Miss Universe-Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo is bound to open a new decade for the country in the world of pageantry. While there’s pressure to win the fifth title for the Philippines, Rabiya takes inspiration from her kababayans and trusts that their prayers will usher her to success.
It’s been a month since she’s able to secure the ticket to the Miss Universe pageant yet the gorgeous Rabiya remains over the moon, still in awe of how her life changed in a snap. She still can’t believe people would recognize her anywhere she goes even with face masks on.
Looking back on the final days of the competition, she said it felt different to own the stage without an audience. But the judges, production team, and the candidates’ mentors were cheering on them.
Rabiya’s life is a Cinderella story, an inspiring tale of living a simple life in the province under the care of her mom raising her solo until she became the queen that she is today. Now, she understands that the trials are leading her to an extraordinary purpose.
“Hindi madali ang buhay namin. Kailangan ko pagdaanan lahat ng hirap kasi ‘yun pala magiging Miss. Universe-Philippines ako, masha-share ko na ‘yung kwento ko sa maraming tao na ganun din ‘yung pinagdadaanan nila. Ngayon, magiging source ako ng inspiration,” she said.
She now realized that growing up in a broken home, working while studying, and every hardship she went through served as God’s preparations. Nothing is sweeter than victory earned by hard work.
She had fun and overflowing happiness on her homecoming in Iloilo. Her mom, tearful and proud, waited for her arrival at the airport. Rabiya felt so loved during the motorcade wherein her kababayans welcomed her with cheer and congratulatory messages on placards and tarpaulin. The hero’s welcome filled her heart with joy.
Rabiya’s win was an answered prayer. She asked God to give her the crown on her first try because it would be difficult to join again and go through the same steps. Being the breadwinner, she can’t afford to sacrifice her job again, had she lost this year.
The beauty queen knows she still has so much to learn. Apart from gratitude, her prayers are also about asking God to give her more strength. The Miss Universe organization would soon complete the line-up of candidates, and our bet can’t hide her excitement.
Apart from making the country proud, Rabiya hopes that joining the Miss Universe will help her reconnect with her estranged father, just as how Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 2019 Gazini Ganados reunited with her biological dad after appearing in the international pageant.
Despite being abandoned as a child, Rabiya is eager to fulfil her duties as a daughter to her dad. She has a lot of questions in her heart, although she’s also scared to know the answers.
“Wala po akong sama ng loob sa tatay ko. Gusto ko lang talaga malaman kung bakit niya nagawa ‘yun, kung paano niya nagawa ‘yun. Gusto ko lang talaga makita kung okay siya ngayon, kung maayos ba ‘yung kalagayan niya. Kasi kung hindi nga po, willing akong gampanan ‘yung responsibilidad ko bilang anak ko sa kanya,” expressed Rabiya.
Rabiya turned teary-eyed when asked to give her dad a message in case he’s watching. She told the father she hasn’t met, “I love you so much. Even for a fact that you left us, you’ve always been my source of inspiration. I’ve always wanted to be that kind of daughter in which you will be proud of me. And I hope someday, when we meet, you will be proud. I love you so much, dad.”