‘PEOPLE’S QUEEN’: Humble Rabiya Mateo gives back to Ilonggo fans

Arnold Almacen photo

Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo was all smiles during her grand homecoming on Friday, November 13, 2020 to greet the yearning Ilonggos eagerly waiting  to see her.

After her historic win as Miss Universe Philippines 2020 last October 25, it was only on Friday that Rabiya finally returned home to Iloilo after weeks of competition in Luzon.

Ilonggos wearing red t-shirts with balloons and banners flooded the main streets of Iloilo City as they chanted her name during the motorcade which started at lunch time.

The Ilongga beauty queen paraded the streets of Iloilo City and braved the scorching heat of the sun.

Some netizens who joined the homecoming parade said there were many attempts to offer Rabiya with an umbrella, but she refused saying she wanted to see everyone who were cheering for her.

“We were there at the parade and kahit na may payong na ibinibigay, mas pinili niya sumayaw na lang. Ang dami ng worried kasi sobrang init pero hindi talaga siya gumamit ng payong. Gusto daw niya makita lahat,” netizens @kperezgray and @mackoleidoscope shared.

In his personal blog, pageant blogger Heyadamg described Rabiya Mateo as the “People’s Queen”.

“One of the reasons why Rabiya Mateo is admired by millions of people all over our nation is because she has strayed true to her personality and remained humble even though she is now the fairest queen of our land.”

During the short meet-up with the press, Rabiya said she is overwhelmed by the love and support of Ilonggos.

She said Ilonggos helped her conquer the rigorous Miss Universe Philippines tilt.

“I was able to conquer Miss Universe Philippines because of the love and the support of every Ilonggo. Madamo gid nga salamat. Words are not enough to describe how overwhelmed I am right now. The act of coming here. Just to see me kaya thank you gid ya guys,” she said.

The Ilongga beauty queen also recalled the doubts and uncertainties that she felt at the start of the competition.

During those doubtful times, Rabiya said she would always remind herself of the glory and honor once she brings back the crown to Iloilo City.

“I started as a nobody in the pageant world. I really wanted to win for Iloilo. There were a lot of comments that I will never be Miss Universe Philippines, but I choose to surround myself with people who wanted me to win. I would always remind myself the glory and honor that I will bring back to Iloilo City once I have the crown on top of my head. Iloilo City, we finally have it,” she said during her welcome dinner on Friday evening.

Rabiya promised Ilonggos that she will do everything to snatch the fifth Miss Universe crown for the country.

“This is a promise. I’m gonna do everything to bring home the fifth crown of Miss Universe,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jerry Treñas congratulated Rabiya during the welcome dinner. The mayor said Rabiya’s victory is also the victory of Iloilo City and the Ilonggos.

“Throughout her journey, she carried with her the Ilonggo pride. She showcased not only our soft and charming side but also our courage and bravery to stand and win any battle we embark on. On behalf of the beautiful people of Iloilo City, I sincerely congratulate our queen. Your victory is also our victory. And your continuing pursuit to bring Iloilo city’s name to not just national but also universal stage, will always be our source of honor and pride,” he said.

Despite her busy schedule, Rabiya has also managed to initiate a donation drive for the victims of Typhoon Rolly and Ulysses just as she also celebrated her 24th birthday on November 14.

“It will be my 24th birthday but I cannot be fully happy knowing some victims of Typhoon Rolly and Ulysses have nothing to eat or wear. To all Ilonggos, I’m asking for your support in my donation drive in any kinds (clothing, canned goods, or cash). For those who are interested to donate you can contact me or Miss Air 0917605368,” she shared in her Facebook page. (ERS)