Text and graphics by Drew Francisco

All roads lead to the Smart Araneta Coliseum as 72 of the world’s most desirable men have gathered for another “Thrilla in Manila”, marking the first time in history that the pageant-crazy nation is hosting the Mr World competition.

This year’s contest has shaped up as one of, is not, the most competitive editions of the pageant ever. Surely, choosing who will succeed the reigning king Rohit Khandelwal will be a tough task.

Our panel of experts and correspondents sat down to discuss who among the contestants are most likely to emerge on top. After weeks of religiously covering the competition and observing the contestants, we present our Final Hot Picks.

Leading our Final list is Mexico’s Brian Faugier. This 25-year-old student and model is an easy pick for the title. He is one of the most consistent contestants since Day 1.

Not only is he handsome and photogenic (attested by the Mr World Photogenic title awarded to him during the Charity Gala), he is also one of the good speakers in this batch. One of the common denominators of former Mr World winners is that they are well-spoken and dedicated to the Miss World Organization’s causes, and Brian definitely fits that bill.

Brian wants to work with children who have down syndrome as he has sister who suffers from the same syndrome. Having the title will surely provide him an avenue to further his advocacy. It will be refreshing to see the reigning Mr and Miss World from the same country.

England’s Jack Heslewood has improved a lot since his stint in another pageant last year. This 27-year-old rocket scientist is a perfect fit in the Mr World system. He is a jack of all trades, managing to place in the Top 5 of both the Talent and Top Model round. It won’t be a surprise if he wins the first Mr World title for the homeland of the Mr and Miss World brand.

In third place is the host delegate, JB Saliba of the Philippines. The country is finally sending someone who won from a national competition and it is working well for the pageant-crazy nation. Just merely looking at the 26-year-old actor and model, you know he knows what the Mr World is looking for. JB is peaking at the right time and his Top 5 placement in the Top Model round is a sure boost of confidence.

In fourth place is South Africa’s Fezile Mkhize. This 28-year-old medical doctor secured himself a spot in the Top 12 after topping the Sports Challenge. But more than just the physical strength, he is also a charismatic speaker as he is also a TV presenter back home.

Rounding up the Top 5 is Dominican Republic’s Alejandro Martínez. The 26-year-old spinning instructor and actor effortlessly stands out in every event. No wonder he is in the Top 5 of the Top Model challenge. But what is most impressive is his gift of gab and heart for charity.

Also worth noting is the man who waited three long years to finally participate in Mr World. Brazil’s Carlos Franco, a 27-year-old actor and model, doesn’t only boasts of a handsome face and great body, but a big heart, too. In fact, he is an ambassador for the fight against leprosy in his country. Aside from that, he is insanely charismatic.

Check out the complete list below:

1 Mexico – Brian Faugier
2 England – Jack Heslewood
3 Philippines – JB Saliba
4 South Africa – Fezile Mkhize
5 Dominican Republic – Alejandro Martínez
6 Brazil – Carlos Franco
7 Ireland – Wayne Walsh
8 Thailand – Anakin Nontiprasit
9 Venezuela – Jorge Eduardo Núñez
10 Austria – Alberto Nodale
11 Nepal – Akshay Rayamajhi
12 Tonga – Mikaele Ahomana

13 Spain – Daniel Torres Moreno
14 Colombia – Daniel Castrillón
15 Lebanon – Jean-Paul Bitar
16 Czech Republic – Jakub Krauś
17 Indonesia – Radityo Wahyu
18 Kenya – Robert Budi
19 Puerto Rico – José Cotto
20 Nigeria – Nelson Enwerem
21 Netherlands – Ashley Karym Peternella
22 Canada – Alessandro Coward
23 Chile – Felipe Rojas
24 Northern Ireland – Adam Steenson
25 Italy – Marco d’Elia