Fasts Facts About Rabiya Mateo, Winner of Miss Universe Philippines 2020

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Rabiya Mateo from Iloilo City is the winner of Miss Universe Philippines 2020.

She was also recognized as Best in Swimsuit.

She was joined by Billie Hakenson from Cavite (4th runner up), Pauline Amelinckx from Bohol (3rd runner up), Michele Gumabao from Quezon City (2nd runner up),  and Ysabella Ysmael from Paranaque (1st runner up).

Here’s everything we know about Mateo, who will represent the country in the next edition of the Miss Universe pageant:

1. Mateo is from Balasan, described as the second to the last town in the northern province of Iloilo. It is known for its numerous waterfalls and the abundance of seafood. The municipality is known for its Balasan bibingka, a crispy rice cake made from coconut meat and coconut milk, with a sprinkling of brown sugar.

2. Mateo has a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy. She graduated cum laude and university valedictorian, and was recognized as best intern from Iloilo Doctor’s College in 2018.

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3. Prior to joining the Miss Universe Philippines pageant, Mateo was a lecturer and review coordinator at a review center.

4. Mateo’s advocacy is education because she believes it’s what “helped me to have that comfortable life that I and my family deserve.”

5. She has used her platform for good. She has worked with organizations and local charitable institutions in Iloilo to raise funds for frontliners and pedicab drivers. She also helped make and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) to Ilonggo frontliners. On top of that, she helped cook food and repack donations for residents.

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6. Mateo also actively brings attention to medical frontliners. In one Instagram post, she said, “Not all heroes wear capes. Some are disguised in their scrub suits, uniforms, or even in common clothes but their hearts are in the right place to give service to the Filipino community.”

7. At her 30-second speech during the top 16 round, Mateo said, “First of all I need to stick to my core, which is being passionate about educating people. 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 that anything is possible because I am a phenomenal woman with a heart of beauty.”

8. Mateo was the top pick in Missosology’s Third Hot Picks for the pageant. Missosology is the leading beauty pageant website that covers and analyzes the world’s, rather the universe’s, competitions.

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9. For her national costume, she portrayed Maniwantiwan, the wife of Marikudo, who is the chief of Aeta tribe of Panay Island. The ensemble was designed by Tata Blas Pinuela, a designer from Iloilo.

10. In the Q&A portion of the Miss Universe Philippines, she was asked: “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?” Mateo 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.”

11. In the second question, the top 5 were asked the same question: “The pandemic has made clear our priorities, essential or non-essential. Where do pageants stand in this time of crisis?” Mateo responded, “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 a beauty pageant. It gives us the power to make a difference.”

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12. Mateo is the first winner of the Miss Universe Philippines pageant after the Miss Universe Organization ended its partnership with the Araneta Group and the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. She is also the first to wear the Filipina crown, which represents the “achievement of one’s mind over body as a Filipina.”

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