After splintering from PEPPS soon after last year’s Misters pageant (eventually taking all the titleholders from that pageant under their wing), the newly formed Gentleman Charities, Inc. (GCI) led by Preciosa Anna Medina wasted no time securing international male pageant franchises (besides Mr. Model International and Mr. Tourism International which it already held), and scouring the nation (and overseas Filipino communities) for eligible males worthy to be called Gentlemen. The result of these efforts is the inaugural Gentlemen of the Philippines pageant, which culminated in the final held at the auditorium of Trinity University of Asia in Quezon City at the end of July.
The conduct of the pageant was a lean and straightforward affair. To the strains of Rico J. Puno’s OPM dance classic “Macho Guapito”, the 30 candidates strutted about in their colorful creative barongs. It was a step in the right direction to keep the choreography simple with minimal dancing, though I wish whatever moves the candidates made together could be tighter and more synchronized–it’s a bit as if they didn’t have enough rehearsal. Still, those creative barongs are a dazzling sight that I wish I could see more of that.
The event was hosted by Mister Tourism International 2015 Top Three finalist Judah Jyreh Cohen and Miss Earth 2013 Top Eight finalist Angelee delos Reyes. They hit a few rough patches in the beginning of the program as they seem to have difficulty reading their scripts (it’s as if the early scripts were either handwritten or printed in small fonts–remember that size 12 fonts or above are typically the best size…) but as the evening wore on they both hit their stride. They were strong, articulate, and charming hosts.
Before I proceed to discuss how the rest of the evening went (pageant structure-wise), I’ll air a couple of constructive notes that I hope would be rectified in future editions of the pageant:
- The panel of judges are indeed an esteemed and distinguished lot, but I think we don’t need to hear the whole biography of each judge–try condensing their achievements into key highlights that could be mentioned within 10-15 seconds.
- Many if not all of the panel of judges also served as presenters of special awards onstage–I noticed it’s a bit chaotic for the judges to walk towards the stage as their tables were tight that they were forced to squeeze their way to pass through the other judges as they made their way up. It’s like being in the middle seat of the middle row of a crowded movie theater and you need to pass through other seated theatregoers if you need to go to the rest room or buy popcorn. If future editions are to be held in Trinity University again or held in a similar set up like this auditorium, perhaps the producers can try to brainstorm ways to get around this dilemma so the judges would not be inconvenienced.
After the opening number and the introduction of the board of judges, we were treated with the winning talent performance of Gentleman 21, Paul Renzo Velo of London. His tribal dance presentation was indeed worthy of the win as his movements were tight, ferocious and purposeful. It’s nice to see overseas representatives making the effort to get in touch with their roots like performing this kind of native dance.
After a chit-chat with a couple of the reigning titleholders, the 30 candidates return onstage to individually parade in formal wear. For the final night, the theme is white with black accents. There are a great variety of designs and patterns to behold, and the candidates looked very dapper.
The 20 semifinalists were then announced, starting with the five fast-track champions in Talent, Advocacy Speech, Online Voting, Fashion & Style, and Advocacy Video followed by the other 15. After another brief interview with the other titleholders, the 20 semifinalists went into action for the swimsuit competition clad in blue Pegarro swimwear. For many, this is viewed as the highlight of the night.
The Top 20 was then whittled down to the Top 15. After viewing a video with the candidates presenting their advocacies, the Top 15 were back in their formal wear first making their advocacy speeches, then picked a card from an envelope where they read a hashtag phrase and share their thoughts on them. I thought the hashtags were simple enough and straightforward so I was shocked how some early favorites then faltered in this round. It makes me want to suggest that for future candidates in this pageant, we should add a speech workshop (perhaps Norman Tinio can conduct this, though I’m willing to volunteer as consultant/coach) to help boost their confidence before they present themselves to the public. Then, after the scores are tabulated the seven titleholders and two runners-up were announced.
Before I proceed to discuss the Top 20, let’s discuss a couple of non-finalists one who got citation in placing for Advocacy Speech, namely:
GENTLEMAN 28 – Michael Mendoza of Sarangani. He placed 2nd in Advocacy Speech. Perhaps he fell short in looks that was why he fell short of the final cut.
Now, a special note for one guy who garnered a few sponsor’s prizes but one glaring reason caused him to miss the cut:
GENTLEMAN 22 – Paul Benjamin Abal, Jr. of Mandaue City. He has attractive facial features and he loves to speak up whenever the opportunity calls for it. He also garnered some sponsor’s prizes that I thought he might pull off a Pia Wurtzbach circa Bb. Pilipinas 2015. But it’s just too obvious that his dad bod got in the way. I think with proper diet and exercise, he could become a contender in the future.
COMING UP: THE TOP 20