Wanted: Rabiya Mateo’s replacement queen

Published May 16, 2021, 6:34 AM

by Joee Guilas

Rabiya Mateo

After Friday morning’s National Costume Presentation and the following day’s Preliminary Swimsuit and Evening Gown Competitions, the only thing that now remains to be seen out of the 69th Miss Universe Pageant is the final selection of this year’s queen.  While Filipino fans are confident their delegate, 24-year-old Rabiya Mateo of Iloilo, is a shoo-in for the Top 21, they could only wish and pray for her to actually bag the country’s fifth Miss Universe crown.  While recognizing that she does have tough competition in this year’s edition, all bets are still not off that she can still bring home the proverbial bacon.   Of course, all that will be decided and known soon during the coronation ceremonies.

While Rabiya’s final placement in the international competition is yet unknown, what is certain at this point is the fact that she will soon be passing on her crown as Miss Universe Philippines (MUP) to another, hopefully worthy, successor.  In fact, the search for the next MUP is now on.    

Aside from the announcements already being posted online, Thrillmaker was able to chat with some very reliable sources regarding the search for Rabiya’s replacement queen.

According to the head of a major pageant camp who is privy to the plans of the local organizing team of the MUP search, the rush in finding a new queen to represent the country is necessitated by the Miss Universe Organization’s intention to crown another queen before the year ends.  Already, there are talks that the MUO has finalized a deal with a Central American country to host the 70th edition of the pageant.

“If Zozibini had the longest reign as Miss Universe because of the pandemic, whoever will be crowned the 69th queen will most likely have the shortest reign for she will have to relinquish her crown before the year ends,” the source revealed.

In order to prepare for and confirm participation to the 70th Miss Universe competition, interested countries are said to be required to have their final entries locked-in by end-October 2021.  Coronation night for the 70th queen is expected to be done in December.

This is the reason why MUP organizers are already scrambling for sponsors and partners at this point to ensure that the local search, which is eyed to be staged sometime in August or September, will go on smoothly. Our source further shared: “Expect a different selection process this year.  Think reality search.  That’s all I can say!”

Meantime, pageant watchers are already speculating who will be among the top contenders for this year’s MUP crown.  Since last year, there have been talks that reigning Binibining Pilipinas International 2019, Patch Magtanong, might give pageantry one last shot by joining MUP.  While some sectors say Magtanong has already had enough of pageants and would rather focus on practicing law, the clamor for her to take one final dip into pageants remains loud and strong.

“The fans are clamoring for it.  If she has to maintain the momentum, I expect her to make a go for it in 2022 or even this year,” said the source.

Should Magtanong be a no show, her Binibini predecessor and Miss International 2018 First Runner Up, Ahtisa Manalo, is said to be serious in trying her luck in MUP.  Our source disclosed: “She (Ahtisa) feels that she still has an unfinished business in pageants. She is an MUP prototype and the chances of her making a comeback is high.”

Over at the Kagandahang Flores camp, there are whispers that there will be no stopping “undefeated” Cebuana queen Steffi Aberasturi from joining the next MUP pageant.  Aberasturi’s participation in a national search had long been awaited by pageant fans.

There’s truly much excitement awaiting Pinoy fans in the world of pageantry this year.  For now, let us continue to stay glued to Rabiya’s own quest for universal pageant glory.