Miss Universe queens from PH send love to Rabiya Mateo

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — Former Miss Universe queens who brought pride to the Philippines sent their support and admiration to Miss Universe Philippines Rabiya Mateo despite bowing out of the pageant early.

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach thanked Rabiya for giving her heart to the competition.

"RABIYA WE LOVE YOU thank you for pouring your heart for the Philippines ❤ We see your heart Queen #MissUniverse'," she tweeted.

She added, "Rabiya you made us so proud! We know you put your heart into this and we love you! Mabuhay ang Pinay!"

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray shared to CNN Philippines' News Night she was proud of what Mateo accomplished given that her reign as the country's top beauty queen happened in a pandemic.

Gray also lauded Mateo's "fighting spirit" despite failing to progress in the Top 10.

"I can't even relate what have must been like because even putting together a wardrobe, training schedules, even her movement of going to the host country would have been restricted and there must have been challenges. The fact that she could get there and be in fighting form, I really think as an accomplishment in itself," said Gray.

The country's fourth Miss Universe said Mateo could have easily aced the question-and-answer portion if she advanced to the Top 5, given her many personal experiences in life.

"When I've seen her interviews, she has many personal stories and things to tell. She's a very good communicator and she really speaks from a personal place," Gray added.

Gray hopes that Mateo will feel the love of all Filipinos who supported the Iloilo native in her Miss Universe campaign, especially from fellow beauty queens to her family.

The country's representative to the 69th Miss Universe made it to the Top 21, where semifinalists strutted in their swimsuits. She failed to advance to the Top 10. She was not able to bring home the Philippines' fifth Miss Universe title.