A tourism desk officer of Occidental Mindoro is pushing to save the critically-endangered tamaraws as he represents the Philippines in the Mister National Universe 2019 pageant in Thailand on July 1.
Jan Kim Vergel, 22, said that he is advocating more efforts to save the tamaraws from extinction.
“So far, our efforts in Mindoro are paying off. But we need to do more to save the species,” said Vergel, during a press send-off for him held at Giovanni’s Bar Ristorante at Gateway Araneta Center in Quezon City over the weekend.
The Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) has reported an increase in the number of tamaraw headcount in April 2018.
From 253 tamaraws in 2002, it has gone up to 523 in 2018, according to BMB focal person Cecille Garcia.
Vergel earned the right to represent the Philippines in the Mister National Universe pageant after he won Mister Continental Philippines 2019 recently.
The 6’1 hunk was presented to the pageant press by Rodell Salvador, Mister Continental Philippines national director, and Loty B. Nayo, Mister National Universe Philippines national director.
A graduate of accounting technology, Vergel loves to sing and dance. He is also a fashion model.
During the international competition, there will be two representatives from the Philippines.
But Vergel said that he is not in any way threatened by the presence of a second candidate from his country.
“This will inspire me more to work harder,” he said.
Few international organizers have allowed more than one candidate to join pageants.
Vergel will wear a traditional Mangyan outfit during the national costume parade. Upcoming Filipino designer Paul Semira will provide the other attire of Vergel.