The winning streak of Filipino candidates in pageants abroad continued after a 19-year-old student won 2nd runner-up in Mister Grand International 2019 held in Myanmar Sunday night.
Paolo Gallardo, of San Fernando, La Union was one of three Asians who made it to the top 5 of the competition that advocates sports and a healthy lifestyle.
Mister Vietnam was crowned Mister Grand International 2019. Other winners were Brazil,1st runner-up; Thailand, 3rd runner-up; and Puerto Rico, 4th runner-up.
Gallardo captured the hearts of pageant fans with his story of courage and survival after his mother and siblings died during a fire on New Year’s Eve when he was just 9 years old in 2010. His father was also stricken with cancer.
These heartbreaking moments, he said, taught him to be strong and independent.
At 16, Gallardo broke the fashion scene when he won as Mister Boardwalk in 2016. Early this year, he was crowned Mister Ilocos 2019. His friends encouraged him to compete in Mister Grand International Philippines 2019 where he captured the title in September.
Gallardo is a senior at the La Union National High School. He wants to take up computer engineering in college.
The teen king also advocates “love for children” as a result of the tragic events in his life.
“I am a survivor of life. I am a survivor at the age of 10. The unfortunate events in my life made me stronger. So let’s give the children a place in our hearts,” Gallardo said.