Three representatives of Mister Philippines Australia were sent to compete in the Misters 2015 Pageant held last 13 September at Resorts World Manila. Much to the dismay of the representatives’ supporters, issues such as the competition being rigged to favour candidates with clouts in the local scene were raised in the Melbourne-based Filipino community. Nonetheless, the three representatives Ari Kane, Rob Mcnamara and Daniel Polbrat were all good sports and considered the recently held pageant a learning experience despite the controversies circling among their supporters and family members.
In a statement released to The Philippine Times by Daniel Polbrat, he expressed his shock when Rob Mcnamara, a clear frontrunner, did not make it to the Top 15. “We all expected more but in the end I knew only one Australian would progress through as they would take the best of the best to the Top 10.” But Polbrat was quick to note that he came to the competition with an open mind and even served as an inspiration to some candidates for his brotherly demeanor. Polbrat was awarded 2nd runner up for the Sponsor’s Award, Mister Teceruma.
The issue lies, however, in Ari Kane’s advancement to the Top 15 and subsequently to the Top 10. As a third addition to the roster of Mister Philippines Australia delegates, Kane was sent by the National Director of Mister Philippines Australia as Mister Victoria backed by the Western Union’s Sponsor Choice Award. A family friend came to Ari’s defense stating that they did not use their connections in the Philippines to get him a spot in the Top 10, and that the Misters pageant is a professional competition that gives equal opportunities to its contestants.
Rob Mcnamara, the titleholder of Mister Philippines Australia and the supposed sole representative, was well received by the Filipino crowd in both the Manila and the Davao leg of the pageant. He was awarded Mister Overseas 2015.
Gina Tolentino, Chairperson of Mister Philippines Australia, said that the pageant “served as a learning process not only for us, officers of the Mister Philippines Australia, but also to the people who were there. It was an amazing opportunity to be a part of the Team Australia.” She also added, “Though we did not claim all the titles, all our representatives from Team Australia gained so much more than anything you can think of and that is friendship.”
For the upcoming Mister Philippines Australia 2015 to be held on 24 October 2015 at the Moonlight Reception in Fitzroy, Tolentino advised would-be contestants to “never fall through” and to “maintain the momentum and develop more what you have” while remaining “humble and wise”. At the end of the day, she noted, it is the judges’ decision that would prevail despite the high expectations one might hold for their favoured candidates.
Controversies aside, the three representatives enjoyed the experience and considered it a successful feat in breaking out of their shells, all the while developing a sense of brotherhood not only amongst themselves but also with other international contestants. The local community is yet to find out the new roster of delegates to next year’s Misters pageant, keeping in mind that this year’s choices are equally deserving of their titles as Mister Philippines Australia representatives.