THAT question will be answered come February 13 in Bangkok, Thailand when Misters of Filipinas-International 2016 Miguel Mari de la Cruz Guia battles it out with 37 other contestants worldwide in quest of the coveted title currently held by Sergio Mendes of Switzerland.
Model and IT student Guia, 27, from San Pablo City, Laguna, was given a rousing sendoff party last Saturday at Icon Hotel North EDSA in Quezon City, the last of Misters of Filipinas titlists for 2016 to vie internationally.
The 11th Mister International Pageant was originally scheduled in November 2016 but had to be moved after Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away, putting the entire nation into a state of mourning.
As a sign of respect, Mister International Organization president Allan Sim decided to postpone and move the date to February 13, to be held at The Stage @ Asiatique the Riverfront in the Thai capital.
Spending the past months preparing for the international competition, Miguel admitted he had to focus on his physical preparations because he is really lean. “I spent a lot of time in the gym to build up my muscles, watched what I eat and cut down on certain foods.”
Miguel also trained rigorously for Q & A and walking, which, he admits are his strong points. At 6 feet, Miguel has a wide experience as a ramp model, taking from his late father who was also a model back in the ‘80s.
When asked if he would use an interpreter like Maxine Medina did in Miss Universe 2016 at the MOA Arena, and “gwapulis” Neil Perez en route to his victory as Mister International 2014 in Ansan, South Korea two years ago, Miguel said he would not use that option because he is comfortable speaking in English. In fact, he aced the final Q & A of Misters of Filipinas last September.
“I am so excited,” beamed Miguel as he met his family, friends, fellow Misters titlists AR de la Serna, CJ Querol, Vince Jarina and Karan Singdole; and members of media. “This is the first time that I will be leaving the country in two decades. The first time I was out of the Philippines was when I was a baby until I was 6 years old when my family lived in the States.”
The only boy in the brood of four of widow Mena D. Guia, Miguel wants to champion women and children, understandably so because he is very protective of his mom and younger sisters Marta, Marsela and Margarita.
Miguel is also excited to experience Thai culture and taste Thai food.
Prime Events Productions Philippines (PEPPS) president Carlo Morris Galang, who holds the license for Mister International, said “I have seen Miguel’s dedication and hard work for the competition. I am sure that like his predecessors, he will make our country proud.”
Philippine bets have figured prominently in recent years in the annual international pageant for men, capped by Neil Perez’s historic victory in 2014. Gil Wagas was 4th runner-up in 2013, while Reniel Villareal was a top 10 finalist at the last pageant in Manila in 2015.
Miguel is keeping in mind what Neil told him before he left for Bangkok: Always have a good attitude throughout the competition and keep his feet firmly on the ground.
Pageant Watch wishes Miguel all the best for Monday’s finals.
The search is on for the 54th Binibining Pilipinas Pageant. Interested parties may download the application form at www.bbpilipinas.com
. Deadline of submission is on February 24, 6 p.m. at the BPCI Office, Red Gate, Smart Araneta Coliseum, Araneta Center, Quezon City.