially on my parents because now that I'm working, I wanted to see how to make do with what I had. So instead of taking an aircon bus, I instead took the jeep or hitched with my dad so he could drop me off close to the gym where I was working. And in order to save P5, I didn't take the tricycle anymore, I just walked the 1 kilometer to work," Quiambao admitted.
But she was making far too little. So Quiambao, a graduate of BS Physical Therapy in University of Santo Thomas, tried to look for other ways to earn money so as not to burden her parents.
"I took on two home care patients and applied my physical therapy skills. Also, a colleague in the gym was an aerobics instructor so I managed to convince her to teach me some of her skills so I could teach that as well," she said.
And having secured teaching classes for nearby gyms and companies, she eventually began earning P12,000 a month. And during her time, Quiambao shared that the amount "was what most physical therapists in the Philippines on management level were already making."
But, never satisfied, Quiambao decided to take on the offer of joining beauty pageants.
And the rest was history --from auditions, to her fall as she walked down the steps in the 1999 Ms. Universe Pageant, and coming home an inspiration to the many Filipinos.
Quiambao was on top of the world.
"Opportunities opened in show business and in news and public affairs and eventually I earned more. The money that I saved came up to P250,000 at one point," Quiambao said.
"I thought that if I kept it in the banks, it's not gonna work. So I thought I should invest it somewhere," she added.
Here, Quiambao found a friend that she partnered with to go into the property business. She kept investing money and her savings into the business while her friend took care of everything. But eventually, Quiambao found out that her friend "wasn't managing [their] money properly."
"We investigated and found out that all the properties were being repossessed by the banks because she was not paying the amortization," she confessed.
But despite the setback, Quiambao didn't shy away from the world of business to try and regain what she invested her whole life savings in.
"We didn't recover everything which was very heartbreaking for me because my life savings was invested in that. But for some reason, together with my friend, we gathered all the other investors. We presented ourselves to the bank and we just did everything to try and recover the properties," she said
Today, Quiambao owns her own property management and development company, 3Win Realty & Development Corporation.
Quiambao, now a recognized entrepreneur, had some parting words of advice to end the show.
"Invest only in the things that you know. Work with people [you] could trust. Somebody who was integrity and great character...and build a team. Business is not just a one man show," she said.