Ilonggos filled the streets to watch the beauty queen’s motorcade through the main streets of Iloilo City on Friday.
A crowd of fans visited the venues where she went, prompting authorities to remind the public of maintaining physical distancing due to the COVID-19.
Many fans wore red in response to a call to “paint Iloilo City red” to welcome Rabiya Mateo.
Mateo paid a visit to the Iloilo provincial capitol where she met Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. and Balasan Mayor Manuel Ganzon.
Meanwhile, provincial officials showed Mateo a copy of a provincial board resolution commending her for winning Miss Universe Philippines 2020.
She also visited the Iloilo City Hall, where she met with Mayor Jerry Treñas and other officials.
Treñas described Rabiya Mateo as the “modern epitome of Iloilo’s beauty and grandeur.”
The beauty queen thanked Ilonggos for their support and warm welcome and vowed that she would “do everything to bring home the fifth Miss Universe crown.”
She also promised to become an ambassadress of goodwill for the city and province of Iloilo.
“I pledge in bringing Iloilo to the global community,” said Mateo here on Saturday.
Iloilo welcomes Miss Universe PH 2020 Rabiya Mateo
The Ilongga beauty queen celebrated her 24th birthday in Iloilo City.
Rabiya Mateo also expressed hope that Iloilo wins the bid to host the 2021 Miss Universe Philippines as this would help boost the city and province’s tourism industry.
“I can’t wait for them to experience the City of Love,” she added.
During her homecoming, Rabiya took the opportunity to buy her mother a TV set from the cash prize that she won. Her mother watched her daughter won the crown on a neighbor’s TV set.
Rabiya revealed during the pageant that her father, “Indian by race and an American citizen,” last heard working in Chicago. She and her little brother were abandoned by their father when she was five years old — “My mom never remarried, so there were only three of us left.”
Rabiya hopes that her Miss Universe journey would reconnect with her father like her predecessor Gazini Ganados.