MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): Two Filipino pageant contenders reaped honours in separate international competitions held just days apart in Indonesia and Vietnam earlier this week.
Dutch-Filipino Erik Lennart Visser from Cebu was crowned 2023 Mister Universe Tourism in ceremonies staged at the Bali Nusa Dua Theater in Bali, Indonesia, on March 19, inheriting the title from 2019 winner Surasak Muangkeaw of Thailand.
Meanwhile, college student Mariel Baltazar finished third in the first edition of the Miss Business Global pageant held in Dak Nong, Vietnam, on March 21. The crown went to host delegate Nguyen Thi Thao.
Visser waited years before seeing action in the international arena. He was crowned Ginoong Pilipinas in 2019 and was already anticipating to represent the country in the Mister Universe Tourism pageant, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Filipino organisers to postpone the global tilt.
The international male competition resumed this year with a field of eight delegates from different countries.
Visser was also proclaimed Best in Formal Wear. Best in Swimwear Francisco Jose Merida Moyano from Spain finished second in the competition, with Best in National Costume Huynh Vo Holang Son from Vietnam rounding up the top three finishers.
Baltazar had to wait at a much shorter time than Visser. She was presented to members of the local media in November last year, with the inaugural edition of the Miss Business Global pageant originally scheduled in December.
The international organisation postponed the competition and moved it to March. It attracted 17 aspirants from different countries. Joining Baltazar and Nguyen in the winning circle was first runner-up Alisa Miskovska from Latvia.
Baltazar also received the Miss Business Friendship Global award in the international competition.