MONGOLIA – Amga Odongavaa.  Yes, he’s a beefy bodybuilder type.  One of the weaker links in an otherwise strong Asian contingent.


NEPAL – Hari Bahadur Thapa.  Everything about him is raw and unpolished.  A cellar-dweller in my reckoning.


PAKISTAN – Amir Ali Shah.  Here is another weak link in the Asian group–he’s obviously raw and unpolished too.


PHILIPPINES – Ron Marvin Miranda.  Actually, he has the potential to go far, as he is actually buffed and good looking.  He has a passing resemblance to actor/model Rafael Rosell, who is known for a series of hot beefcake photo layouts.  Unfortunately, from the pictures in Korea he seemed retiring and reticent, as if he doesn’t know how to capitalize on his assets.  It will be such a shame if he misses the cut as he actually has the goods to shine.


Rafael Rosell (poster courtesy of Bench)

POLAND – Blazej Stankiewicz.  He has one of the handsomest faces in this batch.  The issue is that his lean physique is not as rippled as his contemporaries.  Can he parlay his face to the finals?


PORTUGAL – Carlos Carvalho.  He’s boyish and unpolished.  Next!


SINGAPORE – Juan Wen Jie.  One thing that is almost guaranteed when you see a Singaporean Manhunt contestant–his physique will be buffed to perfection.  Too bad, he is a hipon like Hong Kong and Macau.


SLOVAK REPUBLIC – Martin Šmahel.  He’s like Samson in reverse–he looked way better if he kept his hair closely-cropped.  He lengthened his hair for this pageant, and it’s frankly a major misfire–especially that disastrous formal wear photo (hideous!).  He redeemed himself slightly in his swimsuit photo, but I doubt he’ll be able to duplicate Peter Meňky’s victory.

Okay, much better…
Photo back in 2008 (sourced from

SLOVENIA – Vedran Stepančič.  Now, he’s a boyishly cute contestant.  Hard to believe he used to be 50 kg (110 lbs) heavier.  It’s kinda inspirational if you think about it.


Before photo (photo sourced from

SOUTH AFRICA – Ryno Swanepoel.  His slick modeling photos prior to his arrival in Korea may make him look like a front-runner.  He seemed heftier, but he still has that boyish cuteness.  If there’s an interview portion, I think he can make more serious inroads as typically South African representatives shine in this department.



SRI LANKA – Amila Karunanayake.  Yes, he already competed in Mr. International back in 2007, but he still looks like a raw, first-time amateur participant.


TAIWAN – Chao Chen-Hsiang.  For some odd reason, he reminds me of the fat member of Korean boyband Super Junior, Shindong (why do they have a fat guy while other Korean boybands are uniformly sleek and slim?  I don’t know, diversity perhaps?).  I think I need to revise my take on the Asian contingent–they are a group of extremes, from strong contenders to obviously weak links.


Shindong of Super Junior (sourced from

THAILAND – Kasikorn Charoenrat.  There is something that I’m rather irritated when I look at him–is he hiding something under his combover hairstyle?  The hairstyle distracts from his otherwise good looks and buffed physique.


TURKEY – Abdullah Ibrahim Gayberi.  He is not that buzzed about but he has experience in modeling searches, placing 1st runner-up in the most recent Best Model in the World contest held in Bulgaria (this contest used to be held in Turkey).  He does the scruffy look well, though I preferred Brazil, Lebanon, and Malta.


VENEZUELA – Jose Ampueda.  To be blunt, it seems this country has seen better days.  Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, this country was a major powerhouse with an abundance of hunkerrific contenders, almost imitating its legendary standing in the female pageant front.  But in recent years, it seemed to have declined.  Okay, yes, he’s buffed and attractive, and with the quality of this group he’ll have more serious inroads into the finals, but still he couldn’t hold a candle to the likes of, say, Sandro Finoglio (Manhunt 1997 1st runner-up and Mr. World 1998 winner) and Ernesto Calzadilla (Manhunt 1998 winner).


VIETNAM – Truong Nam Thanh.  He has the Asian metrosexual looks down pat that he’s likely to make the cut on his own merits and would not need the popular poll to advance, though he’s running a close second behind China.  Yes, K-Pop fangirls will find his looks swoonworthy.



With all 48 contestants accounted for, let me now trot out my leaderboard and relay how I believe they all stand:









Now, here is my “fearful” forecast:




The 48 contestants in tuxedos

All photos courtesy of Alex Liu and Manhunt International unless otherwise indicated.

I’m not totally confident of my track record in predicting the outcome in male pageants.  I just only hope that the panel of judges would select the best winner out of this bunch.




HAWAII-USA – Rhonee Rojas.  Technically, since there is no USA representative this year, he should bear the banner Mr. USA.  Judging from his name he’s clearly of Filipino descent.  Like several of this year’s contestants, his pre-arrival photo was way more flattering than the Korea photos.  The Korea photos are way too unflattering that he started to look like actor Gedde Watanabe, the star of 1980s teen films like “Sixteen Candles” and “Revenge of the Nerds”.


Gedde Watanabe as Long Duk Dong in “Sixteen Candles” (courtesy of Universal Pictures)

HONG KONG – Wu Tian-chao.  From the neck-up, he isn’t really much to look at–he looks like a common alley boy that you don’t want to mess with at night.  But his physique is rippled to perfection.  Filipino gays have a term for it: “hipon” (shrimp), as like the crustacean, we typically love eating the body and toss out the head.  Can he parlay his buffed bod to a successful showing?


INDIA – Shashwat Seth.  His pre-arrival modeling photos are striking, but like several early favorites, it seems his charisma dimmed significantly since he arrived in Korea.  But he still looked dashing in his national costume, and his physique is buffed to perfection.  I just wonder about his facial complexion as the swimsuit photo seemed to indicate roughness…


INDONESIA – Johan Januar  Yes, this guy is not conventionally handsome, but he does exude a lot of heat in several of his photos when he won L-Men of the Year 2010 (I believe this is Indonesia’s most prestigious male pageant).  A poster in a popular pageant messageboard noted his resemblance to Filipino basketball player James Yap (Kris Aquino’s ex-husband), and I do see that he’s practically his döppelgänger.  There were some unflattering photos during his stay in Korea, but onstage he seems to be able to turn on the charisma when it counts, just like in his fierce national costume presentation.  Could be a sleeper possibility for the Top Five.



James Yap (courtesy of

IRAN – Soroush Aliasghari Namin.  He’s attractive enough, but I don’t really foresee him making serious inroads into the finals.


IRELAND – Barry Holmes.  He’s another attractive and beefily buffed bloke that doesn’t seem to have charisma or star quality.


JAPAN – Kenji Ogawa.  His prospects for advancing would probably be better if the judging panel is entirely composed of J-Pop and K-Pop fangirls, as he’s styled like one of those idols, though with extra scruff.  Otherwise, he’s more middle-of-the-road to lower-tier in my opinion.


KAZAKHSTAN – Andrei Gurin.  With the right packaging and the right haircut, he could make a better impression.  As he is, it seems it’s unlikely he’ll make the final cut.


KOREA – Lee Yong-Bum.  He can easily fit in with a K-Pop boyband, as he has the stylish metrosexual looks down pat.  He also has a rippled physique, almost like my favorite member in boyband Super Junior, Siwon.  Besides, he is representing the host country, so it is highly likely a semifinalist slot is assured.


Siwon from Super Junior (courtesy of Men’s Health)

LATVIA – Oskars Lauva.  He has those thick eyebrows that remind me of “Modern Family” star Ty Burrell, who plays comically semi-henpecked husband Phil Dunphy.  He is appealing, and he could be a good semifinals possibility.


Ty Burrell (image sourced from

LEBANON –  Marcelino Gebrayel.  He actually shared a history with France’s Maxime Thomasset, having outranked him as 2nd runner-up in Mr. International 2009.  But unlike Maxime, he seems to be able to preserve his charisma intact, even as he looks scruffier now than he did then.  He is likely to sustain Lebanon’s streak in the semifinals, and perhaps even go as far as Top Five.



Official swimsuit portrait at Mr. International (courtesy of Mr. International and Alan Sim)

MACAU – Chen Yi-Peng.  Like Hong Kong, he may not have handsome facial features, but his physique is impressively rippled.


MACEDONIA – Goce Mojsoski.  He’s too mature and plain-looking to make serious inroads in this pageant, but he does have that beefy ripped physique.  Still, if you want to choose a bodybuilder into the semfinals, Bulgaria would have the edge.


MALAYSIA – Hazwan Hilmi.  In real-world terms, he could be considered reasonably attractive.  But in pageant standards he’s below par.


MALTA – Clive Tanti.  He makes a great impression in candid photos in Korea.  He does scruffy right (but then again, so did Brazil and Lebanon).  I can foresee him making the semifinals.


MEXICO – Miguel Valencia.  He has a passing resemblance to Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds, though only about 5% of his charisma.  Still, do not count him out in a less competitive batch like this one.


Ryan Reynolds (photo sourced from

All photos courtesy of Alex Liu and Manhunt International unless otherwise noted.

COMING UP:  MONGOLIA to VIETNAM plus the “Fearful” Forecast.


Manhunt International 2011 contestants in swimwear

Hard to believe this is the first time I ever posted a homestretch review for this 18-year-old international male pageant.  And to be blunt I wish I made a preview of some previous editions instead as the quality of this year’s batch is a letdown compared to previous editions (not to mention being spoiled by the bevy of hunkaliciousness in last year’s Mr. World pageant).  The best in this year’s group would pale in comparison with the complete package that was the reigning Manhunt International winner from the Slovak Republic, Peter Meňky.

Manhunt International 2011 Peter Menky in Dolce & Gabbana (photo sourced from Global Beauties)

Coverage of this year’s pageant seemed to be relatively skimpier this year, only confined to a few sites and messageboards, and even there updates are few and forthcoming.  It doesn’t help that the official formal wear and swimsuit portraits are underwhelming, and there are glaring errors in the way the countries’ banners were written (“AUSTALIA” and “THILAND”, anybody?  Well, apparently they then photoshopped the typos for the official portraits).  Still, to this batch’s credit, in general everyone looks in good shape, even if some physiques are not as well-rippled as the others.  Without further ado, let us begin with…

ALGERIA – Bilal Noureddine Boudjerida.  He’s attractive, but I don’t see spark or charisma emanating from him.  Still it’s welcome that he’s the first representative from this North African country.


ANGOLA – Silverio Martins Champanhe.  If there is a black-man-most-likely to make the cut in this year’s group, it would be this mohawk-styled dude.  He does exude some heat with reasonable handsomeness and a buffed physique.  But well, I’ve seen way better and more charismatic dudes–good thing this group is not as competitive so he can make serious inroads (though a Leila Lopes-style win is unlikely).


AUSTRALIA – Joseph Davidson.  I personally hate his hairstyle, but there are women out there who would find that style appealing.  I’m also not into his face.  But the few pundits following this pageant would put him as a possible contender.  I just don’t see it.  For me he’s a major letdown from the bevy of handsome hunks that have come from this country, in the entertainment, pageant, and modeling fields.


BELGIUM – Gianni Sennesael.  To be blunt, he pales behind the two Manhunt 1st runners-up back in 2002 and 2006, Bart de Schuymer and Fabien Hauquier respectively.  Still, he does take some stunning modeling photos (with some provocatively artistic nude shots), though his Korea photos are a letdown.  Still I still regard him as a front-runner for this year’s title.



BOLIVIA – Diego Saucedo Rojas.  He does have the classic swarthy Latin look with a boyish twist, and he could be a sleeper possibility for the semifinals.


BRAZIL – Lucas Malvacini.  Because Mr. World is not going to be held this year, we are graced with the winner of the Mr. Brazil pageant, and he looks like the one likeliest to win this pageant.  He is very active in modeling scene, and yes, we have been treated with photos of him in various forms of undress so we all know he could deliver a lot of steam.  It seems that Brazilian winners are veering away from classic handsomeness (e.g., Gustavo Gianetti and Lucas Gil) and going towards scruffiness like this fellow.  I don’t mind scruffy especially if it’s as hot as this fellow, but I hope classic looks will make a comeback soon.



BULGARIA – Bogomil Brezin.  Actually, his face is handsome enough, but his physique is more suited for a bodybuilding contest (especially with those oversized biceps).  Bodybuilders normally don’t do well in these pageants, but he deserves a fair chance.


CAMEROON – Mba Fabrice Bienvenu.  His bio says he’s 23, but he often looks like a 63-year-old grandfather with his grey beard.  Did he deliberately bleach it, I wonder?  Is he trying to imitate Benin-born actor/model Djimon Hounsou?  Djimon could get away with the grey hair because he’s simply that super-hunky and that he’s 47 years old.  To be blunt, this fellow should lose the look (probably he should completely shave everything on his head off).  This is not the search for Grandpa Manhunt, you know…


Djimon Hounsou (photo sourced from

CHINA – Chen Jiangfeng.  He’s currently leading the Manhunt Popularity vote (which is a revenue-generating venture–you pay USD3 for 10 votes and there are packages where you can pay for more votes).  Well, I’d rather discuss his merits–he actually does have that, even if he’s not handsome in conventional terms.  It’s that certain je ne sais quois, and he does have a buffed frame that it will not be surprising to see him in the Top Five.  Actually he’s the first of a surprisingly (or maybe not that much, since the contest is being held in this continent) strong Asian contingent.


COSTA RICA – Alvaro Peraza Artavia.  He does possess a boyish cuteness that some pageant fans and pundits following are hyping that he could be the usurper for the title, snatching it away from Belgium or Brazil.  I can partly agree, though I wonder about his unflattering swimwear photo (which seems to be shot differently from the rest) as he seemed a bit thick.


CZECH REPUBLIC – Theodor Jareš.  He is attractive, but a bit too scruffy and unpolished for comfort.  His frame is fit, though the seeming lack of tone may make him miss out of the finals.


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Nelson Omar Sterling.  He does have a beefily buffed frame, and in real-world terms he’s reasonably handsome.  But I don’t see any star quality or charisma.


ENGLAND – Roland Johnson.  He’s boyishly cute and though the official swimsuit photo may have showcase not much rippling musculature he’s clearly fit.  He is a possibility for the semifinals.


FRANCE – Maxime Thomasset.  Hard to believe he was successful in other male pageants, being 3rd Runner-Up in Mr. International 2009 and semifinalist at Mr. Universe Model 2009.  I can appreciate his lean, sinewy frame, though he looked way better in his stint in Mr. International–somehow his photos in this pageant were not flattering at all.  But never underestimate experience…


At Mr. International 2009 (photo sourced from

GERMANY – David Reichstein.  Obviously he modeled his long blonde tresses after romance novel cover model icon Fabio.  He belongs to the cellar, in my reckoning, except for the fact that he has a beefy bodybuilder frame.


Fabio (image sourced from

GREECE – Giannis Pantelakakis.  He has a hot smoldering modeling shot prior to his Korea arrival.  In Korea, well, he’s still in contention though buzz in my opinion simmered down significantly.  But most likely don’t count him out when it counts, as he seems to have all the goods intact even with muted buzz.


All photos courtesy of Alex Liu and Manhunt International unless otherwise indicated.