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MANILA, Philippines – Since news surfaced that a police officer was joining the Misters of the Philippines pageant, Neil Perez found himself becoming a popular figure online.
At the recently held finals night, the 29-year-old cop was given the title of Mister Philippines International, in addition to other awards, including Most Photogenic and Best in Swimwear.
There was a moment when audiences waited with bated breath, as Neil’s name was last to be called as part of the top 9.
In the question and answer portion, Neil was asked, “How do you define happiness?”
This was his answer: “Happiness is the most important word in my life kasi (because) being with my family is the greatest happiness, moment in my life and i believe that being with your family… will help me more happy and strong.”
26 candidates representing areas all over the Philippines competed in the male pageant.
Neil is set to represent the country in the Mister International pageant scheduled in Seoul, South Korea, in October. According to Neil, he still has yet to seek permission from the Philippine National Police, since his leave was only for the local pageant.
Here are photos from the pageant held Sunday, September 7:
All photos by Mark Cristino/Rappler