Ilongga beauty queen Rabiya Mateo dedicated her Miss Universe Philippines 2020 crown to her mother after she dominated the pre-taped pageant held at Baguio Country Club’s Cordillera Convention Hall in Baguio City.
The 23-year-old Filipino-Indian beauty bested more than 40 candidates from all over the country and emerged as the first-ever beauty queen to wear the coveted “Filipina” crown during ceremonies hosted by the City of Pines and aired on October 25, 2020.
The Iloilo City representative wowed the selection committee during the panel interview and aced the preliminary and final swimsuit rounds where she won the Best in Swimsuit award.
Mateo undeniably shined during the coronation ceremony with her communication skills during the Question and Answer (Q&A) portions.
In the Top 16 round, all contestants faced initial question: “Throughout this journey, you have discovered that you’re a phenomenal woman which is conditioned for greater (sic). How can you create a positive and lasting impact to the world around you?”
In her answer, the Iloilo City pride emphasized the importance of education.
“First of all, I need to stick to my core, which is being passionate about educating people,” she said. “I am a lecturer and I’ve been pursuing this because this education had helped me to have that comfortable life that I and my family deserves.
“And I wanna push people. I want them to achieve greater things in life through me. And I know with Miss Universe, anything is possible because I am a phenomenal woman with a heart of beauty.”
When she made it to the Top 5 segment, Mateo and her co-finalists were asked two pre-drawn questions each.
For her questions: “If you could create a new paper currency with the image of any Filipino on it, dead or alive, who would it be and why?” The Ilongga beauty dropped the name of the late senator from Iloilo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
“If I were given the chance, I want to use the face of Miriam Defensor-Santiago,” Rabiya answered. “For those who don’t know, she was an Ilongga but what I admired about her is that she used her knowledge, her voice to serve the country.
“And I want to be somebody like her, somebody who puts her heart, her passion into action. And after all, she is the best president that we never had.”
She also answered the second question: “This pandemic has made clear our priorities, essential or non-essential. Where do pageants stand in this time of crisis?”
This time, Rabiya replied: “As a candidate I know I’m not just the face of Iloilo City. But I am here, carrying hope and as a symbol of light in the darkest times.
“And as of the moment, I want to help my community, I want to use my strength to make an impact. And that is the essence of beauty pageant, it gives us the power to make a difference.”
Here are the winners of Miss Universe Philippines 2020:
- Miss Universe Philippines 2020 – Rabiya Mateo, Iloilo City
- First Runner-up – Maria Ysabella Ysmael, Paranaque City
- Second Runner-up – Michele Gumabao, Quezon City
- Third Runner-up – Pauline Amelinckx, Bohol
- Fourth Runner-up – Kimberly Hakenson, Cavite
During her interview with ABS-CBN reporter Dyan Castillejo a day after the pageant, Mateo dedicated her crown to her mother who singlehandedly raised her and her younger brother.
“I offer this success to my single mother,” the Filipina beauty queen said.
In another interview with pageant vlogger Adam Genato, Mateo recalled the lessons her mother bestowed upon her when she was competing at the national beauty derby.
“Masayang masaya s’ya kasi pangarap n’ya rin ‘to sa akin,” the pageant winner said. “‘Yong mama ko kasi palagi n’ya ako nire-remind na, ‘Anak, huwag ka talaga magpapadala sa fame. Huwag kang magpapadala sa pressure. Always be Rabiya na lahat na nakakakilala sa’yo… Don’t let the world destroy who you are.’
“Ngayon, I can’t wait to go home and to hug my mom,” she continued. “And gusto ko nga i-try sa kanya ‘yong crown kasi she’s my real queen.
Mateo went on: “Kahit naman sa humble achievements ko, little things that I do, napaka-proud talaga ng mama ko sa’kin. And parang regalo ko ‘to sa kanya, e.
“Kasi single mother s’ya. Ang dami n’yang sinakripisyo. Ang dami n’yang ginawa para maiahon kaming dalawa ng kapatid ko. And ngayon may anak na s’yang Miss Universe Philippines,” Mateo concluded.
Prior to winning the Miss Universe Philippines 2020 competition, Rabiya Mateo has already been an inspiration in her hometown as someone who rose from poverty and graduated cum laude at the Iloilo Doctor’s College. She is now a licensed physical therapist who opted to work as a lecturer in review centers in different provinces.
Rabiya Mateo will try to duplicate Catriona Gray’s feat in 2018 and win the fifth Miss Universe crown for the Philippines.
SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Iloilo’s Rabiya Mateo for honoring her single mother with her Miss Universe Philippines crown.
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