It'a official: Rabiya Mateo of Iloilo City has bested over 40 candidates at the Miss Universe Philippines 2020 pageant. The 23-year-old from Balasan works as a lecturer and has graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from the Iloilo Doctor's College. She was crowned by Miss Universe Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados.
Rabiya wowed the judges and viewers with her performance in the preliminaries and the Q&A portion. When asked, "If you will create a paper currency with the image of any Filipino on it, dead or alive, who will it be and why?"
Miss Iloilo City answered, "If I will be given the chance, I will use the face of Miriam Defensor Santiago. 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 we never had."
For the second question, the contestants were asked: This pandemic has made clear our priorities, essentials or non-essential. Where do pageants stand in this time of crisis?
Rabiya answered, "As a candidate, I know I am 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 power to make a difference."
The competition's first runner-up is Maria Ysabella Ysmael from Parañaque, followed by second runner-up Michele Gumabao of Quezon City. Third runner-up is Pauline Amelincx of Bohol, while Kimberly Hakenson of Cavite bagged fourth runner-up.
See the winners of the special awards below:
Best in National Costume: Lou Dominique Piczon of Mandaue
Best in Swimsuit: Rabiya Mateo of Iloilo City
Best in Evening Gown: Maria Ysabella Ysmael of Parañaque
Miss Cream Silk, Downy Sweetheart Award, Miss Cetaphil Sun, and Most Beautiful Face Award: Pauline Amelincx of Bohol
Miss MG Philippines: Michele Gumabao of Quezon City
Rabiya will be representing the Philippines at the international Miss Universe 2020 competition, which is slated for 2021.