MISTER NO. 16: STA. ROSA CITY – Karan Singhdole. Just like Arcel Yambing, he made the Top Eight in Bodyshots 2014. His sleek buff body got a lot of positive notices that it’s no surprise he was shortlisted in beachwear. He also was cited in the Top Five of best ethnic costume. I will also remember him for his talent performance–not only does he have a good voice, but he revealed he’s an ally in the cause of LGBTQ rights as he serenaded a transgendered person. In my opinion, his stock is rising and he could conceivably become one of the titleholders this year.
MISTER NO. 17: BULACAN PROVINCE – Paolo Lester Caballero. He has a native man-next-door appeal about him, with an above-average lean physique. If it weren’t for the presence of formidable contenders, he would’ve gotten serious inroads into the finals.
MISTER NO. 18: OLONGAPO CITY – Earlmond Ross Lee. Just like Kevin Fichera, I’m not that into his features, though he does have this exotic boyish appeal about him. He seemed to be the gaining the most momentum in the latter days of the competition, making the shortlists in crossfit, talent, and formal wear, and made a dramatic impact in ethnic costume, earning a well-deserved Top Five slot. He is another one of the possible usurpers for one of the titles up for grabs.
MISTER NO. 19: LAGUNA PROVINCE – John Edgar (JE) Adajar. He remains my sentimental favorite to go far in this contest, and he has his outgoing personality, manly handsomeness, and overall personal charisma going for him. But would they be enough to secure a place in the Top 15? Can the judges overlook his less-rippled physique and not-so-impactful performance during Pre-Pageant Night to make the final cut? He has not figured in any shortlist at all, so I’m fearing he could become a potential Lucas Malvacini awardee. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and am now also sending offerings to the altars of Miss World 2006 2nd runner-up Sabrina Houssami of Australia and Miss World 2007 1st runner-up Micaela Reis of Angola* to keep JE on the path of making all the way to the Top Five.
*These two Miss World runners-up were notable for not making any fast-track event shortlist but still yielding very high placements in the end.
MISTER NO. 20: FLORIDABLANCA, PAMPANGA – Patrick Magtanong. He is also a Bodyshots 2014 alumni, but he didn’t make the Top Eight in that contest. He is also getting overlooked in this contest.
MISTER NO. 21: QUEZON CITY – Jake Camarines. Of the bevy of lookers in this year’s batch, his face is arguably the plainest of them, and he has not made the shortlist in any fast-track event nor won a special award. But, I did like his OPM serenade during the Talent Show…
MISTER NO. 22: TARLAC PROVINCE – Church Hill Garcia. He has a boyish cuteness about him and he’s a polished contender. It’s in the realm of possibility that he makes the final cut, even if he didn’t figure in any fast-track event.
MISTER NO. 23: ANGONO, RIZAL – Robert Lopez. Despite my misgivings about his shortlist placement in talent, I do think he has a strong chance of making the final cut–he has one of the handsomest faces in this competition, and he does keep up with the best in terms of physique.
MISTER NO. 24: FIL. COMM. OF VICTORIA – Ari Kane. See MISTER NO. 3. His most distinguishing characteristic is his outgoing personality and that his handsomeness registers better in person than in photographs for some odd reason.
MISTER NO. 25: KORONADAL CITY – Richard Domingo. He made his mark making the shortlist in the crossfit challenge, but otherwise doesn’t seem to make an impression anywhere else. If this were another pageant, he could’ve made more serious inroads.
MISTER NO. 26: BOHOL PROVINCE – AR dela Serna. I find him a tad too skinny for comfort, and also strikes a raw presence, but reports seem to point to him making a strong impression in the Pre-Pageant night, that he might make the final cut.
MISTER NO. 27: DAVAO DEL NORTE – Ian Flores Alibo. Despite his plain-for-Filipino-taste facial features, he possessed a superbly buffed physique that earned notices in both beachwear and ethnic costume. He embodies that Mikey Bustos parody of Brandon Beal’s song “Twerk It Like Miley”, called “I Have a Brown Body”. Could he parlay that physique into the final cut?
MISTER NO. 28: FIL. COMM. OF GREAT BRITAIN – Jules Chan. As a theatre actor back in London, talent is supposed to be his main forte to shine, but he missed the Top Five shortlist in that category (though his performance was commendable). He made up for it by making the shortlist in the crossfit challenge and formal wear.
MISTER NO. 29: CEBU CITY – Carlos Ching. I like his looks, and at least he got notices for the crossfit challenge and the ethnic costume competition. He looks like one of those most likely to make the final cut.
MISTER NO. 30: CITY OF MANILA – Don McGyver Cochico. Before the pageant proceedings began, I pegged him as one of the possible front-runners, and that, yes, he can follow in the footsteps of his fellow policeman, the reigning Mister International Neil Perez. In fact, arguably he’s handsomer than Neil Perez, with a resemblance to incumbent Manhunt International winner (for the past three years as no pageant was staged since then) June Macasaet. But he faded a bit as standouts like Rick Palencia and Reniel Villareal emerged to rule the roost, and he didn’t make the shortlist in any of the fast-track events. He came roaring back in the Pre-Pageant Night with a minor makeover–he grew a mustache. I have a feeling it’s a strategy concocted by his handlers who want to remind everyone of Neil Perez, by making him physically like him as much as possible (plus remind everyone of his background as a policeman). Most people in the know, though, could see Neil Perez’s true essence can be found in another guy, as this guy only resembles Neil on the surface but not quite capturing his full essence. Still, a semifinalist and possible finalist spot for him remains very secure and he’s one of the surest bets for the finals.
Now that all 30 candidates are accounted for, here is my “fearful” forecast on who will make the brutal final cut:
TOP SIX: 1, 7, 11, 12, 16, 30
TOP TEN: 10, 15, 18, 29
TOP 15: 6, 14, 19, 23, 26
BUBBLING UNDER: 3, 5, 8, 9, 17, 22, 24, 27, 28
STRIKING DISTANCE: All the rest.
I enjoy competitions where everyone competes at a very high level like this one. The only tragedy is, there are so many stellar choices who would miss the cut in the process. Anyway, it looks like R&R (Rick and Reniel) are locks for two of the titles–which between International, Global, Model International, and Tourism International will they take? And who among the rest will jockey for positions and garner the remaining honors? Watch out for the finale on Sunday.
All swimwear images courtesy of Khalil Zantillian; costume and formal wear images courtesy of Jory Rivera for OPMB Worldwide