Today is my birthday. And everytime the calendar hits August 11, I always find time to recollect on things and events that have happened the past year.
Two significant – momentous if you will – events took place from August 11, 2015 to August 10, 2016 that gave me a deep sense of pride in two different ways. First, there was the much-awaited victory of Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach that brought the Filipino nation its 3rd Miss Universe crown. It’s like winning the Olympic Gold many times over if you ask me. If we can’t hit the highest medal in the biggest sports competition ever, then might as well snatch the crown in the biggest beauty pageant ever created. If we can’t let our brawns rule the Universe, then might as well be honored for our beauty and charm and outstanding resilience as a pageant-loving country.And then there’s Gentlemen of the Philippines. Along with Senior Partners Precious Anne Medina, Michael Davantes and Salde Singo, we conceptualized a male pageant that will be different. If the majority would go for the show of skin and abs, then we decided to push the envelope further by factoring in the career and advocacies of young men around the country.
Personally, I look at Gentlemen of the Philippines as my legacy in the industry I love the most and which has loved me back in several folds. The female pageant field has been saturated to the max and I can no longer go against the grain of institutions like Bb. Pilipinas or Mutya ng Pilipinas or the younger groups behind Miss World Philippines and Miss Philippines Earth. The category has been oversupplied even if the demands grow only in an off-kilter fashion. There is nothing much I can do to outshadow their efforts, unless my only ambition is to be deemed one of the smaller wannabes.
So I have spent a good amount of the past year spreading my wings and forging ahead with what I envision as the new face of male pageantry. The competition remains strong, but to dare to make a difference is something that brings out the adrenaline rush in me. I know that there were days when my daily blogging has become inconsistent in terms of quantity. But don’t let that drive you to the conclusion that I have grown tired of my multiple subjects everyday. It’s just that the physical toils are just too demanding that multi-tasking is the only way to go.
The timeline could not have been more punishing. The inception of the male pageant started October last year, with constant plannings and meetings heavily dotting the weeks and months after that. I spent the Holidays squeezing all the creative juices inside my head and building contacts along the way. We launched everything late February 2016, simultaneous with the recruitment of candidates that made me appreciate local tourism even more. Up until late June, we were completing the line-up. And by the start of July, everything started to take shape. By the 31st of last month, we were able to mount the finals leading to an exciting announcement of winners who comprise the newest Gentlemen of the Philippines to shake up the different international male competitions abroad.
The past year has been my most spartan ever. I lived a life that is considered austere to some, deadly to most. I averaged only 3-4 hours of sleep every night, adjusting my body clock to a 3am bedtime and a 7am wake-up call. But I never complained. I embraced the sacrifices and the knee-weakening days & disappointments with all the passion I can muster. And in building the Gentlemen of the Philippines brand with the whole team behind Gentlemen Charities Incorporated (GCI), I have learned to take in all the small victories and make them the shining armors that built up my confidence in continuing with the legacy.
By now, the fruits of our hard labor are starting to get ripe. And in due time, the harvest will be enriching in all aspects. Because nothing beats starting a big endeavour with all the good intentions tucked in. The road may not be the smoothest, but the ride will be at its most fulfilling.
Here’s to a more glorious string of 365 days in my life! 😀