Iloilo’s Rabiya Mateo fails to win Philippines’ 5th Miss Universe crown in Hollywood, Florida

Rabiya Mateo (©Miss Universe Philippines)
Rabiya Mateo (©Miss Universe Philippines)

Rabiya Occeña Mateo, 24, of Iloilo, Philippines was expected by thousands, if not millions, of Filipino beauty pageant fans to win the fifth Miss Universe crown of the Philippines. However, the expectation did not turn into reality.

Mateo finished in the Top 21 of Miss Universe 2020, which concluded on May 16, 2021. Hosted by Mario Lopez, 47, and Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, 28, the coronation night took place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Broward County, Florida, United States.

Some beauty pageant experts expected Mateo to enter the Top 21 by winning the most votes. However, the highest number of votes was earned by Nguyen Tran Khanh Van, 26, Vietnam.

This means the Iloilo native, who is of Indian and Filipino descent, was one of the Top 20 performers during the preliminary round on May 14, 2021 when the 74 candidates competed in the swimsuit and evening gown rounds. Both she and Nguyen did not advance to the Top 10 after another round of swimsuit competition during the coronation night.


On July 19, 1969, Gloria Diaz, 70, made history at the Miami Beach Auditorium in Miami Beach, Florida where she was crown as the first Miss Universe from the Philippines. Her runner-up was Harriet Eriksson of Finland.

On July 21, 1973, Margarita Moran, 67, won the Philippines’ second Miss Universe crown at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens, Greece. Her runner-up was Amanda Jones, 70, of the U.S.

On December 20, 2015, Pia Wurtzbach, 31, gave the Philippines its third Miss Universe crown by outperforming 79 other candidates at The AXIS in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Her runner-up was Ariadna Gutierrez, 27, of Colombia.

On December 17, 2018, Catriona Gray, 27, became the fourth Miss Universe from the Philippines, besting 93 other candidates at IMPACT Arena, Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi Province, Thailand. Her runner-up was Tamaryn Green, 26, of South Africa.

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