‘The best president we never had’: Iloilo’s Rabiya Mateo wins Miss Universe Philippines 2020 with homage to Miriam Santiago

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo - Philstar.com
âThe best president we never hadâ: Iloiloâs Rabiya Mateo wins Miss Universe Philippines 2020 with homage to Miriam Santiago
Rabiya Mateo is Miss Universe Philippines 2020
Miss Universe Philippines via GMA, screenshot

MANILA, Philippines — Miss Iloilo City Rabiya Mateo was crowned as first winner of the inaugural Miss Universe Philippines (MUP) 2020 pageant, held in Baguio Country Club and telecast early morning today.

The 24-year-old Filipina-Indian stood out among the 46 contenders with her morena and strong Latina looks and her winning combo of answers at the final question and answer (Q&A) portion.




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#missuniversephilippines #MUPH2020 #phenomenalwoman

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A cum laude graduate from Iloilo Doctors’ College, Rabiya is also the reigning Miss Iloilo Universe 2020 and an advocate of education.

Here are the rest of the winners:

First runner-up: Miss Parañaque Ysabella Ysmael
Second runner-up: Miss Quezon City Michele Gumabao
Third runner-up: Miss Bohol Pauline Amelinckx
Fourth runner-up: Miss Cavite Kimberly Hakenson

Unlike many pageants, MUP asked two questions during the final Q&A round. For the first question, pageant host KC Montero asked a question unique to every contestant while the second question was a generic one.

For the first question, Mateo was asked: “If you can create a new paper currency with the image of any Filipino on it, dead or alive, who would it be and why?”

Mateo replied with:

“If I would be given the chance, I would use the face of Miriam Defensor-Santiago. For those who don’t know, she’s an Ilongga but what I admired about her, 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.”

It can be recalled that the late senator Defensor-Santiago, who died of cancer in 2016, was among Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s competitors during the last presidential elections.

For the second question, which was asked to everyone in the top five, “This pandemic has made clear our priorities, essential and non-essential. Where do pageants stand in this time of crisis?,” this was Mateo’s answer:

“As a candidate I know I’m not only 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, to use my strength to make an impact. And that is the essence of beauty pageant, it has the power to make a difference.”

As winner, Mateo will represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant and will receive prizes such as the newly designed Filipina Crown, a brand new MG car, and contract as new ambassador of brands like Lazada, Cream Silk and Downy, among others.


Iloilo - Rabiya Mateo @rabiyamateo Miss Universe Philippines - Preliminary Gown

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Prior to this, Rabiya won the Hair and Makeup Challenge and Best in Swimsuit, which, according MUP, was because she successfully put all the beautiful elements (scenery and curves) into one picture.



Iloilo - Rabiya Mateo @rabiyamateo Miss Universe Philippines - Preliminary Swimsuit

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The first Miss Universe Philippines pageant was a mix of both traditional and virtual methods, with the theme "Confident, beautiful, and empowered Filipinas” adopted from the Miss Universe slogan “Confidently Beautiful.”

RELATED: Miss Bohol is on a roll: Miss Universe Philippines 2020 preliminary winners named

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