Lifted aloft by fellow contestants after his victory

I’m so relieved my worst fears did not materialize and instead the opposite occured:  The Philippines (Neil Perez) won the 9th Mister International title.  I join with the rest of my countrymen and his fellow contestants in celebrating this victory.  More on that later…

Top 15 in swimwear, from L-R: Colombia, Poland, Korea, Slovenia, Myanmar, Philippines, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, Puerto RIco, Mexico, Guam, Thailand, Czech Republic. Not in picture: Lebanon

I’m pretty pleased that I got 12 of the Top 15 right–though it is with a couple of sad notes.  There are two contenders for the Lucas Malvacini award–one my personal choice and the other based on the buzz I heard from the preliminaries.  First, the one who insiders bet could go far judging from reports of high marks received from his interview, Bahamas (Kenneth Kerr).  Again, it seems pageants are not into black complexions or African heritage just like what we have observed in Miss Earth and Miss Universe as they are shut out of the finals.  I hope this trend would be reversed in the next edition.

Lucas Malvacini awardee (insiders and other pundits’ choice): Bahamas

My own personal choice for the Lucas Malvacini award is one from a country who fielded two consecutive duds previously and I had high hopes for this looker.  I think he just didn’t quite projected as well as he potentially could have and failed to make the right impression–he didn’t also shine in the interviews, I heard.  Well, I still regard India (Parmeet Wahi) as the closest thing to the Beefcake Behemoth in this pageant and hope that he would be the start of this country reviving its fortunes in this pageant.

Lucas Malvacini awardee (personal choice): India

I’m also very pleased that I got four of the Top Five right–the one I didn’t get is one that I’m glad I was wrong about, that he exceeded all my expectations and I’m glad his brand of native/exotic features won over the judges (two thirds of which, if I’m not mistaken, are Korean) and completely won them over.  It seems he’s the one with the darkest complexion that made the final cut.  It is also interesting to note that in the final Q&A, he actually answered in Filipino instead of English and of course used a translator–this is the first time that we see Filipino being spoken in an international pageant–most of the time, pageant organizers would assume that Filipino contestants would automatically understand and speak English, just like they would lately expect the same thing with Dutch and Nordic contestants.  It’s actually refreshing that this is done–it actually lets his sincerity shine through better, as one could see in the final Q&A clip below:

The final Five post announcement: Poland (3rd RU), Philippines (winner), Lebanon (hidden, 1st RU), Slovenia (4th RU), and Czech Republic (2nd RU).

My favorite to win it all, Poland (Rafał Maślak), a.k.a., “Fireman McDreamy”, fared well enough to place in the Top Five.  I’m slightly disappointed that he didn’t win, but it can open doors–perhaps another opportunity in another pageant (arguably bigger and better than this one)–as I mentioned, he’s displayed the qualities that are of a better fit for Mister World, such as his knack for his “sharing” type of videos on his own Facebook page and the gracious, outgoing personality he displayed all throughout.  If he’s willing to undergo grueling training for the athletic challenges that is the hallmark of Mister World, can anybody join me in a campaign to the Polish Mister World franchise holder to make him their representative in the next Mister World contest…

Wanna see him in Mister World? Who is with me here?

I’m glad despite all the chaos leading into the pageant finals, the final results are something that seems to be warmly welcomed by the contestants themselves.  I hope after all this, there would be healing and restoration of frayed ties.  I hope Julio Rodriguez could still keep the Venezuelan franchise of this pageant and if rumors are true, hope to see him in the Philippines later this year for the real 2015 edition of this pageant.  Anyway, for now, congratulations to our own Mamang Pulis  for his victory!



Friends Forever: the contestants gathered together post-results.
9th Mister International Neil Perez with Mister International Organization head Alan Sim and 8th Mister International Jose Anmer Paredes

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