MANILA, Philippines–The Philippines scored two medals in the kickoff event for the 2019 Man of the World contest, the Philippine-born global competition now on its third edition.
John Paul Ocat, 23, clinched bronze medals in the national costume competition and the poll for “Media’s Choice” in the tilt’s first official public activity with the 30 delegates held at Hotel Benilde Maison de La Salle in Manila on Thursday evening.
“It’s so amazing, it’s like a good start,” Ocat told the Inquirer at the sidelines of the event.
“I’m [the host delegate] but I’m really working hard for everything. I’m really, really happy,” he added.
Ocat, an international studies graduate from Talisay City in Cebu, drew inspiration from a tourist landmark for his costume, which glimmered under the spotlight.
“I’ve always been very proud of my city, my region. I want to show something very unique that’s never before seen in Philippine pageant history, so I showcased the Magellan’s Cross,” he explained.
The Cebuano lad said he and his team chose the colors and the design, as a representation of his being a “modern Filipino.”
He added: “I want it to be new to the eyes of the people, catchy and refreshing, like a breath of fresh air.
Designer Patrick Isorena gave life to Ocat’s vision, which showcased a large cross pattern across the body, made of cut glass, and a head piece inspired by the roof of the site of Magellan’s Cross.
“You don’t know how happy I am,” said Ocat of the citation he received for the national costume he conceptualized.
He shared the third spot with India’s Krishan Salak, whose costume incorporated a large two-dimensional image of an elephant’s head.
Indonesia’s Isaac Agung Budiman clinched the silver medal for his costume that showcased an elaborate back piece, and an intricate headdress.
Spain’s Carlos Marquez Saez, a crowd favorite, topped the national costume competition with a daring ensemble incorporating huge wings and a tall head piece using feathers and beads.
Nepal’s Sujit Lama, one of the shortest delegates to arrive, topped the “Media’s Choice” poll, with Vensan Iala of Guinea Bissau and Lars Kortleven of the Netherlands sharing the second spot.
The delegates are currently in Dipolog City for a string of activities, before flying back to Manila for the finals.
Carlo Morris Galang, president of pageant organizer Prime Events Productions Philippines (PEPPS) Foundation Inc., also announced his group’s partnership with Profiles Entertainment Productions (PEP) for his foundation’s various projects this year.
“We’re getting bigger. We need to collaborate with a partner,” Galang shared.
PEP president Raymund Romero Erig said that aside from the ongoing Man of the World contest, PEPPS and his team will also collaborate for the national tilt Misters of Filipinas, the Halloween Horror House, the Philippine Pageant Ball, and the international Pageant Ball.
Dr. Rafael Arbon Duhaylungsod, PEP chief content officer, noted the partnership between the two entities as logical, for engaging in similar thrusts.
The 2019 Man of the World contest will culminate in ceremonies to be staged at the Fil-Oil Flying-V Arena in San Juan on July 11.
Vietnam’s Cao Xuan Tai, last year’s winner, has already arrived to relinquish his title.