On to greater things

Vanessa A. Balbuena (The Freeman) - May 18, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Rabiya Mateo, a Top 21 finalist at yesterday’s 69th Miss Universe, is not dwelling on her loss.

Moments after the coronation telecast ended, Rabiya, together with Miss Bolivia Lenka Nemer D’rpic went live on Instagram to appease her fans who might be feeling down with her placement.

“This is like a beautiful start for something new. It’s just gonna be one girl crowned, but I know in my heart, everyone of us, we are alright even without that crown,” the 24-year-old Ilongga said.

“And the impact you made is also for life. It’s not every day that we got to represent our countries. So this is really a great opportunity for all the girls and we are happy to be here. Thank you so much for your support.”

Her national director Shamcey Supsup-Lee, who was celebrating her birthday the same day as the finals, posted this message for Rabiya on Instagram: “You have shown us what it means to be relentless, unyielding and unstoppable in the pursuit of your dreams. Despite the setbacks, critics and failures, you continued to wear the Philippine sash with pride and love.”

“And for that, you are a winner, not just in my eyes but in the hearts of millions of Filipinos around the world. Padayon!”

MUP creative director Jonas Gaffud, meanwhile, thought Rabiya would have been a great contender for the crown had she reached the Top 10. But “…it is ok…it is not her destiny. So let us move on...on to greater things,” he wrote on social media.

Rabiya may also not have been able to fully display her orange Sarimanok-inspired finals gown by Furne Amato, but the Cebuano designer is “still so proud” of our girl nonetheless.

“Like a phoenix, on your own pace and time, you will soar high,” said Amato.

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