Mateo, a 23-year-old Filipino-Indian, defeated 45 other candidates to represent the country’s upcoming Miss Universe pageant.
Mateo is a licensed physical therapist who graduated cum laude from Iloilo Doctors College.
In the question and answer portion of the contest, Mateo said that if she is allowed to put any Filipino on paper currency, she will put the face of stateswoman 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. I want to be somebody like her – somebody who puts her heart, her passion into action. After all, she is the best President that we never had,” Rabiya Mateo said.
Matthew was also asked what she thinks of pageants during this time of crisis.
Mateo answered, “As a candidate, I know I am not just a face of Iloilo City, but I am here carrying hope and as a symbol of light in the darkest of times. 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,” she added.
Iloilo beauty wins Miss Universe Philippines
Meanwhile, here are the Miss Universe Philippines runner-ups:
- 1st runner-up – Maria Ysabella Ysmael ng Parañaque
- 2nd runner-up – Michele Gumabao ng Quezon City
- 3rd runner-up – Pauline Amelinckx ng Bohol
- 4th runner-up – Kimberly “Billie” Hakenson ng Cavite
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray congratulated Mateo.
“Welcome to the sisterhood! Excited to witness your journey,” said Gray.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas also extended his congratulations to Mateo.
“She has just proven that Ilonggo women are gwapa inside and out. Truly, an Ilongga that upholds our brand as the City of Love will always stand out in whatever endeavor we take,” said Treñas.
“We wish her luck in her next journey. Rest assured, Iloilo City and its people will be behind her all the way,” the mayor added.
This is the first time that the Miss Universe Philippines pageant has been held because its pageant was previously crowned under Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc.