Iloilo City bet, Rabiya Mateo, will represent the Philippines in the next Miss Universe pageant. Meet the stunning Ilongga beauty queen.
Rabiya Mateo was crowned Miss Universe Philippines in Baguio Country Club on October 25, 2020. She is the official successor of Gazini Ganados, who finished in the Top 20 last year. Mateo competed for title in the Final 5 against fellow contestants: Maria Ysabella "Bella" Ysmael of Parañaque (1st Runner-up), Michele Gumabao of Quezon City (2nd runner-up), Pauline Amelinckx of Bohol (3rd runner-up), and
Kimberly "Billie" Hakenson of Cavite (4th runner-up).
Mateo was the true underdog of the pageant. She was well recognized, but not a top bet by critics. Many were pining over Ysmael and Gumabao, because of their history in the pageant industry as compared to Mateo, who is a new face in the scene. Despite this, the 24-year old Ilongga beauty queen persevered through her articulate answers in the Q&A portion and the beautiful white gown by Jung Candelaria in the preliminaries, and even more so during the finals night.
When taking a look into Mateo’s Instagram account, you’ll find that most of her photos are centered around her advocacy: education. As a mode of communication, she would often switch from either English to Ilonggo when speaking to her audience online. She would often spread messages of positivity, motivation, and empowerment whenever captioning her photos.
Rabiya’s winning answers proved her maturity to take on the role as a representative of the Philippines. She spoke about her love for Miriam Defensor-Santiago and how pageantry helps aid victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. Miss Universe Philippines host, KC Montero’s final question for Mateo was: “This pandemic has made clear our priorities, essential and non-essential. Where do pageants stand in this time of crisis?” To which she 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 pageants, it gives us the power to make a difference.”