Photo from Missosology, courtesy of the official Facebook page of Mister International
MANILA - You can call him Mister International.
Police Officer Mariano Flormata, Jr., better known by his screen name Neil Perez, won the 9th Mister International pageant held in Seoul, South Korea on February 14.
Perez, who is part of the Aviation Security Group of the Philippine National Police, beat 29 candidates from other countries to take home the title.
Finishing as runners-up to Perez are representatives from Lebanon (1st runner-up), Czech Republic (2nd-runner up), Poland (3rd-runner up), and Slovenia (4th runner-up).
Other awards such as the Most Stylish Award and Mr. Photogenic went to Korea and Japan, while Colombia and Bahamas took home the Mr. Congeniality award and Best National Costume, respectively.
For the question and answer portion of the pageant, Perez was asked on his biggest disappointment in life.
He said: "Unang una, ang aking disappointment sa buhay ay 'yung hindi ko pag-galang sa magulang ko. Ngayon pinagsisihan ko ito dahil isang malaking bagay ang mahalin natin ang ating mga magulang dahil siya ang pangalawang utos ng Diyos para sa ating mga Katoliko."
Moments after winning, Perez was seen to have a made his way to the middle of the stage before performing what appears to be a soldier's salute.
Many netizens interpreted it as a tribute to the 44 slain police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Perez earlier dedicated his bid for the title to the killed Special Action Force members.