Freeman Cebu Entertainment

3 from Cebu to vie for Man of the Philippines 2024 crown

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman
3 from Cebu to vie for Man of the Philippines 2024 crown
(L-R): Second runner-up Edward Matthew De Leon, Man of the Philippines-Cebu 2024 Integrity Adrian Matthew Cortes, Man of the Philippines-Cebu 2024 Nationalism Carl Matthew Yuson, Man of the Philippines-Cebu 2024 Advocacy Sharuen Hafeel, and first-runner up Jhun Lloyd Villagracia / photo from Man of the Philippines-Cebu Facebook

CEBU, Philippines — Carl Matthew Yuson, an 18-year-old Pharmacy student from the University of San Carlos, clinched the main title of Man of the Philippines-Cebu Nationalism during the Man of the Philippines-Cebu finals held Sunday, February 18, at Iconique Mall Colon.

“I joined this pageant because of my advocacy, which is education equity,” Yuson, who was also named Best in Swimwear and Media’s Choice, tells The FREEMAN. “Education is a privilege in this country and it shouldn’t be. My purpose here is, I speak, and hopefully, it would do something for the country’s education.”

Named Man of the Philippines-Cebu 2024 Integrity was Information Technology major Adrian Matthew Cortes, 18.

“I had doubts that I would get picked as a candidate because I was insecure with my body, but integrity for me is how I handled myself on stage which is my confidence and my voice,” said Cortes, who was also recipient of the Best in Fun Wear award.

“I worked hard and many people have supported me, which I’m grateful for. Winning this title is so amazing and it defined me as a hard-working person. This is not the end because I will work hard ten times more because I want to represent Cebu well so we can be good candidates and hopefully win.”

Also nabbing a ticket to the nationals is 23-year-old Sharuen Hafeel, a Marine Transportation student from the University of the Visayas. Apart from the Man of the Philippines-Cebu 2024 Advocacy crown, the Fil-Arabian was likewise selected Best in Formal Wear and Best in Production Number.

After a motorcycle accident left him injured last year, Hafeel felt discouraged to join the pageant. But his girlfriend encouraged him to carry on. “She thinks I am at my prime, I am in the right age, right mind, right physique,” he shared.

The vehicle mishap led him to his current advocacy of health and wellness, saying, “I have been encouraging others to go to the gym and check their health.”

Man of the Philippines-Cebu Regional Director Gianne Paolo Anciano remarked of the winning trio: “These guys represent integrity, nationalism, and advocacy based on their characters. Since the beginning, I could tell who the top three might be and I am confident enough they will excel.”

First and second runners-up were Jhun Lloyd Villagracia, 20, and Edward Matthew De Leon, 17. Anciano said he will try to find spots for them in the finals so they can join the top three in Manila this March.

Proud to be Cebuano

Asked during the coronation night’s Q&A segment to name an aspect of Cebuano culture that he was proud of, Yuson replied, “Born and raised here in Cebu, I have taken to heart the culture of Sinulog. When I was a kid, growing up in Cebu helped me understand its culture and history. Every Sinulog, my mom and I would always go to celebrate because it’s one of the greatest traditions that Cebu has to offer. With its duality of being a fun festival, it has also the power to unify religion and people. With that, it helps me with great pride to be called a Cebuano.”

For Cortes, he would like to promote the best of what Cebu has to offer when asked how he will “use social media to showcase the beauty and uniqueness of Cebu to a global audience while staying true to its values and identity of Man of the Philippines-Cebu.”

“I’ll use social media platforms to showcase Cebu’s rich culture like the Sinulog Festival, Cebu’s rich infrastructure like CCLEX [Cebu–Cordova Link Expressway], the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu, and rich food like the lechon and chicharon,” he said.

“But above all that, I think the most important quality when it comes to being Cebuano is the Cebuanos’ heart. We can give people the love that they need and embrace them with open arms. These are the qualities that I can show to the world and the national stage because I can probably say that we are not just a Cebuano, but we are THE Cebuano.”

Hafeel, during his turn, was asked if pageants remain relevant. “Pageants, in my opinion, are still relevant today. Pageants, man or woman on stage, display graces, abilities, and intelligence in the world where they are always battling for equality and recognition...celebrate various sizes, shapes, and origins, while advancing diversity and inclusivity as a celebration and opportunity for empowerment, rather than competition.”

One-month prep

The candidates, who only have a month to prepare for the finals, described feelings of nervousness, determination, and excitement.

“It’s Manila. It’s the nationals so I am excited about what’s going to happen and learn throughout the journey,” Yuson said.

“Feeling pressured since it’s one month, so I will be going to workshops to work on my communication skills,” shared Hafeel.

Cortes added, “I need that month to prepare my body so I can have a great physique for Manila. I hope the three of us will be good candidates. I hope one of us gets a title because I support these two the same way I support myself. I want us to be fully prepared when we join the nationals.” — (FREEMAN)

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