Before I proceed with the winners of this contest, many people would notice that in almost all male pageants, the winners were not given crowns on top of their heads–all winners are simply indicated by grand banners hung over them. But this pageant decided to crown their titleholders, and they came up with a satisfying concept–crowns in the shape of laurel garlands, just like the ones awarded to victors of the Olympics, for instance. It worked pretty well, I have to say.
2ND RUNNER-UP: GENTLEMAN 5 – Rex Peter Calimbayan of Tagbilaran City. There are people who do dig his chinito features, somewhat akin to ABS-CBN superstar Coco Martin. That would explain how he was able to pass muster in the swimsuit round (a badass tattoo on his left arm probably also helped). But it turns out he speaks with a lot of substance as proven in the final round, with a well-composed speech about his environmental advocacy and his exposition on his hashtag #AsMenFalterBeAGentleman. He made a convincing point about the role each of us can make to preserve our planet
1ST RUNNER-UP: GENTLEMAN 24 – Miguel Alexis Maliwat of San Fernando, Pampanga. Here is another one who rose up the ranks from several perceived favorites to nail a runner-up finish. In his case, he earned it with his his buffed physique, which is more incredible as he relayed in his advocacy speech that he used to be overweight and he wants to use his experience to inspire others to live healthy. He also gave a solid answer on the hashtag #GentlemenHavePrincples, as he noted that all of us have principles that we live by, and if we remain true to them and use our principles to help others, we will succeed in life.
MISTER TEEN INTERNATIONAL: GENTLEMAN 11 – Mark Joshua Marquez of North Italy. It’s interesting to note that despite his obviously Asian featuers, his primary language is Italian. I also found his features to be relatively ordinary that among the five candidates representing the overseas communities I presumed he was the weakest link and the Johannes Rissler would garner the Teen International title. But his solid advocacy speech about being a swimmer and promoting sports, plus a solid answer (in Italian) expounding on the hashtag #ForeverGentlemen helped him edge out the heretofore better-regarded Johannes to nail the title in his place.
BEST GLOBAL MALE MODEL: GENTLEMAN 3 – Christian Lumasag of Cebu City. He was a highly regarded favorite for one of the titles and was on track of getting a “creamier” title before he faltered in his advocacy speech as though loaded with lofty ideas, was disorganized and halting. He redeemed himself somewhat when he elaborated ont he hashtag #GentlemenNeverRunOutOfStyle, as he emphasizes that it’s not only physical appearance that makes a gentleman but inner qualities like respect and justice.
MISTER TOURISM WORLD: GENTLEMAN 1 – Kian Jabin Sumague of San Pablo City, Laguna. He was in a similar boat with Christian Lumasag, a highly favored contender fo rthe title who faltered in the speech round–in his case, he gave a solid advocacy speech, but fell apart expounding on #GentlemanAreTrendsetters. He had to pause along while before he could express his thoughtsbut perhaps his high scores in other aspects helped him secure a title, albeit a lesser one than most pageant fans and pundits expected.
MISTER WORLDWIDE: GENTLEMAN 14 – Jason del Juan Martin of Gold Coast, Australia. He garnered a fast-track slot in the Top 20 as he won the Advocacy Speech fast-track. Arguably he displayed that very quality onstage in the final, as she delivered the most eloquent advocacy speech and extemporaneous exposition on the hashtag #TheRealEssenceOfAGentleman. His advocacy speech conveys poetic imagery of smiles and beautiful hearts and how those can serve in making this world a better place. If we base it on his speeches alone, he would’ve clinched the Universal Ambassador title, but the three guys ahead of him register better in other rounds that he ended up with this title–but it does entail a US trip, so all is good. Still, I snicker a bit at the title “Mister Worldwide” as I associate that moniker with rapper Pitbull as that is one of his own self-attributed nicknames…
MISTER TOURISM INTERNATIONAL: GENTLEMAN 21 – Paul Renzo Velo of London. Just like Jason Martin of Gold Coast, this overseas contestant representing London UK has a knack for eloquence and gab and delivered it in full-force in the final round, both in advocacy speech and in elaborating on the hashtag #GentlemanEqualsRespect. His advocacy speech also has a dash of poetry as he exhorts us to use our capabilities and possiblities so we can reverse the issue of climate chate, and he gave a well-composed speech linking respect with compassion.
MISTER MODEL INTERNATIONAL: GENTLEMAN 17 – Job Abogado of Camarines Sur. I’m very pleased that this native guy turned out to be highly favored in the end, garnering the Style fast-track and ultimately garnering a plum title. He has these striking native exotic features, a lean-but-beefy-frame, and a funky style that would be desirable in the international modeling circuit. Though I’m not crazy about his tuxedo style and thought the Best in Formal Wear award should’ve gone to Johannes Rissler, but well, I guess he is the only one who can pull it of so I don’t object his win here. But what made him a great winner was how well he delivered in the speech round, speaking in Tagalog sharing his background rising above his poor circumstances on his advocacy speech, and being straightforward as he elaborated on #OnceAGentlemanAlwaysAGentleman. For the latter he kept it straight to the point speaking about a gentleman having a good heart and standing by his principles and that a true gentleman consistently demonstrates these qualities.
MISTER UNIVERSAL AMBASSADOR: GENTLEMAN 23 – Andrea Biondo of South Italy. This guy is obviously the favorite from the get-go, with his good looks and his sculpted physique. I’m glad that he seems to have put in some leg days from the Press Presentation as his legs gained tone and definition during the final, which made him the runaway winner for best in swimwear. He also nailed the speech rounds, as he proves a strong communicator as he spoke about his advocacy rediscovering his Filipino roots and being direct and straight to the point as he expounds on #Gentleman:AStepAboveTheRest as he relays the qualities of what makes a gentleman stand out, like good heart, good attitude, good manners, and being a good example. With such a strong overall performance all throughout, it is no surprise he won the prime title.
Yes, the inaugural Gentlemen of the Philippines pageant has its imperfections, but that is expected in a fledgling pageant. Also, the titles at stake may not currently hold the prestige that Mister World, Mister International, the fast-rising Mister Global and the revived Manhunt International may have but many of those new titles do possess the potential to become prestigious down the line. The winners as chosen were selected fairly and squarely and all in all I’m pleased with the outcome. Congratulations to all the winners, and best of luck in their endeavors.
All images courtesy of Joy Arguil unless otherwise indicated.