Image courtesy of Ameer Gamama for Missosology

The Yellow Team features the contestants from KENYA to PERU, a mixed bag featuring awesome standouts and a few “unconventional” reps.  Let’s check them out…

KENYA – Robert Cula Budi.  Yes, his predecessor Top Five finisher Kevin Owiti is handsomer but this guy has oodles of buffed appeal and possesses this blast of energy embodying the “Wakanda” spirit inspired by the movie/comic strip Black PantherThat buffness is definitely reflected on how he made the cut in Sports and Extreme Sports.  His energy and gab may secure him a slot in the Top 24, with a play for the Top 12.

KOREA – Na Giwook.  I have a feeling if this pageant is held in an English seaside town, he would probably be the winner of the Style/Top Model fast track, considering how they tend to choose the winner then based on wardrobe on some public appearances.  But since it’s held here, and there is a grand full-fledged event where other factors were considered, he didn’t make the shortlist on the Top Model challenge event.  So he’ll end his journey as a worthwhile also-ran.

KYRGYZSTAN – Daniel Begaliev.  His pre-arrival modeling shots made a strong impression, but when he showed up in Manila, it turned out he’s rawer than his modeling photos suggest.

LATVIA – Edvīns Ločmelis.  He has the longest pageant experience, as he competed at Mister International eight years ago.  He garnered some finesse since then, but still overshadowed by the abundance of stellar standouts.  At least he has a shortlist in Extreme Sports to crow about

LEBANON – Jean-Paul Bitar.  During the first arrival photos, I pegged him as the one to beat.  He exudes this ravishing charisma with a combination of his swarthy handsomeness and beefy physique alongside a thoughtful, heartfelt, emotional side that I find compelling.  I think he’s the best representative from this country since Assaad Tarabay‘s first runner-up finish 16 years ago.  But as ENGLAND, MEXICO, SOUTH AFRICA, and DOMINICAN REPUBLIC are making major headway, his prospects for exceeding Assaad Tarabay’s lofty showing seems to be slipping.  Still, he’s a big favorite of mine, and a Top Five finish is still highly conceivable.  He also has figuring in Extreme Sports and Top Model to be proud of.  I would encourage you to check out his Mister World fitness video on Instagram, as he added more than just fitness tips but metaphors on life.


LUXEMBOURG – Owen Hawel.  Many pageant fans and pundits would rate this guy as one of their cellar-dwellers.  But lo and behold, he made Top Eight in Sports.  Don’t let his plain looks, nonchalant casual style and less-defined physique fool you–there is skill and strength underneath all that.

With eventual Sports champion SOUTH AFRICA (Fezile Mkhize)

There was a Mister Luxembourg 2018 who was selected was expected to compete here, the cutie Christophe Meisch.  But it seems the director decided to let Christophe’s one-year reign complete and handpick a Mister World representative and grant him the title Mister Luxembourg 2019–perhaps the director Hervé Lancelin observed Owen’s athletic ability that he felt this guy is a better fit than the boyish cutie.  Interestingly, Hervé might have been proven right.

Christophe Meisch, Mister Luxembourg 2018

MALAYSIA – Kian Yik Yong.  He’s one of the tallest contestants in this batch, and declared to be a world traveler, but that’s basically it.  His only notable event is that he’s the first reported injured during the Extreme Sports challenge.

MALTA – Daryl Azzopardi.  He could easily pass as LEBANON’s brother with his similar mix of swarthy handsomeness and beefily buffed physique.  But he tends to be low wattage that he easily gets overshadowed, so LEBANON hogs all the limelight that could’ve come his way.  At least he has a reserve showing in Extreme Sports as a highlight.

MAURITIUS – Alexandre Curpanen.  He possesses a swarthy appeal and a resemblance to longtime Old Spice spokesperson Isaiah Mustafa. and figured in the shortlists in Sports and Top Model.  Making the Top 24 looks almost a lock for him.


MEXICO – Brian Faugier.  For many people (including myself), this is the handsomest guy in this year’s pageant.  Imagine Mister World 2012 Francisco Escobar with his angular features smoothed out and you have this fresh drink of water.  It’s no surprise he garnered the Photogenic award and figured in the Top Five in Top Model.  I have a feeling this guy won that fast track because he by far is the one who fits that title the best.  He also has an Extreme Sports shortlist in his belt.  Many are feeling he could be a possible winner, especially since the reigning Miss World, Vanessa Ponce de Leon, will be one of the judges.  But I have some reservations as if you talk about interview skills, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC proved to be more impressive, but he will make for a charismatic winner if the title goes his way.


Modeling photo of Mister World 2012, Francisco Alvarez

MONTENEGRO – Nemanja Kaluđerović.  Some pageant fans and pundits noticed his scruffy handsomeness and felt he could be a contender.  But his reticent vibe, along with a less-than-defined frame, dimmed his prospects somewhat.  It looked like looking at the buffness of his competition affected him, as when he modeled shorts in the Top Model event, he opted to put on a black shirt while everyone else went shirtless.  He shouldn’t have felt that self-conscious and should’ve been confident in his own skin, if you ask me.  Ask NICARAGUA.

MYANMAR – Sai Kaung Min Htet.  He’s another teenage Asian cutie.  He may not be as polished as, say, INDONESIA or THAILAND, but with a little seasoning he could make a stronger impression.

NEPAL – Akshay Ramayajhi.  His advocacy in his introduction video may have served him very well as he’s the winner of the Multimedia challenge, which secured him placement in the Top 12.  I’m sure some pageant fans and pundits may resent this as this leave less room for other favorites to make it.

NETHERLANDS – Ashley Peternella.  Yes, throughout the history of male pageants, there are murmurs on the sexuality of some contestants, but this guy would not have that issue as he’s the first out LGBTQ representative in this pageant, as back in 2013 representing his home island of Aruba, he made the Top Five in Mister Gay World.  But in his stay here, he has smashed preconceived stereotypes as he rocks both Sports and Extreme Sports.  But his major highlight is making the Top 3 in Talent with his scintillating Latin dance performance.  I can see him having an inside track into the Top 12.


At Mr. Gay World 2013

Ashley is also a replacement of an originally designated rep–for undisclosed reasons, Wahhab Hassoo, who happens to be of Iraqi descent, opted not to compete,  Yes, Wahhab is more conventionally handsome, but I think Ashley proved to be a more compelling story than Wahhab, don’t you think?

Originally designated representative Wahhab Hassoo

NICARAGUA – Jose Perez.  This guy is the epitme of body confidence as even if he has a thicker frame than his peers, he still is proud of it, even having a fitness video where he mentions he’s an MMA fighter.  That thick frame may indeed have served him well as he made the shortlist in Extreme Sports.  For me, he’s the “Lizzo” in this batch, and for me, good for him.

NIGERIA –  Prince Nelson Emwerem.  He’s a fierce African who looks like a Top 24 contender.  He has a Sports shortlist and a Top FIve finish in Talent (with his interpretative dance performance) as his highlights.


NORTHERN IRELAND – Adam Wayne Steenson. His cute features gave him a ticket for the Top Model shortlist.  Though he has not been prominent in other challenge events, there is a sense of favoritism towards British contestants as this is a British-run enterprise, anyway, but I won’t object to his inclusion.


PANAMA – Algis Gonzales.  He registers as a bit rough and as such did not make any significant inroads.  His only highlight is designated swimmer in Sports.

PARAGUAY – Alberto  Magnus Silva.  Here is a boyish Latino cutie  who is overshadowed by the overabundance of gorgeous Latinos, but at least he has a Sports shortlist to celebrate.

PERU – Jano Carper.  See COSTA RICA, but at least he has the consolation of having made reserve in Sports.


Official swimsuit portraits courtesy of Alain Lababit; Press presentation photos courtesy of Joy Arguil for Fab Philippines; Barong and summer wear photos courtesy of Miss World Organization; and Top Model Bench underwear photos courtesy of Drew Francisco for Missosology



BELIZE – Chantal Chanice Guy.  I do think she has good looks and good communication skills to deserve some notice.


CHILE – Tiare Fuentes.  I find her very pretty, but she is overshadowed by other ferocious Latinas out there.  She’s one of seven who didn’t have an Eco-Beauty video.


CHINESE TAIPEI – Le Chiao Peng.  With her bobbed haircut, she exudes a modern vibe.  Most representatives to this pageant tend to be raw but this lady seems to be one of the more polished ones (especially with her unique vibe and strong communication skills).


COLOMBIA – Michelle Gomez. She may have only garnered one medal (a bronze in the swimsuit competition), but she’s still one to watch out for making the Top Eight and perhaps beyond.


CYPRUS – Maria Costa.  She’s good looking, but overshadowed by the stunners out there.


DENMARK – Klaudia Parsberg.  This blonde is well regarded by many pageant fans and pundits.  She’s articulate and committed to the cause, so she can still make serious impact into the finals.  But can she duplicate Catharina Svenson’s win in the inaugural edition 15 years ago?  There will be obstacles ahead…


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Nicole Jimeno.  She’s a polished contender of color with a body for sin.  She’s not as stunning as Miss Earth-Air 2005 Amell Santana, but making the cut is still in the realm of possibility–though her features are not normally what the Filipino tastes would appreciate.


ENGLAND – Luissa Burton.  It’s jarring to watch her Eco-Beauty as a blonde as she came to our shores as a brunette, and she has been garnering raves as such–many even feel she can get an element.  I agree as she’s gorgeous as a brunette and she’s a strong communicator to boot.   She garneered a gold for her costume and bronze for talent.


HUNGARY – Eszter Oczella.  She’s attractive but with a batch like this it’s an uphill battle for her to make inroads into the Top 16.


IRAQ – Suzan Amer.  Unlike her Miss Grand International counterpart, this lady is a more serious competitor–sure she has faith-based restrictions that she needed to be modestly clothed when presented in swimsuit.  Still her presence is welcome here.


ITALY – Denise Frigo.  Her Eco-Beauty video is unique as she introduced herself while on horseback.  She only won one medal (silver in long gown)but her gorgeous face and trim figure does turn heads and she may have an inside track to the finals.


JAPAN – Ami Hachiya.  She’s a pretty lady with a tirm figure.  A worthwhile contender who garnered a silver for her lovely yello kimono.


LEBANON – Carole Kahwagi.  She’s good looking who made an impression in resorts wear, garnering gold in that event. Lookswise a sleeper contender, but well there are stronger communicators than her out there.


MAURITIUS – Amber Korimdun.  She’s good looking.  This country has done pretty well in this pageant in recent years, making the cut in 2013 and 2016.  It is possible for her to be a sleeper choice for the finals.


MOLDOVA – Tatiana Ovcinicova.  She’s surprisingly very articulate in her Eco-Beauty video.  Her features remind me of a younger, ingenue version of actress Mariel Hemingway, and if the judges are in the mood for that kind of look, she can make serious inroads into the finals.


Mariel Hemingway (image sourced from flavorwire.com)




Last Saturday at the Sulo Riviera Hotel in Diliman, Quezon City, the 30 candidates for the inaugural Gentlemen of the Philippines pageant were presented to the media.  The candidates introduced themselves in white T-shirts and jean ensembles, then paraded in white swimsuits, and then there was a fashion show showcasing three different collections by local designers.  It then ended with a n open Q&A session with the candidates, where we learn more insights on their personalities, opinions on some current events, and their advocacies.  Special awards are then given out–sponsors New Placenta, HEA watches gave sponsors’ prizes and then the top three darling of the press were given out.


Who among the 30 candidates made a major impression?  There were three candidates who I felt made an impact even if they didn’t win a special award that day.  First I have to cite the strong catwalk skills delivered by Gentlement 28 (Michael Mendoza of Sarangani).  Then the next two are characterized by sexy native appeal, supremely buffed physiques, and strong projection skills–Gentlemen 13 (Roland William de Dios of Cabanatuan City) and 17 (Job Abogado of Camarines Sur).

28 Sarangani
Gentlemen 28: Michael Mendoza of Sarangani
13 Cabanatuan City
Gentleman 13: Roland William de Dios of Cabanatuan City
17 Camarines Sur
Gentleman 17: Job Abogado of Camarines Sur

One guy got one of the Top 10 sponsor’s prize given by HEA watches, and he also stood out in the open Q&A session as he relayed about his background as a former cadet in the Philippine Military Academy and his advocacy for the environment:  Gentleman 22 (Paul Benjamin Abal, Jr. of Mandaue City).  But will his attractive looks and personality be enough to make the final cut? Observers might have reservations as he has one major obstacle with his obvious “dad bod”–it will be a major miracle if he can whip his body into competitive shape in one week.

22 Mandaue City
Gentleman 22: Paul Benjamin Abal, Jr. of Mandaue City (swimsuit image courtesy of Edmund Chua for OPMB Worldwide).

Other candidates that caught the eye of Hea watches include Gentlemen 2 (Julius Ceasar Chio of General Santos City) and 7 (Karl Mikhael Balderas of Santiago City).  In my opinion, they are okay, but I was more impressed with Gentlemen 13 and 17.

02 Gen Santos
Gentleman 2: Julius Ceasar Chio of General Santos City
07 Santiago City
Gentleman 7: Karl Mikhael Balderas of Santiago City

Garnering a 1st runner-up finish as “Darling of the Press” was Gentleman 1 (Kian Jabin Sumague of San Pablo City).  There are some pageant fans and pundits who regard him as a possible favorite for one of the six titles at stake, but I think a semifinalist finish will be enough for him.

01 San Pablo

One of the favorites for a title thanks to his pedigree as a medical doctor is Gentleman 20 (Dr. John Vincent Pua of Quezon City).  His physique may not be as defined as a number of his peers, but he does have personality, appeal and charisma to be in title contention.

20 Quezon City
Gentleman 20: Dr. John Vincent Pua of Quezon City

One guy with native features who has an inside track for one of the titles is Gentleman 3 (Christian Lumasag of Cebu City).  At this point he seems to be the native-boy most likely.

03 Cebu City
Gentleman 3: Christian Lumasag of Cebu City

Two swarthy fellows are also in the mix and are in title contention:  there’s Gentleman 30 (Sonu Singh of Nueva Vizcaya), a full-blooded Indian who was born and raised here, and Gentleman 8 (Mohammed Ali Imran Atendido of Lucena City), who not only garnered a HEA sponsor’s prize, but placed third as Darling of the Press.

30 Nueva Vizcaya
Gentleman 30: Sonu Singh of Nueva Vizcaya
08 Lucena Quezon
Gentleman 8: Mohammed Ali Imran Atendido of Lucena, Quezon

Major attention has been lavished by most of the media towards the candidates representing overseas communites, and for most part, they delivered.  I was not that initially impressed with Gentleman 21 (Paul Renzo Velo of London, UK), but after witnessing his strong catwalk skills and looking at him better, I believe his prospects for a semifinalist showing seems secure.

21 London
Gentleman 21: Paul Renzo Velo of London, UK

Being one of the youngest at 18 years old, Gentleman 16 (Johannes Dula Rissler of Germany) looks poised to take the Mister Teen International title up for grabs.

16 Germany
Gentleman 16: Johannes Dula Rissler of Germany

Winning the top HEA sponsor’s prize, Gentleman 14 (Jason del Juan Martin of Gold Coast, Australia) looks poised to secure one of the titles at stake.  There are some angles where he looks great, but some angles don’t seem to appeal to me, but his status as a front-runner seems assured.

14 Gold Coast AUS
Gentleman 14: Jason del Juan Martin of Gold Coast, Australia

The one who seems to be guaranteed a title especially with the heavy buzz he received with the media and the two big special awards as Mr. New Placenta and the Darlng of the Press winner is Gentlemen 23 (Andrea Biondo of South Italy).  He is clearly the most handsome and has the most impressive physique among the 30 candidates, not to mention undeniable charisma onstage, and he has also has a likable charm and personality.  But I do have a minor quibble about his physique, as impressive as it is–he seems to exemplify that bodybuilding meme about missing leg day as his legs are not as defined as his torso.  But as I said, it’s a minor quibble because he still is the most impressive among all the candidates anyway and it can easily be addressed as he prepares for whatever international competition he’ll be assigned to go to.

23 South Italy
Gentleman 23: Andrea Biondo of South Italy

All images courtesy of Joy Arguil unless otherwise indicated.

All told, it’s a promising beginning for the inaugual Gentlemen of the Philippines pageant.  Looking forward to seeing how the coronation night turns out.  Good luck to all the candidates and the organizers, Gentleman Charities, Inc.