MANILA — Rabiya Mateo has departed for the USA, with the hope of bringing home the fifth Miss Universe crown for the Philippines.
Mateo, 24, boarded her flight on Friday afternoon, in time for pre-pageant activities ahead of coronation day in May.
Wearing her face mask and with her five-piece luggage in the background, Mateo was seen waving a small Philippine flag shortly before entering the airport.
The 69th Miss Universe pageant will be held in Hollywood, Florida on May 16 (May 17 morning in Manila).
While it will be held this year, the competition is technically crowning its 2020 winner. The pageant, as well as its country counterparts, had been delayed numerous times due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mateo is the first Miss Universe Philippines titlist to be fielded by the new namesake organization, which had acquired the national license of the pageant, formerly held by Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. for half a century.
The Philippines has so far produced four Miss Universe winners: Gloria Diaz in 1969, Margie Moran in 1973, Pia Wurtzbach in 2015, and Catriona Gray in 2018.