Monthly Archives: November 2015

MISTER INTERNATIONAL 2015: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (CONCLUSION)

 

PANAMA – Julian Javier Torres.  With his boyish Latino appeal, he has been receiving rising buzz since the press preview.  It came to the point that the early buzz that went to Mexico now are going to his direction.  Will there be room for both of them to make it?

PAN

PAN PS

 

PHILIPPINES – Reniel Villareal.  I had previously mentioned in my Misters 2015 reviews that Reniel has very similar traits to the reigning Mister International Neil Perez, but with a more classically handsome face.  Just like Neil, he’s generally subdued but still exudes a quiet confidence that eventually help Neil clinch that win last February.  It’s still in the realm of possibility for Rein to pull off the back-to-back win, but there are seven formidable contenders that he would need to deal with to make it there.  In a relatively lackluster year for Asians, he’s the best one out there by far.

He obviously is so proud of his language that he prefers to speak in his native tongue even during the video interview.  I wonder if it’s the same in the closed-door interview?  Well, it would work in this instance since the pageant is being held here.  It made me reflect lately about language choice as I observe my peers and officemates ven in the BPO industry that outside of their jobs they make a conscious effort to avoid speaking in English, sometimes to the point of treating with near-disdain (or humorous ribbing) those Filipino colleagues who would use English in those contexts–those who still speak in English outside the office are often viewed as if they are pretentious snobs.  As someone whose first language is English, of course I would declare that is not really the case–but unfortunately in this society, I need to bend over backwards if I want to have better relationships with my peers.  It such a shame there are only five available top slots and there are eight that seem to be fighting for them–can Rein prevail?

PHI

PHI PS

 

POLAND – Rafal Jonkisz.  The youngest candidate in this group has probably the handsomest face in this group.  He is figuring in many pageant fans’ and pundits’ Top Ten lists, but I have a concern that his interview skills are his weak point.  But if he scores high enough with his awesome good looks, he can still make the final cut.

POL

POL PS

 

PUERTO RICO – Fernando Alvarez.  This guy has the most enviable physique amongst all the contenders in this contest.  He seems aware of the victories garnered by this country in other international pageants recently so he seems to be extra driven to sustain their victorious streak.  We have to hand it to him that he is indeed one of the big front-runners, but the mission to secure the victory is a daunting one with too many formidable contenders also worthy of winning.

PUR

PUR PS

 

SINGAPORE – Edwin Aw.  What I noticed most about him are those two prominent tattoos on both his arms, plus that circular tattoo on his navel.  It gave him a badass appeal that could be his ticket in sustaining his country’s successful foray in this pageant.  But I quibble about his formal wear outfit in the pre-pageant night–it looks too much like his national costume, and it gave me images of a tacky aging Chinese carny barker–it seems the sort Chinese (or Korean) comedians wear.

SIN

SIN PS

 

SPAIN – Daniel Barreres.  He got a lot of hype with his part-Filipino heritage, but he was able to sustain the buzz with his towering stature, scruffy handsomeness and charisma, and a thoughtful (nearly intellectual) mien.  He also gave a wow impression in his video interview with the Filipino phrases he knows.  He can be another one to watch out for if he was fortunate to be granted a Top Five slot.

ESP

ESP PS

 

SRI LANKA – Jake Senaratne.  In a different year, he could’ve been a near semifinals contender.  But with such a formidable lineup like this one, he’s more middle-of-the-pack.

SRI

SRI PS

 

SWEDEN – Ivan Djelević Virriat. See SRI LANKA, albeit in his case, he has more handsome appeal and he has a more enviable buffed bod.

SWE

SWE PS

 

SWITZERLAND – Pedro Mendes.  Despite his Portuguese name and heritage, he is a bonafide Swiss Francophone as he and his parents moved to Switzerland when he was a one-year-old baby, and he’s raised speaking primarily French and totally absorbed in French-Swiss culture.  His handsomeness is clearly irresistible to many, and he is likable and charming.  However, his command of English is limited and may prove an issue for him during the Q&A round–from the video interview, he seems to have the potential to be the next Antonin Beranek*3.  PEPPS head Carlo Morris Galang had posted a call for French and Spanish interpreters for finals night on Facebook–will they secure those translators in time to prevent Pedro from repeating Antonin’s fate?

*3 Antonin Beranek of the Czech Republic was highly touted by pageant fans and pundits to win Mister International 2013, but his poorly constructed answer in the final Q&A round caused him to fall to 5th runner-up.

SUI

SUI PS

The Angel Antonin Beranek 1
Mister International 2013 5th runner-up Antonin Beranek (image courtesy of Zeph End for The Stunning Angels)

 

THAILAND – Chalaphon Karnwatee.  If this was 2012, he would probably be a shoo-in to the semifinals.  But with the stratified standards this year, he’s more of a middle-of-the-road contender.

THA

THA PS

 

U S A – Troy Thomas.  To his credit, being the sole candidate of color could give him a diversity advantage, and he is proven to be a strong communicator.  But would those sterling qualities be enough to overcome objections about his too-lean physique?  His frame is not the buffed, beefy sort we would expect from a powerful country like the U S A–in fact, his build is something you tend to associate with contestants from an African country or Haiti.

USA

USA PS

 

VENEZUELA – Rafael Angelucci.  He was a product of an Osmel-conducted search, as he was first runner-up in the recent Mister Venezuela pageant.  However the franchise holder is not Osmel, but a designer who handpicked him to represent the country.  He has been one of the big favorties from the get-go, and with his handsomeness he does deliver on the hype.  He has garnered a few sponsor’s prizes so he has an inside track into the Top Ten at the very least, with a possible inroads into the Top Five and even perhaps winning a second title for his country in this pageant.

VEN

VEN PS

All videos courtesy of OXIN Entertainment Productions, all formal wear photos courtesy of PEPPS, all costume photos courtesy of Raymond Saldaña, and all press presentation swimwear photos courtesy of Haraya for Misssosology unless otherwise indicated.

With all 36 candidates accounted for, let me now trot out my leaderboard:

TOP CONTENDERS:  AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, PUERTO RICO, SWITZERLAND

SHOO-INS:  CZECH REPUBLIC, PHILIPPINES, SPAIN, VENEZUELA

LIKELIEST:  CHINA, COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, FRANCE, INDIA, INDONESIA, ITALY, LEBANON, MEXICO, NETHERLANDS, PANAMA, POLAND, SINGAPORE,

EXCELLENT:  BELGIUM, COSTA RICA, KOREA, MALAYSIA, SWEDEN

DIVERSITY FACTOR:  U S A

INTELLIGENCE FACTOR: BOLIVIA

ASIA FACTOR:  THAILAND

VERY STRONG: GEORGIA, GUAM, JAPAN, SRI LANKA

STRONG:  CAMBODIA, DENMARK, MYANMAR

Now, here is my “fearful” forecast:

TOP FIVE:  AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, CZECH REPUBLIC, PUERTO RICO, SWITZERLAND

TOP TEN:  ITALY, PANAMA, PHILIPPINES, SPAIN, VENEZUELA

TOP 15:  CHINA, COLOMBIA, INDONESIA, LEBANON, SINGAPORE

BUBBLING UNDER:  DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, FRANCE, INDIA, MEXICO, NETHERLANDS, POLAND

STRIKING DISTANCE:  BELGIUM, BOLIVIA, COSTA RICA, KOREA, MALAYSIA, SWEDEN, THAILAND, U S A

It looks like a four-way battle for the title so far featuring Australia (Chris Nayna), Brazil (ANderson Tomazini), Puerto Rico (Fernando Alvarez), and Switzerland (Pedro Mendes), and the four behind them being strong possible usurpers who could conceivably remove them–Czech Republic (Jakub Kraus), Philippines (Rein Villareal), Spain (Daniel Barreres), and Venezuela (Rafael Angelucci).  There are so many scenarios for a satisfying outcome, and this is promising to be my favorite kind of competition–high quality contestants and a battle to the finish.

JUST ME!

JOSEPH

Video courtesy of Zhe for Events2Images

 

MISTER INTERNATIONAL 2015: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 2)

 

GEORGIA – Tamar Beradze.  At a cursory glance, I couldn’t quite imagine that actors Ralph Fiennes and Joseph Fiennes are brothers.  But a glance on the pictures of this representative from Georgia made me realize their facial connections–in fact one can joke that Tamar is a lost Fiennes brother.  The official swimsuit shot, for instance, made me recall the younger Fiennes (Joseph), while the official formal wear photo made me think of the older Fiennes (Ralph).  I also love his dashing national costume–in fact I prefer it better than Poland, for example.  But why wasn’t his costume shortlisted?  Well, as attractive as he is and despite the fact he undeniably has a fit frame, well, the standards are simply too stratospheric and he pales in comparison.  Moreover, his stage projection skills are a bit raw, so he’s not able to channel that needed charisma to make a better impression.

GEO

GEO PS

Fiennes
Brothers Ralph and Joseph Fiennes (Ralph Fiennes image sourced from bio27.com, Joseph Fiennes image sourced from berlinale.de)

 

GUAM – Lukess Sos.  If this was another year he would’ve gotten more serious  notices.  But this group as stellar as it is, it is an uphill battle for this guy, especially as he has a height disadvantage being one of the shorter guys in this group.  Still, he has great merits with his attractive features and buffed frame.

GUM

GUM PS

 

INDIA – Halley Laithangbam.  I was wondering why when I started following this pageant more seriously since 2011 that this country’s representatives don’t necessarily look like what one would expect an Indian to look like (the last edition’s representative was an exception to that rule).  It turns out that the current franchise holder is based in the state of Manipur, which is in Northeast India that borders Tibet and Myanmar–the people in that area tend to share similar features with those along its borders.  So far, this guy seems to be the best representative coming from that particular part of India, and perhaps this country’s best shot in making the final cut in this pageant in so many years as he garnered positive notices as he turns out to qualify as good-looking with a buffed physique and solid communication skills to boot.  This country last made the cut in 2008–could he break that drought?

IND

IND PS

 

INDONESIA – Kenny Austin.  He’s the closest thing in this pageant to a “little-cutie-that-could”.  This country can be considered as a powerhouse in this pageant with a string of successes thus far, and this guy could at least sustain the streak and make the Top 15.

INA

INA PS

 

ITALY – Andrea Luceri.  This guy garnered a lot of fans in these shores, and his scruffy, boyish appeal is undeniable.  But does he have the qualities to win over the judges and go far?  It is possible, but there are so many other worthy contenders jockeying for slots.

ITA

ITA PS

 

JAPAN – Junpei Watanabe.  He is undeniably cultured and polished, but his appeal doesn’t really translate that well to these shores, unlike his predecessor who made the Top Ten earlier this February.  Especially with such a ratcheted standard this year, he couldn’t keep up despite possessing obvious merits.

JPN

JPN PS

 

KOREA – Sang Jin Lee.  Sang Jin or “Ryan”, is the closest thing we have to a beefy bodybuilder in this group.  I know that beefy bodybuilder types normally don’t make serious inroads in the male pageant world, but his beefy frame is still worth reckoning.

KOR

KOR PS

 

LEBANON – Farid Matar.  If this was any other year, he would’ve easily be a Top Five or Top Ten shoo-in.  But he has not been generating as much buzz as others despite his obvious charisma and merits.  Still, I will not count him out.

LIB

LIB PS

 

MALAYSIA – Ahmad Kasyful “Kash” Azim.  He was a latecomer, only arriving to the Philippines on the 25th of November, way after the Ilocos sojourn and the official photo shoots.  Still, during the pre-pageant night he exuded some strong appeal with his sinewy physique and likeable appeal.  But will there be room for him in the presence of superb contenders?

Misters-International-Auction-20151125-138_4B0003324CBD4A3C97356CB9C656E4AC
At the gala night/charity auction (image courtesy of Rappler.com)

MAS PS

MEXICO – Alejandro Ruiz.  His buzz faded after the Press Preview, but he still is competing at a stratified level so I would not count him out.  But then again, there are so many contenders jockeying for limited slots that he could be one of those who could be shut out.  Let’s see if he’ll end up becoming a nominee for the Lucas Malvacini award, or avoid that dubious distinction.

MEX

MEX PS

 

MYANMAR – Zin Min Htet.  Well, his grey suit does make a distinctive impact, but other than that, he’s one of the weaker links in this year’s batch.  In another year he would’ve been considered a middle-of-the-pack contender.

MYA

MYA PS

 

NETHERLANDS – Cas Winters.  This behemoth is the closest thing to a sentimental favorite  for me.  He has undeniable good looks, buffed physique, and that towering 6’4″ stature going for him, and he has a nice personality.  But I’m a bit concerned as even as he’s a nice guy, judging from the video interview he’s not really a confident communicator (but neither am I, actually).  But I still will not count him out.

NED

NED

 

All videos courtesy of OXIN Entertainment Productions, all official formal wear photos courtesy of PEPPS, all official swimwear and costume photos courtesy of Raymond Saldaña, all pre-pageant swimsuit photos courtesy of Joy Arguil, and all pre-pageant formal wear photos courtesy of Joseph Magsino for Misssosology unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP:  PANAMA to VENEZUELA plus the “FEARFUL” FORECAST

Video courtesy of Zhe for Events2Images.

MISTER INTERNATIONAL 2015: AT THE HOMESTRETCH (PART 1)

A tenth edition or anniversary of anything is usually a milestone that is greeted with pomp, splendor, and heavy fanfare.  In many ways the tenth edition of Mister International has those elements, but the expected grandiosity was tempered down a bit as this pageant had to regroup and rebuild from the crises it endured during the previous edition earlier this February.  One would expect that this established institution would attract a new record number of candidates, but this year’s final roster of 36 has not exceeded the record set in 2010 (at 40).  Nevertheless, we do have to salute the team at PEPPS for delivering a generally well-organized itinerary of proceedings thus far.  The five-day sojourn to the two Ilocos provinces was also a treat and I’m glad these candidates were welcomed like kings there–though I do have a few misgivings over the presence of a departed political figure in the backdrop of some of their visits, but I have to give that a pass as this is that political figure’s home turf to begin with, and despite one’s personal political affiliations it cannot be denied that the region provided breathtaking vistas and historical landmarks, and gave 35 of the 36 candidates a memorably grand time.

Another thing that makes this edition memorable and special is the caliber of the candidates.  This is the rare year that there are no glaring duds–all candidates all could qualify as at least attractive, and several of them are swoonworthy heartthrobs.  Without further ado, I’ll begin my review with…

AUSTRALIA – Christopher Nayna.  Thanks to a new franchise holder, this country finally sent a representative that reflects well that this is the land that brought to the world such gorgeous manly specimens like Hugh Jackman, the Hemsworth brothers, the late Heath Ledger, among many others.  There is a lot to like about this guy–he’s handsome, he’s buffed, he’s charismatic, he’s articulate, and yes, he’s outgoing and charming.   For me he’s one of the stellar frontrunners in this year’s competition.  Such a quantum leap from the duds from 2012 and 2013.

AUS

AUS PS

 

BELGIUM – Karim Setta.  Some portraits may not be that flattering, but this guy is actually very good looking in person.  The son of an Egyptian father and a Flemish mother, despite his Arabic name (and that he observes a halal*1 diet) he looks squarely European–in fact if I didn’t know his background I would assume he was Walloon*2; his prominent angular nose I tend to associate with French people.  In less competitive year he would’ve been regarded as having an inside track into the Top 15, but with such a formidably deep bench this year, it will be an uphill battle for him to make major waves.

*1 The dietary rules Muslims observe.

*2 The French-speaking people of Belgium.

BEL

BEL PS

 

BOLIVIA – Rodrigo Arze.  He exudes an earthy, raw, animalistic appeal that for certain tastes, could be a good thing.  As fit as he is, his physique is not as superbly buffed and toned as several stellar favorites, and his raw stage moves may leave one thinking he’s a “himbo”.  But when he opens his mouth, you would discover this guy is intelligent and has a passionate cause to espouse–he’s a law student who aims to protect his country’s natural resources.  Many pageant fans and pundits may peg him in the bottom of this heap, but this fellow has strong redeeming qualities that one must reconsider.

BOL

BOL PS

 

BRAZIL – Anderson Tomazini.  As we expect from this powerhouse country, this guy is one of the big favorites.  He definitely has all the boxes ticked, with his charismatic good looks, buffed physique, strong communication skills, and outgoing personality.   It is conceivable he can bring forth his country’s third win, but there is some stiff competition to contend with.

BRA

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His costume was even more fabulous during the national costume show–check out the shoulder piece behind him. (Image courtesy of Haraya for Missosology)

BRA PS

 

CAMBODIA – Moeurn Makara.  In real-world terms he can be considered cute and attractive, and he has a fit-enough physique. In another year, like, say, 2012, he could be considered middle-of-the-pack, but with this year’s stratospheric standards he’s ending up as one of the bottom-feeders.

CAM

CAM PS

 

CHINA – Li Nan.  He’s one of the better Asians in an otherwise lackluster year for this continent.  He is polished and has some charisma, and there is talk that his country would be hosting the next edition of this pageant, so this might mean he is going to place high.  I wouldn’t mind seeing him in the Top 15, but advancing to the Top 10 and beyond with such a formidable field that’s going to be unconvincing.

CHN

CHN PS

 

COLOMBIA – Christian Hernandez Ruiz.  This country has been doing pretty well as it made the final cut in two previous editions.  This guy actually has got what it takes to sustain the streak as he has those ruggedly swarthly handsome good looks, lean-and-sinewy physique, and statuesque height (reportedly 6’5″, though I think he’s actually more 6’2″ to 6’3″) to receive good notices.  But with such a stellar group this year, that streak is far from assured but he does have a good chance of making it through.

COL

COL PS

 

COSTA RICA – Richard Coronado Robles.  Growing a bit of scruff for pre-pageant night surprising works well for him as he made a better impression than in previous outings.  He’s a well-regarded contender, though it’s an uphill battle for him to make the final cut.

CRC

CRC PS

 

CZECH REPUBLIC – Jakub Kraus.  Here’s another big favorite oozing with charisma and sex appeal.  Sure attention right now seems to be focused toward Switzerland as the top European, but there is that possibility he can pip Pedro in the final clinches.  Unlike his 2013 counterpart Antonin Baranek, he has a strong command of English and is a confident communicator–in fact in my reckoning thus far he seems to deliver the best video interview of the entire batch.  If he is fortunate enough to make it all the way to the Final Five, I think we would need to watch out for him in the final Q&A as he may edge out some of the big-shot favorites.

CZE

CZE PS

 

DENMARK – Stefano Sandro.  His name sounds Italian for a reason–he has an Italian father.  But he actually carries his mother’s maiden name in real-life as his parents divorced when he was very young.  His Italian lineage seems to be well-reflected in his facial features, but his very white complexion reflects his very Danish identity.  Raymond Saldaña did a terrific job showcasing definition on his physique in his official swimsuit portrait, as normally most people couldn’t see the muscle definition beneath his pale white complexion.  In real-world terms, his lean, sinewy physique would be worth admiring, but with such a stellar group his physique hs been way overshadowed.

DEN

DEN PS

 

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Freds Rivera.  A pageant colleague interviewed him and asked him of his opinion of our Miss Universe reps–he mentioned his big favorites are Venus Raj and Ara Arida.  One can say he loves the dusky types, just like his own dusky complexion.  Many pageant fans and pundits featured him in their Top Ten lists, and I’m okay with that as he does have the great looks to be worthy of belonging there.  It is advertised that his height is 6’1 3/4″ but actually if you set him side-by-side with the likes of Australia and Denmark he seemed to be dwarfed.  I’m normally advertised as 5’10” though if I’m measured in my annual physical exam my height is measured at 5’9″, and I stood side-by-side with him and he’s just as tall as I am.  Still onstage, especially when he stands on his own, his wonderful body proportions do create the impression of a six-footer–I had previously mentioned in my press preview write-up that this is the “Precious Lara Quigaman” factor.

DOM

DOM PS

 

FRANCE – Bryan Weber.  He previously competed in Mister Global and landed as 4th runner-up.  He undeniably has good looks and a buffed physique but so far he has not stood out to be in serious contention.  Still he’s a worthwhile contender.

FRA

FRA PS

 

All videos courtesy of OXIN Entertainment Productions, all official formal wear photos courtesy of PEPPS, all official swimwear and costume photos courtesy of Raymond Saldaña, all pre-pageant swimsuit photos courtesy of Joy Arguil, and all pre-pageant formal wear photos courtesy of Joseph Magsino for Misssosology unless otherwise indicated.

COMING UP:  GEORGIA to NETHERLANDS

Video courtesy of Zhe for Events2Images