MANILA, Philippines — Jose Lopez of Puerto Rico captured the Mister Gay World title at the Artscape in Cape Town, South Africa, on Oct. 15 (Oct. 16 in Manila).
He also bagged a lion’s share of special awards at the contest’s first live staging since the COVID-19 pandemic broke in 2020.
The Puerto Rican contender received the Best Social Media Presence, Best in National Costume, Best Sports Challenge, and Best in Swimwear awards.
Tony Ardolino of the United States cracked the winners’ circle as first runner-up.
Germany’s Max Appenroth, the first transgender entrant in the annual tilt, finished third. He also received the best in Personal Interviews and Best Social Media Campaign awards.
Jhapett Raymundo failed to make it a four-in-a-row triumph for the Philippines but won the Best in Formal Wear award.
The Philippines’ Janjep Carlos won in the contest’s last edition before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organizers were already preparing for another competition for the second quarter of 2020 when a global health crisis derailed their plans.
Two virtual competitions were mounted for the 2020 and 2021 editions, where Filipino bets Kodie Macayan and Joel Rey Carcasona won, respectively. The latter took over the title when South African winner Louw Breytenbach relinquished the crown.
John Raspado became the first Filipino to be proclaimed Mister Gay World when he bested 20 other contestants in the competition staged in Spain in 2017.
The Philippines remains to be the most successful country in the annual tilt with a total of four titleholders since the contest’s inception in 2009.
Eric Butler, the annual competition’s president and founder, said the Mister Gay World competition is “a collective space to see the coming together of the gay men across the world, to share an international stage and amplify their purpose in sole pursuit of equal access to human rights, social and political acceptance, tolerance, and inclusion.”