MANILA— Philippine candidate Rabiya Mateo on Saturday brought the sunshine that was missing in her national costume the day earlier as she dazzled in a popping yellow Furne Amato creation during the evening gown round at the Miss Universe preliminary competition in Hollywood, Florida.
Matching the hue of the swimsuit she wore earlier in the competition, Mateo shone on stage in a yellow long gown paired with what appeared to be sun-inspired earrings.
Amato said the evening gown is a representation of the sun, which symbolizes happiness, strength & vitality.
"Even at 93 million miles away, it warms, illuminates and energizes us, making us feel our best and our brightest," he said on Instagram.
The masterpiece featured a cape with citrine Swarovski crystals, which "added royalty to the gown," said the designer.
"The one-sided neckline tulle gown is elegantly encrusted with Citrine Swarovski crystals on the bodice cascading to the hem and cape over alabaster Swarovski components, glass beads and paillettes," Amato described.
"The dramatic and fitted silhouette adds interest and pizzazz on its own. The cape added royalty to the gown, and its beadwork was inspired by the radiance of the Philippine sun which symbolizes positivity and optimism. A hope for a new tomorrow, a world with endless beauty and happiness."
In a teaser video, Amato spoke about a sun rising at the Miss Universe stage, giving a hint to pageant fans of the inspiration for Mateo's long gown.
"We may [have missed] the sun yesterday, but today, she’s more than ready to shine even brighter — beaming with hope and optimism for the Philippines," the caption read.
At the national costume event Friday, fans had noticed Mateo did not wear the sun headpiece made by Manny Halasan which would have completed her Philippine flag-inspired outfit.
Miss Universe Philippines national director Shamcey Supsup then explained that Mateo skipped the headpiece as it kept falling off when worn.
Earlier, Mateo did not disappoint her throng of followers during the swimsuit round of the preliminary competition.
Donning a yellow two-piece along with a beach cover up, the Iloilo native strutted down the runway as a regal queen, showcasing her impressive pasarela walk which complemented her body curves.
Deemed as one of the frontrunners of the pageant, Mateo sent netizens abuzz, claiming the top trending topics on Twitter, which includes #PrelimPina5 and #AribaRabiya.
Just before the preliminary competition, Mateo marked a milestone on social media with the release of photos that gave a glimpse of what to expect from her swimsuit round performance.
Mateo reached 1 million followers on Instagram on Friday afternoon, hours after she and 73 other international candidates participated in the national costume show in Hollywood, Florida.
To celebrate crossing the million mark, Mateo’s team released photos from a pictorial where she is seen posing in bejeweled lingerie, looking every bit a queen.
Mateo is gearing up for the May 16 finals night (morning of May 17 in Manila), as she eyes the fifth Miss Universe crown for the country.
She is the first representative under Miss Universe Philippines, which is headed by Supsup and beauty queen maker Jonas Gaffud.
The 69th Miss Universe competition will be aired live on A2Z channel.