MANILA -- For the first time, Rabiya Mateo opened up about the time she rejected a marriage proposal from an ex-boyfriend.
In an interview with Boy Abunda, the beauty queen-turned-actress revealed that her non-showbiz ex Neil Salvacion popped the question when she was 23 years old.
The former Miss Universe Philippines titleholder, who is now 26, cited her dreams for herself and her family as the main reason why she turned him down.
"I think this is the first time na sasabihin ko sa TV, but he (Salvacion) proposed to me. And I was so young that time, I wasn't ready. I have a lot of dreams pa for my family. During that time, he was ready to settle na because feeling niya okay na siya sa buhay. Pero ako, I want to aspire to be more. So doon kami nagkaroon ng conflict," she explained.
Mateo went on to share how her Miss Universe Philippines win gave her more opportunities to provide for her family. More specifically, she wanted to buy a house for her mother and allow her sibling to stay in school.
"During that time, galing din ako sa walang-wala. So nakita ko when I won Miss Universe Philippines, parang sabi ko ito na 'yung time ko para makapag-ipon, para mabilhan ko 'yung nanay ko ng bahay, para mapagpatuloy ko kung gusto pa ng kapatid ko na mag-aral," she said.
"So parang ako po 'yung breadwinner eh. And dahil wala akong dad, parang nasa akin lahat ng responsibilidad na 'yon. So hindi ko pa kaya maiwan 'yon para mag-asawa," she added.
Mateo made it clear, however, that she and Salvacion did not part ways immediately after she rejected his marriage proposal.
But she admitted that she was no longer able to give "100%" to their relationship, citing the many other things going on at the time, including her pageant journey.
"Parang feeling ko din di ko na mabigay 'yung 100% ko sa relationship kasi maraming nangyayari. And 'yung engagement na 'yon, parang for me it was a big step," she said.
Mateo said that she and Salvacion remain friends despite the breakup, although she has already set "limits" as her way of respecting her current boyfriend, actor Jeric Gonzales.
She declared that she is now ready to settle down, after being able to fulfill her dreams for her family.
"Ngayon feeling ko na-fulfill ko na 'yung pangarap ko for my family. Nabilhan ko na ng bahay si Mama, nakapag-ipon na ako. Siguro hindi agad-agad, pero siguro in two years. Kasi gusto ko ding maging nanay na, parang I can see myself," she said.
"Pero hindi naman 'yun kasi desisyon na ako lang 'yung gagawa. Kami dapat dalawa ng partner ko," she stressed.