‘Defeat’ that made all Ilonggos winners


“Winning a pageant or sometimes simply participating in a contest can change your life. Outer beauty is just a part of the judgement, but what’s important are your views and opinions that are shown to the world.”—Lara Dutta

THE word “defeat” doesn’t apply to the Miss Universe contest.

All contestants in this global beauty pageant are winners.

The one who is crowned to wear the title of Miss Universe during the actual competition is chosen by the panel of judges based on a combination of luck and performance; all contestants deserve the title except there’s a need to crown only one person to represent the organization in various outreach and ambassadorial programs and activities all year long.

When Mexico’s Andrea Meza was crowned as the Miss Universe 2020 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida on May 16, it didn’t mean she was better than our own bet, Miss Universe Philippines Rabiya Mateo, or the rest of the 73 other representatives from around the world in the program.

The Filipinos, of course, are heart-broken that Rabiya Mateo didn’t make it in the top 10, but if we translate everything the 24-year-old model and pageant titleholder from Balasan, Iloilo had collected in her scintillating stint as the Philippines’ representative in the premier global beauty pageant, it’s actually a victory for her and her family and for all the Ilonggos who had rooted for her from start to finish.


By being on the global stage for weeks and having attracted the attention of the powerful and influential world mainstream and social media, Rabiya Mateo became bigger than life from a virtual unknown less than a year ago.

Her name and image had reverberated in the pageant and entertainment world in a stunning fashion and, thus, she became a household celebrity even before she departed in the United States earlier in April.

By being an instant celebrity, her career both in teaching and modeling is expected to transform dramatically and will change her life for the better.

Rabiya Mateo’s perceived weaknesses, including the irrational bashing she regularly received from jealous and immature detractors, became part of her strengths, and she ended up being well-loved and admired by fans and those who believed in her capacity, talent and Cinderella-like journey from obscurity to stardom.

Never before did it occur that Ilonggos, as well as Filipinos, who have learned to love Rabiya Mateo in the entire planet were united in one common goal: cheer for her victory in Florida through the different social and mainstream media platforms.

Rabiya Mateo, her ever-supportive family, kasimanwas in the city and province of Iloilo, and kababayans as a whole who didn’t waver in their moral support and otherwise, have every reason to be proud of her after her nerve-wracking and spine-chilling exposure in Florida.

They say having reached the top 21 and having failed to land in the top 10 was a “defeat.”

We say it was a victory disguised in another monogram and circumstance.

We salute Rabiya Mateo and thank her for making us all proud.


Email from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo dated May 15 which he also shared with other New Yorkers:

Dear Alex, As we near the light at the end of the COVID tunnel, it is imperative that we vaccinate as many people as possible. Our numbers remain on the decline but COVID is still out there, and if we let down our guard, we risk losing all the progress we have made. Our providers are working hard to get more shots into arms, and I urge everyone who still needs to get their shot to do so quickly—for themselves and for everyone they care about and want to protect.

Here’s what else you need to know tonight:

  1. COVID hospitalizations dropped to 1,767. Of the 203,852 tests reported yesterday, 2,068, or 1.01 percent, were positive—the lowest since October 10. The 7-day average percent positivity was 1.22 percent. There were 415 patients in ICU yesterday, down 18 from the previous day. Of them, 247 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 25 New Yorkers to the virus.
  2. As of 11am this morning, 61.2 percent of adult New Yorkers have completed at least one vaccine dose. Over the past 24 hours, 140,551 total doses have been administered. To date, New York administered 17,306,771 total doses with 51.0 percent of adult New Yorkers completing their vaccine series. See additional data on the State’s Vaccine Tracker.
  3. The Thunder on the Buffalo Waterfront Air Show will take place at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor on June 19 and 20, 2021. The outdoor event, sponsored by the Vein Treatment Center, features a range of military and civilian aerial performers. This year’s show will be a ticketed event, with reduced capacity and social distancing measures in place to ensure a safe return of the exciting Western New York tradition.
  4. The New York State Museum, Library, and Archives in Albany will reopen Monday, May 17. The State Education Department’s Cultural Education Center reopens to the public on Monday, May 17, with new COVID-19 protocols in place and adjusted hours. Learn more.
  5. See how Excelsior Pass can help you be a part of NY’s safe reopening. To help revitalize New York’s economy safely, the State launched Excelsior Pass—a free and voluntary platform for businesses and individuals that can be used to easily access secure proof of a recent negative COVID test or vaccination.

Tonight’s “Deep Breath Moment”: A few weeks ago, we wrote about a peregrine falcon couple nesting on the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. We can share the happy update that the falcons’ eggs have hatched and the chicks are healthy. You can keep up with the peregrine falcon family on the bridge’s Falcon Camera. Ever Upward, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo



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