By Robert Requintina
An organizer of popular national pageants has lamented the lack of support from government and multi-national companies in staging a prestigious international male pageant due to “stigma and stereotypes.”
“Male pageants are still not fully accepted because of the stigma and stereotypes. There is something wrong with the general perception of male pageants and this double standard is something that I want to eradicate,” said Arnold Vegafria, national director of Miss World Philippines and Mr World Philippines pageants, during a speech at the Mr World 2019 charity gala held at Novotel Manila in Cubao, Quezon City Wednesday night.
Vegafria, who is also the business manager of Senator Manny Pacquiao, said that he was very happy and eager when it was announced that the Philippines would host the Mr. World pageant for the first time.
“Unfortunately, that excitement turned into disappointment,” said Vegafria in revealing to the crowd the realities of staging Mr. World 2019 contest in Manila.
The Mr. World pageant, Vegafria said, is an effective venue to promote Philippine tourism. “It is the most prestigious international male pageant.”
“I hope the government will realize that this pageant, which will be seen in 110 countries worldwide, is an effective platform for sharing and promoting our country’s world-class tourist destinations and unique historical and cultural activities,” he said.
This year’s edition of Mr. World contest has 72 contestants “who are respectable, talented, and well-rounded professionals,” he said.
The roster of delegates includes a rocket scientist, doctors, engineers, businessmen, teachers, musicians, actors, models, university scholars, etc.
Vegafria also announced the launching of Mr and Miss World Philippines Scholarship Foundation for poor but deserving Filipinos.
At the same event, Mr. Tonga Mikaele Henry Ahomana has automatically entered the top 12 when he won the talent competition.
Ahomana sang the No. 1 song “God Bless the Broken Road” originally done by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Brian Arturo Gonzalez of Mexico was named Mr. Photogenic while Jack Heslewood was awarded Best in Barong Tagalog.
The top 5 finalists for top model challenge were also announced – the Dominican Republic, England, Philippines, Venezuela, and Mexico. The winner will advance to the top 12.
The grand finals of Mr. World 2019 pageant will be held at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City on Friday, August 23, at 8 p.m.