Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo. Image: Instagram/@rabiyamateo

Rabiya Mateo may now be queen as Miss Universe Philippines 2020, but she has not forgotten the struggles she has gone through, including financial hardships.

The beauty queen recalled the jobs she would take even as a student just to bring some money home to help her mom, who is a single parent.

Speaking on the talk show “Magandang Buhay” last Tuesday, Nov. 10, Mateo looked back at the gigs she would take.

“For example po sa mga brands, namimigay po ng flyers o minsan nag-u-usher ng mga events nung college ako,” the 23-year-old beauty said. “Hindi ko po iyon kasi ikinakahiya kasi doon ako kumikita ng pera na mabibigay ko sa mama ko.”

(For example when it came to brands, I would give out flyers or usher events when I was in college. I am not ashamed of that because that is where I would earn to give money to my mom.)

She also noted that she had classmates who had no problems with tuition but would not take their studies seriously. Meanwhile, she needed to put in more effort to get out of poverty.

“Kailangan ko talagang magdobleng hirap kasi mahirap lang din kami,” she said. (I had to put in double the work because we were poor.)

“At sabi ko, kapag ako ay nakapagtapos, hindi na talaga mangungutang si mama sa ibang tao. Makakakain talaga kami palagi. Mapapatira ko siya sa bahay na gusto niya. Iyon iyong naging motivation ko po, eh.”

(And I said, when I graduate, mama will not have to borrow money from people anymore. We will be able to eat all the time. I will be able to make her live in the house that she wants. That became my motivation.)

There was even a time that they had no electricity and she would study even by candlelight.

Mateo, who represented Iloilo City at the pageant last October, spoke highly of her mom, saying she feared nothing.

“Walang naniniwala sa ‘kin, iyong mama ang naniniwala,” she added. (When no one believed in me, my mama did.)

The Ilongga has stood tall amid controversies on her win. One of the contestants in the pageant, Miss Taguig City Sandra Lemonon, hinted that there was cheating involved in the competition.

“People didn’t expect me to win. And now that I have the crown, they are questioning my capability as a person, as a candidate,” she told TV5’s MJ Marfori on Oct. 25 in a post-pageant interview. “But I know that I did everything and anything I could during that night.” Niña V. Guno/JB

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