Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Erik Visser captures Mr. Universe Tourism 2023 crown

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Three years after winning the title of Ginoong Pilipinas 2019 where he represented Cebu City, Erik Lennart Visser, 24, emerged victorious at his long-delayed international assignment as he was crowned Mr. Universe Tourism 2023 in Bali, Indonesia on March 19.

The Filipino-Dutch model, property manager, and licensed pilot bested seven candidates, with Vietnam’s Hu?nh Võ Hoàng Son as his first runner-up, and Spain’s Francisco Jose Merida Moyano as second runner-up. The rest of the candidates were representatives from Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Canada, and Indonesia.

Managed by Dexter Alazas through his agency Admire Models Philippines, Visser was supposed to compete abroad in 2020 before the pandemic hit.

During the coronation night’s Q&A segment, Visser was asked what he can do to improve tourism in his country.

“When staying here in Bali, I learned so many things. After being home for so long in my beautiful country, the Philippines, I learned that there are ways to promote tourism more than what we have to offer. For example in Bali, it is hosting Mr. Universe Tourism 2023 together with the tourism officials of Indonesia. That’s something that we can bring to the Philippines,” said Visser, who was also awarded Best in Formal Wear.

“We have to understand that the help of foreigners, tourists, can help promote the Philippines in so many ways. It can help the economy, it can help the people, and it can help the country as a whole. One thing that I would help the tourism in my country is to follow the footsteps of successful tourist destinations such as the beautiful island of Gods, the island of a thousand temples – Bali.”

Visser’s national costume was a Sarimanok-inspired ensemble designed by Alazas. He had told The FREEMAN that the costume is meant to make Visser the “Sarimanok” himself, with recycled materials such as strips of plastic and fabrics from Argao, Cebu that were woven into the costume. Its use of recycled materials reflects the competition’s message of promoting sustainable tourism by placing the Philippines as a valuable spot, as well as being a symbol of Visser’s bi-racial identity.

Immediately after his win, Visser thanked his supporters through a social media post. “I am so eternally grateful to each and one of you, all your comments, all your support, all the people and the team who helped me claim this crown…we did it together!”

“For now, I am ecstatic, grateful, and a little bit tired. [But] from the bottom of my heart, Philippines, thank you! This is for you!”


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