Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo has returned to her hometown Iloilo City to celebrate her big win with Ilonggo kababayans.
More than two weeks since winning the crown, Rabiya was finally able to hold her homecoming parade early Friday. The event was originally scheduled on Thursday but had to be postponed due to the bad weather conditions brought about by Typhoon Ulysses.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Iloilo City mayor Jerry Treñas encouraged residents to come and welcome Rabiya “by wearing red and bringing red pieces such as flaglets, banners, and balloons in support of the queen.”
He also reminded everyone to still observe proper health protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Always wear your face masks and face shields, and observe social distancing. It is a day to celebrate and be proud of being an Ilonggo. Level up Iloilo!” he wrote.
The 23-year-old beauty queen waved and flashed big smiles during her homecoming motorcade around the metropolis. She is also expected to grace the city’s Grand Lighting of Parols ceremony at 5 p.m.
Rabiya was seen wearing a Philippine flag inspired gown by Iloilo-based designer Ram Silva as shared by Rabiya’s training camp Aces and Queens on Instagram.
Prior to her arrival, Rabiya expressed her excitement to see her fellow Ilonggos again.
“Mapuli na ako Iloilo (I’m coming home Iloilo),” she wrote in an Instagram post.
Born to an Ilongga mother and Indian father, Rabiya is a licensed physical therapist and lecturer who graduated cum laude at Iloilo Doctors’ College.
According to a report, she is the second Ilongga to represent the Philippines at the Miss Universe pageant after Louise Aurelio Vail who became a semi-finalist during the 1965 edition held in Miami, Florida.