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To the highest level

Good-looking Filipino guys are also getting noticed internationally – just ask Daniel Azurin

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Heads up, pageant aficionados.

Daniel Azurin (mb.com.ph)

Daniel Azurin

As November draws to a close, another Filipino is set to make waves in the international scene – and he’s all guy.

Daniel Azurin, a Finance student from De La Salle University, is the country’s representative to the 2017 edition of Manhunt International in Bangkok, Thailand today.

The six-feet-tall heartthrob will compete with 50 other delegates from around the world. He was unanimously chosen to be PH rep during a close door judging and selection held recently.

Daniel said this is the first time he has joined a pageant but he will make sure he is physically and mentally prepared come finals night.

“I’ve never imagined myself being in a pageant. But when I heard about the Manhunt Philippines, I got really interested that’s why I decided to join the search and luckily chosen, so let’s see what I can do,” he told Bulletin Entertainment.

Established in 1993, Manhunt International is the world’s longest running international male model contest. It is organized in a “macho” way with outdoor activities, thrilling events, public presentations, talent fun routines.

The competition had a unique feature, which comprised of an all-woman panel of jury. But in 2001, the rules changed to also include male judges, aiming to bring unity and build a kind of brotherhood among them.

The year 2012 was the last time the Philippines won in the said pageant in the person of June Macasaet.

The 21-year-old Daniel undergoes various trainings to keep his body fit and toned.

“I am working a lot and I also have the right diet. So I think I have nothing to worry about and I am confident I can bring pride to my country,” he said.

The hunk is not pressured to bag the title even though the country has been getting a winning streak in the pageant scene lately.

He will just enjoy the competition. Win or lose, Daniel will charge it to experience.

Pia Wurtzbach (mb.com.ph)

Pia Wurtzbach

“I know that they (other Filipino representatives) are having a good run but I don’t feel the need to be pressured. I’m not pressured about anything,” he said. “I’m just having fun but at the same time, I will do my best. I don’t expect anything because if there’s no expectation, there’s no disappointment but I am really working hard for this.”

Should he win, Daniel will use the platform to share the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. The fitness enthusiast added he will share his knowledge about the benefits of exercise and healthy diet.

“Fitness is booming but not everybody is educated about it. If I get the title, at least I have the credibility to share kung anong ’yung nalalaman ko about fitness. Kasi nowadays, people do it para lang magandang tignan or gwapo but there’s more to that. It’s for a lifestyle, so I want to motivate them.”

Prior to being the country’s representative, Daniel has had modeling gigs under Mercator Artist and Model Management headed by beauty queen-maker Jonas Gaffud.

We told Daniel he has a resemblance to actor Dominic Roque. He’s not surprised as it’s not the first time he’s been told so.

“Dominic is a nice guy. He is a good-looking guy. It’s a compliment for me na masabing magkamukha kami,” he enthused.

Daniel is open to joining showbiz after the pageant though it isn’t a priority.

“If nandiyan na or may offer, why not ’di ba? Pero hindi lang kasi ’yung habol ko why I joined the competition. I really want to have enough influence para I can do something bigger than showbiz.”

Kitchen beauty

Also present at the send-off engagement of Daniel is fellow Mercator Talent and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach.

Talking about the recent accomplishment of Filipinas including Winwyn Marquez and Karen Ibasco in their respective international pageants, Pia elated, “Nakaka-proud!”

“It’s always a great pride to see the Philippines winning in the international pageant. I’m just really happy nangyari lahat ’yun in a span of 24 hours, so that’s something talaga na we should celebrate,” she said. “It really goes to show na we’re not just really beautiful but we’re also very talented and very articulate. Sobrang nakaka-proud and I think it’s really about time naman na we get to recognize internationally.”’

Pia was at the event to show support for Daniel and announce her exclusive channels on the newest online entertainment hub, My Hotspot TV.

My Hotspot TV is produced by JAG Studios, a showbiz-oriented agency under the umbrella of Empire group of companies by Jonas.

Pia will grace two online shows, “The Beautiful Kitchen” and “The Game Of Crowns.”

The beauty queen is excited for the “The Beautiful Kitchen” as it will showcase her fondness for cooking (Pia was a culinary graduate, remember?)

“I put that (cooking) on hold in pursuit of my dream of becoming Miss Universe but now that my reign is done, I can now do whatever I want and that includes going back to culinary.”

Mercator's new roster of talents (mb.com.ph)

Mercator’s new roster of talents

Does she have a signature Miss Universe dish, we asked.

“I think a Miss Universe eats anything,” she said, laughing. “Ako naman I’m not very picky as long as I eat in moderation. But if there’s something na gusto kong lutuin, I guess mga Filipino food talaga. A Miss Universe appreciates all types of dishes but I appreciate it more when it reminds me of home.”

Asked to give advice for aspiring chefs, Pia said they just have to follow instructions properly but at the same time, own the dishes through experimentation.

An empire

In a separate interview, Jonas formally introduced his new business endeavor: Empire group of companies.

Empire is comprised of My Hotspot TV, a digital-only channel featuring today’s most promising personalities; JAG (Jonas Antonio Gaffud) Studios, a showbiz-oriented company that aims to present tomorrow’s celebrities today: A&Q Studios, offshoot of the popular Aces & Queens – the foremost trainers of the country’s world renowned beauty queens.

G.A.M.E (Glam Artists Management & Events), an events group that brings together today’s most popular stylists and beauty experts; and JAG Studio Lifestyle, an arbiter of taste and the expert on what’s in and what’s out today.

Joining Pia’s channels on My Hotspot TV are: “Good Vibes,” “Cantar” featuring sing and rap duo Yheen Valero and Yuki Sagamoto, “Inday Crisha,” “Travel With Swag,” and Daniel Matsunaga’s “Machonaga.”

At the event, Jonas also announced the new roster of talents under Mercator Model Management. They include 2017 Man of the World Mustafa Elezali, 2017 Miss Philippines USA Nicole Guerrero, Neil Perez, Andrea Biondo, Josh Barfuss, and Eduardo Castillo.

Jonas shared, “We really want a different branding not only for models but also for those who want to try showbiz. So I’m really happy and glad with my partners as well.”

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