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‘I Am Pogay’ winner is Mr. Gay World PH 2016

‘I Am Pogay’ winner is Mr. Gay World PH 2016

Photos courtesy of Jory Rivera & Joy Arguil

JOHN Fernandez Raspado, a 35-year-old, 6’2” online marketing entrepreneur and winner of I Am Pogay contest in ABS CBN’s noontime show “It’s Showtime!” in May 2014, won the coveted Mr. Gay World Philippines 2016 title in a sold-out finals show held at the UP Theater in Quezon City last Sunday.

The 4-hour show hosted by Paulo Bediones, Miss Earth 2008 Karla Henry and Mutya ng Pilipinas 2002 Kristine Caballero-Aplal started at around 9:00 pm Sunday night and concluded at past 1:00 am Sunday morning.

Raspado bested 35 other masculine-looking gay men from all over the country and succeeded last year’s titleholder and Mr. Gay World 2015 2nd runner-up Christian Lacsamana (who was Raspado’s runner-up in I Am Pogay).

Raspado was also greeted and awarded on stage by Mr. Gay World national director Wilbert Tolentino (who is also the first Mr. gay World Philippines in 2009) and Dieter Sapper, CEO of the Mr. Gay World Organization.

Raspado will vie for the Mr. Gay World Pageant in 2017.
Runners-up to Raspado were: John Bench T. Ortiz, 24, a dietician and fitness trainer from Tayug, Pangasinan, first; and Christian Khalil Gorospe Vera Cruz, 33, an advertising executive from Zamboanga del Sur, second.
Rounding up the final five were: John Jeffrey Carlos from Cavite and Leo Andrew Ponce from Nasugbu, Batangas.

The top pick to win the title from the start, Raspado nearly swept the special awards, winning 7 including Best National Costume, Photographers’ Choice and Best in Talent.
During the final question round, reigning Mr. Gay World Roger Gozalbez Pitaluga from Spain asked (on video) “What are the challenges facing the LGBT community in the Philippines?” Raspado essayed on the challenges of the Filipino LGBT community to break stereotypes and find acceptance and respect from everyone.

Raspado, who dedicated his victory to his brother suffered a stroke recently, won P200,000 in cash and about P300,000 worth of products and services from the pageant’s sponsors.
The contestants competed in spectacular costumes, swimwear and formal wear with the top 5 coming from earlier cuts of 15 semi-finalists and 10 finalists.

The celebrity panel of judges included Miss World 2nd Princess 1993 Ruffa Gutierrez, actress Lorna Tolentino, comedian John Lapuz, film director Mario J. de los Reyes, Mister International 2014 PO2 Neil Perez, Manhunt Philippines 2015 PO1 Don McGyver Cochico, Bb. Pilipinas-International 2015 Janicel Lubina and Bb. Pilipinas-Supranational 2015 Rogelie Catacutan, and Carousel Productions’ projects director Peachy Veneracion.

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