Rabiya Mateo returns home; opens up about missing dad, love life, showbiz career

Earl D.C. Bracamonte - Philstar.com
Rabiya Mateo returns home; opens up about missing dad, love life, showbiz career
Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo
Rabiya Mateo via Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — After her stint at the 69th Miss Universe, and after close to a two-month extended stay in the US, Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo is finally home in time for the pre-pageant activities of the forthcoming national pageant.

"I'm having a hard time booking my flight. But, I'm doing my best so when I've come back we're gonna celebrate this mini-victory of being able to continue the winning streak of the Philippines for 11 years! Can you imagine that? We are blessed and I am very happy as I am privileged to be a representative - not just of Iloilo but the whole country. It was a rollercoaster ride and I learned a lot," shared the Ilongga beauty during a visit to the White House before her Philippines return.

Apart from Washington, D.C., Rabiya was also seen donning the Philippine terno in the streets of New York. Her Washington visit was part of a fund-raising campaign against cancer.

"My grandmother, who helped my mom in raising me, died of cancer. There was this question that if there's one thing in this world I want to change and why. I want to eliminate cancer. It destroys a lot of beautiful stories. It puts an end to a lot of lives. That's why, for opportunities where we can extend help, like a fund-raising, we can add years to lives and add quality life to see stories of these people," she said.

During one of her nights out, Rabiya had dinner with Hollywood director Cyrus Nowrasteh, who helmed the film "The Young Messiah."

"I'll be joining local showbusiness soon. I'm thinking of doing a TV magazine show like 'Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho.' Kasi madaldal ako and I like interviewing people. It's an easier stint than being a beauty queen competing in an international stage.

"Joining pageantry gives a lot of changes but it's the character build-up in a story and a twist toward competing in the Miss Universe that's noteworthy. It's a test of character but also a test of faith. What I love about this journey is that I was able to appreciate myself even better, and how much I worked hard to achieve the things I want in life.

"Miss Universe is not the end, it's only the beginning of something beautiful that is about to come and I'm very much excited for the opportunities and chances that good people are about to give me for my future. Coming from nothing, this is a change for me to have and establish a secured life," enthused Rabiya.

Like titleholders before her, she, too, is smitten by the showbiz bug.

"Netizens are more tolerable of artistas than beauty queens. As a beauty queen, there's so much pressure to be that perfect Filipina with perfect communication skills, great body, and perfect in all aspects.

"But, as a celebrity, you can show your funny side and be vulnerable as you want. Now, I'm ready for anything. I've been through the worst of life. I need to have a different mindset because I'm about to enter show business. It's not gonna be easy but I think it's easier than being Miss Universe Philippines."

Rabiya sees herself living in the United States in the next five to 10 years practicing her profession as a physical therapist.

"There are lots of Filipino communities here so I won't feel alone or lonely. I still didn't find my dad. My doors are still open to meeting my father here in the States. But, who knows, one day I might meet him and be able to talk to him. I understand of his reservations to meet me. He has his own family now.

"As to my love life, that's only one phase of my life. Someday, there's gonna be a person who'll love me for who I am," quipped Rabiya at the close of her tete-a-tete with the Philippine Cancer Society in Washington.


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