Pageants: It’s a man’s world, too!

This article was first published on Rappler.

THE Philippines may be a powerhouse in the world of female beauty pageants, but the world of male pageants was always its waterloo.

This changed in 2012, when two Filipino male representatives got noticed by the worldwide audience in two male pageants.


June Macasaet, a 29-year-old commercial and ramp model, bested 52 other contestants at the Mister Manhunt International pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand. He was not a heavy favorite during the competition, but June knew how to put on the charm: he behaved well and focused on his goal — to be the first-ever Pinoy to win the Mister Manhunt International title.

June’s determination did him well and made him stand out during the finals. He even bagged the New Urban Male award.

Meanwhile, model and athlete Andrew Wolff finished second at Mister World 2013 in Kent, United Kingdom. His membership in the Philippine Volcanoes since 2007 gave him an advantage in the Sports Fast Track Challenge.

But Andrew stood out even more in the Multimedia Challenge where the candidates were tasked to make a documentary. He won the award “with his energetic and engaging creations on his social media pages. He was deemed to have created the most exciting, informative and inventive news stories.”

Andrew’s Mister World stint allowed us to see the other side of a once-controversial celebrity. Today, he is involved with Tuloy Foundation, an advocacy group that supports marginalized children.

Their wins gave a boost to the male pageant industry in the Philippines, with the launch of Mister International Philippines and a more rigorous search for the next Mister Manhunt Philippines.

Mister International Philippines 2013 Gil Wagas (center) and his runners-up. Pic from chris_diestro of Flickr

Mister International: ‘Distinctively handsome’

From a small pageant in 2006, the Mister International pageant has evolved into “a powerful, year-round international organization that advances and supports opportunities for these young men,” as written in the Mister International website.

The pageant is owned and organized by the Mister Singapore Organization, dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles and harnessing leadership in young men. The reigning title-holder is Ali Hammoud of Lebanon.

The 2013 Mister International pageant will be held in Indonesia on November 21 (Miss World 2013 will also be held in Indonesia on September 28).

Who’s wearing the Philippine sash? Last June 21, former University of the East (UE) cager Gil Wagas, who represented Lapu-Lapu City, was named Mister International Philippines 2013. His victory did not come as a surprise since he was considered a front-runner. Gil towers at 6’2″ with a good physique; this could work to his advantage when he competes in Indonesia later this year.

Follow updates here:
Twitter: @OfficialMrIntl

Mister Manhunt International: Search for the best male model

Established in 1993, Manhunt International is the world’s longest running male pageant and model contest. Owned and trademarked by Exclusive Resources Marketing Pte Ltd and Procon Leisure International Pty Ltd., this contest aims to provide contestants and winners with a platform to launch their international modeling career.

Contestants are judged based on their catwalk and runway skills aside from their ability to be photogenic, their good looks and healthy lifestyle. Communication skills and a good personality are also considered.

The 2013 pageant will be held in Beijing, China in November.

Who’s wearing the Philippine sash? Prime Event Productions Philippines Foundation Inc, the organization behind the Mister International Philippines pageant, is set to organize this year’s search for Manhunt International Philippines. Screenings are being held all over the country as of writing, in search for the strongest delegate who can duplicate June Macasaet’s 2012 victory. The national finals is set for October.

Follow updates here: and

Mister World: ‘The search for the world’s most desirable man’

The Mister World pageant has been held biennially since 1996 and is organized by the Miss World Organization, the same organizer of the Miss World pageant. The contestants face tough sports and endurance challenges, as well as talent, fashion and style competitions.

In 2012, the Multimedia Challenge was added. The contestants were brought to Canterbury for a day with their cameras and mobile phones, tasked to document Canterbury. Mr Philippines won this round with his a 15-minute film exploring the Church Of England. The reigning title-holder is Francisco Escobar of Colombia.

Who’s wearing the Philippine sash? No announcement has been made yet, but CQ Global Quest Inc, the licensee of Miss World in the country, holds the right to appoint the Philippine delegate to this contest.

Follow updates here: and
Twitter: @MrWorldOrg

The Philippines’ glorious moments in 2012 pageants

Year 2012 will surely go down in history as one of the best years for the Philippines in the international pageant arena. The country placed in all of the four major female pageants for the second consecutive year, even bagging two bridesmaid finishes. Surprisingly,  it also managed to dominate the male pageant scene, with a major title and a runner-up finish. Not only that. Pinay representatives also shone in other pageants across the globe.

As 2013 unfolds, let us look back at the defining moments of the Philippines in last year’s pageants.

1-2_zpsa0a02b50Upon her crowning as Miss World Philippines, Queneerich Rehman had been touted as a “girl to beat” in Miss World. Despite having only three-weeks to prepare, hopes were high that she could take home the country’s first Miss World crown. Many thought she was the perfect choice because she is a well-rounded beauty. True enough, she came to Ordos, Inner Mongolia well-prepared. She placed in the Beach Fashion Top 40, Performing Talent Top 5, and Top Model Top 46. Her Michael Cinco gown also made it to the Top 10 of World Fashion Designer Dress.

However, it was clear from the beginning that she had slim chances of getting the elusive crown given the row between China and the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal. Despite this, she managed to standout. Her greatest weapon: beat boxing. Her video performance has gone viral over the net, even reaching the pages of The Huffington Post and TIME. She was expected to win the Talent round but lost to China’s Wenxia Yu (who eventually took home the crown).

Still, Queenee’s Top 15 finish, against all odds, is a feat for the Filipinos.

2-1_zps3faab033Who would have thought Filipinos will finally get noticed in the male pageant arena?

June Macasaet, 29-year old commercial and ramp model, defeated 52 other contestants at the Manhunt International pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand. He wasn’t a heavy favorite during the competition. But one can’t deny his competitiveness . He behaved well, and seemed very focused on his goal: be the first-ever Pinoy to win the Manhunt title. True enough, with his determination  he shone during the finals. He even bagged the New Urban Male Award.

Meanwhile, model and athlete Andrew Wolff finished second at Mr World 2013 held in Kent, UK. His experience as a member of Philippine Volcanoes since 2007 played an advantage to him as he placed in the Sports fast track. But his main advantage came in the Multimedia fast track where the candidates were tasked to make video. He won the award “with his energetic and engaging creations on his social media pages. He was deemed to have created the most exciting, informative and inventive news stories.” Joining the pageant made us know the other side of who was once a controversial celebrity. Andrew is actually involved with Tuloy Foundation, an advocacy group that supports marginalized children.

3-1_zpsa26351d1After so long, a Filipino finally bagged a title in a pageant for transsexual and transgenders in the person of Kevin Balot. Kevin Balot bested 20 other contestants from 15 countries en route to bagging the Miss International Queen 2012 crown. Two other Philippine representatives in the pageant made it to the top 10: Michelle Montecarlo and Miriam Jimenez.

With her success, Kevin’s only one wish is “acceptance” from her family. “I’m very proud to be the first here, and I hope my dad will accept me. Because in the family I’m the only boy, and my dad has big expectations of me. I made it. I won the International Queen Pageant, and I believe that my dad will accept me not only as his son but also as his daughter,” Kevin said in an interview after she won. And her winning answer: “I believe my dear friends that all the candidates are equally beautiful and talented but the best word that describe me as a Miss International Queen is being simple because being simple makes me simply the best.”

6_zps64cbad21Outside the Big4 pageants, Filipinos continued to excel.

Elaine Kay Moll, BBP 2012 first runner-up became the first Filipina to place in the budding Miss Supranational pageant. Defying beliefs that the pageant is anti-Filipinos, Kay made it to the Top 20 and even finished as third runner-up. Ayelee Dasalla was 2nd runner-up, Miss Humanity International. Angelee Claudette de los Reyes and Bea Rose Santiago made it to the top 10 of Supermodel International and Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International, respectively. Clarise Marie Obvio won Miss Teen Universe 2012 First Runner-up. And the best way to cap the year is to bag a crown! Rizzini Gomez won the Miss Tourism International 2012 title last night.

4-1_zpsebaed236They were both heavily bashed: Janine Tugonon right after her crowning, Stephany Stefanowitz during the Miss Earth pageant. But in the end, they both proved their detractors wrong by almost clinching the crowns.

Janine could be considered as the most bashed Philippine delegate in history. Her body was a disaster when she competed earlier this year. Many thought her win was fixed. Despite the negativities, Janine focused on her goal. That is to continue the Philippines’ two consecutive years of top five placement. Her determination to prove her detractors wrong was very evident when she came out on TV weeks weeks before the MU. She has remarkably lost weight; her shoulder blades helloing. Her styling has improved as well as her catwalk skills. When in Vegas, Janine didn’t take matters sitting down. She was always in her A-game. During the prleiminaries, she showed off her well-improved body. Despite her gown not being aesthetically beautiful, she was able to work it well. Those sealed her Top 16 fate. During the finals, Janine was obviously among the best performers. Her evening gown performance was very classy. And her final answer? It will go down in history as among the best.

For the second-straight year, the host delegate turned out to be the most bashed candidate in ME. Stephany could’ve averted all the bashings had she undergone a very rigid training to tone her body. She was obviously not in her perfect form so placing second in the swimwear competition shocked and disappointed many fans. However, it can’t be denied that Stephany is a catwalk diva. She may not be the thinnest or the sexiest, but she sure knows how to work her curves when walking. She is also facially better than her predecessor. Stones may have been cast on her, but Stephany surely proved naysayers when she came out in a better body during the top 16 swimsuit presentation. She also had a decent evening gown performance. Her answer, albeit lacking in sincerity in my opinion, is acceptable.

5_zpsde45a472The best way to wrap up 2012 is to remember the wise words from our candidates:

“For me, being Miss Universe is not just about knowing how to speak a specific language, it is being able to influence and inspire other people. So whatever language you have, as long as your heart is to serve and you have a strong mind to show to people, then you can be Miss Universe. Thank you!”

– Janine Tugonon, when asked if speaking English should be a prerequisite for Miss Universe.

“Peace, love, unity, these 3 words are the Miss International pageant. Having spent the past 3 weeks in Okinawa, I have witnessed the special connection it has with the world. Globalization and multi cultural diversity can exist. We can be uniquely global and globally unique. This is my mission. I want people to appreciate that we not only belong to local communities but world at large. By this understanding we can contribute to global goals. I am standing here in front of you open to offer my heritage and myself, as a strong compassionate responsible and independent woman in this quest for global harmony. And I can stand here proudly and consider myself an international citizen.”

– Nicole Schmitz’ heartwarming speech in Miss International