According to the beauty queen from Iloilo, her mother raised her alone.
“I offer the success to my single mother, ang lahat siguro ng mga doubts ko in the past, lahat ng pagsusumikap, parang ngayon ko lang nakuha ang results,” said Mateo, 23 years old.
Mateo’s mother is Filipina from Iloilo, while her father is Indian. The new Miss Universe Philippines said her father abandoned them when she was only 5 years old.
“We were abandoned when I was around 5 years old. I have a younger brother, same dad, same mom. My mom was the only one who raised us,” Rabiya Mateo said.
Rabiya Mateo said she became the breadwinner of the family at an early age.
“Since broken family kami, hindi talaga masaya ang buhay. I can say hindi siya smooth kasi maraming problems, especially when it comes to finances. That’s why at an early age, naging breadwinner ako ng family while being a full scholar. I was doing some modeling gigs just to earn money na pambaon ko lang,” she said.
According to Mateo, education was her way of fighting poverty.
Miss Universe Philippines Rabiya Mateo
She worked hard in college until she graduated from cum laude physical therapy course in 2018 at Iloilo Doctors College.
She worked as a lecturer at a physical therapy review center before joining Miss Universe Philippines.
“I said in my free speech, na education is talaga the gateway to success. I have experienced it first hand.”
“Sabi ko, this was just a dream, sabi ko wala talagang impossible once you put your heart and soul into something that you really want to do,” said Mateo.
Mateo promises that she will try even harder to train for the Miss Universe pageant to bring honor to the 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