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Ilongga na may lahing Indian, kauna-unahang Miss Universe Philippines

ISANG Ilongga ang nagwaging kauna-unahang Miss Universe Philippines, si Rabiya Mateo, 24, mula sa Bulasan, Iloilo, at may taas na 5′ 6″.

Kinoronahan siya sa Baguio City kahapon ng umaga ni Gazini Ganados ang kahuli-hulihang Bb. Pilipinas-Universe. Apatnapu’t lima ang contestants buhat sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa.

Magkaiba ng titulo sina Rabiya at Gazini dahil hindi na ang Bb. Pilipinas Charities ang namamahala sa pagpili ng kinatawan ng bansa sa Miss Universe beauty pageant kundi isang bago nang kompanya na pinamumunuan ni Shamcey Supsup, Bb. Pilipinas 2011.

Si Rabiya (“prinsesa” o “reyna” ang ibig sabihin ng kanyang pangalan) ay isang coordinator-lecturer sa isang review center bagama’t nagtapos siya ng Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy at may karangalang “cum laude” sa Iloilo Doctors’ College.

Siya rin ang itinanghal na valedictorian ng Batch 2018 sa kanyang pagtatapos sa Iloilo Doctors’ College. Ginawaran din siyang “Best Intern.” Ang valedictorian ng batch ang tagapagsalita sa pamamaaalam ng batch at pagpapasalamat sa kanilang pagtatapos.

Si Rabiya ang kasalukuyang Miss Iloilo City at marami siyang naging civic involvement noong mga unang buwan ng pandemya.

Ayon sa isang ulat: “Mateo prepared meals for frontliners of the Iloilo Doctors Hospital. She also shared her time with BULIG of the Jazmin Foundation to raise donations for the PPEs of frontliners and pedicab drivers who lost their source of income during the lockdown.

“She also volunteered in making personal protective equipment (PPE) at the Iloilo Science and Technology University with help from the Iloilo Chapter of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.”

Sinasabing siya ang napiling magwagi ng titulo mula sa hanay ng 45 kalahok dahil sa kutis n’yang morena (kayumanggi), “strong Latina looks,” at sa impresibong mga sagot n’ya sa final question and answer (Q&A) portion ng pageant.

Ang iba pang mga nagwagi ay sina: First runner-up: Miss Parañaque Ysabella Ysmael; Second runner-up: Miss Quezon City Michele Gumabao; Third runner-up: Miss Bohol Pauline Amelinckx; Fourth runner-up: Miss Cavite Kimberly Hakenson.

Ang unang round ng Q&A ay tanong na magkakaiba sa limang finalists. Ang host na si KC Montero ang nagbasa ng mga tanong. ‘Yung pangalawang round ay isang tanong lang para sa lahat.

Ang unang tanong kay Rabiya ay: “If you can create a new paper currency with the image of any Filipino on it, dead or alive, who would it be and why?”

Ang sagot n’ya ay: “If I would be given the chance, I would use the face of Miriam Defensor-Santiago. For those who don’t know, she’s an Ilongga but what I admired about her, she used her knowledge, her voice to serve the country.

“And I want to be somebody like her, somebody who puts her heart, her passion into action. And after all, she is the best president that we never had.”

Ang senador na yumao noong 2016 ay kasabay ni Pres. Rodrigo Duterte na kumandidato sa pagkapangulo.

Ang pangalawang tanong ay: “This pandemic has made clear our priorities, essential and non-essential. Where do pageants stand in this time of crisis?”

Sagot ni Rabiya: “As a candidate I know I’m not only the face of Iloilo City. But I am here, carrying hope and as a symbol of light in the darkest times. And as of the moment, I want to help my community, to use my strength to make an impact. And that is the essence of beauty pageant, it has the power to make a difference.”

As winner, Rabiya will receive prizes such as the newly designed Filipina Crown, a brand new MG car, and contract as new ambassador of brands like Lazada, Cream Silk and Downy, among others.

Nagwagi rin si Rabiya ng special awards sa Hair and Makeup Challenge, at Best in Swimsuit dahil, ayon sa organisers, “she successfully put all the beautiful elements (scenery and curves) into one picture.”

Danny Vibas

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