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Ilonggos rally behind Rabiya Mateo, proud of what she has achieved at Miss Universe 2020

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published May 17, 2021 7:28 pm

Ilonggos have sent their all-out support to Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo since Day 1 of the Ilongga beauty queen’s journey to the Miss Universe stage.

After Rabiya’s big win in the Miss Universe Philippines 2020 pageant in October, Iloilo City pulled out all the stops to make a grand homecoming for Rabiya despite the challenges from pandemic restrictions. 

Now that Iloilo’s daughter has ended her Miss Universe journey with a Top 21 finish—many fans suggest she should have placed higher in the pageant—Rabiya’s fellow Ilonggos continue to rally behind her and let her know that she made her kababayans proud.

In a statement, the Iloilo Government expressed its support to the Ilonggo beauty queen. 

“The Ilonggos are very proud of what Miss Universe Philippines Rabiya Mateo has achieved. Being in the competition is truly tough, but the Ilongga beauty queen gave her best for our country. We extend to her the warm love of the Ilonggos as we look forward to welcome her home. Mabuhay ka Queen Rabiya!”

Meanwhile, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas also sent his congratulations to Rabiya in his post, where he commended Rabiya’s dedication and hard work to achieve her dreams. “She had fluently represented the City of Love to the entire globe, and we are proud of her,” Treñas said in a statement.

This morning, Treñas released a statement on the Iloilo Government’s Facebook page requesting teachers and employers to give consideration for their students or employees who might be late as they watch the “once-in-a-lifetime chance of an Ilongga to win the Miss Universe crown. This is just a request to everyone from one Ilonggo to another.”

The Iloilo Doctors’ College, Rabiya’s alma mater where she graduated cum laude and university valedictorian with a Physical Therapy degree, also acknowledged Rabiya’s journey leading to the competition. 

“Iloilo Doctors’ College is proud of you, Rabiya Mateo! You fought a good fight!” The school’s statement said on its Facebook page.

Rabiya, who hails from Balasan, Iloilo, believes in the beauty and talent of Iloilo. In one of her interviews during the Miss Universe Philippines pageant, Rabiya shared that she wanted to showcase to the global community the indigenous fabric from Iloilo called hablon, a handwoven textile made from local fibers such as piña, abaca and cotton.

The gowns that she used for the preliminary rounds and the finale of the Miss Universe Philippines 2020 were creations of Iloilo-based fashion designer Jung Candelario. While her national costume, inspired by the Dinagyang Festival, was made by Tata Blas Pinuela, also from Iloilo. 

With Rabiya’s love for her hometown, it is no surprise that her fellow Ilonggos have staunchly supported her throughout the competition. 

In the days leading to the Miss Universe pageant, Ilonggo artists Kristoffer Brasileño, Jester Macabanti and Kyle Sarte did a chalk art portrait of Rabiya on the Iloilo Business Park grounds. The portrait bears the color of the Philippine flag and an image of Rabiya with a halo of sun.

Over the weekend, the historic Lizares Mansion at the Angelicum School in Iloilo City illuminated in the colors of the Philippine flag in support of the Ilonggo beauty queen. 

Banner and thumbnail photos by Miss Universe Philippines, and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas' Facebook page