MANILA, Philippines - When in uniform, he is simply PO2 Mariano Flormata Jr., a bomb disposal expert. Without his police attire, he is one of the country's "hottest" men.
The 29-year-old Flormata, a.k.a. Neil Perez, won the top spot in Sunday night's pageant in Makati City, walking home with the title of Mister International.
"It's like a long dream and I haven't woken up to reality yet," the bomb technician assigned to the Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup) said in an interview.
"I still find it hard to believe. It's like I am still floating in happiness."
The 1.8-meter (5-foot-11) Flormata bested 25 other candidates and won the top spot during the Misters of the Philippines contest at the Grand Theater at the University of Makati.
Aside from the Mister International title, the bachelor cop won special awards, such as Mister Unisilver, Mister Informatics, Mister Photogenic and Mister Swimsuit.
The lone cop
Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, the Philippine National Police spokesperson, congratulated Flormata for his feat, particularly for his special advocacy to stay fit and healthy.
"We are proud of him and wish him luck in his future endeavours," Sindac said on Monday.
Flormata was the only policeman to join the contest, winning fame for his chiseled frame and dashing good looks.
A criminology graduate of Manuel L. Quezon University, Flormata became a member of the PNP Avsegroup in 2008, first joining the special reaction unit until he was designated as a bomb technician at Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
'Crazy for You'
Aside from Flormata, the other winners of the competition were first runner-up Nicko de la Cruz, Mister Tourism International Judah Cohen, Mister Model International Adam Davis and Mister Global Philippines Joseph Doruelo.
The policeman represented the PNP and his Tondo, Manila, community in the tilt.
Like the pageants for women, the Misters of the Philippines competition featured swimwear and formal wear contests, and included question-and-answer and talent portions. The entries also wore festival costumes.
In the talent portion, Flormata sang "Crazy for You" while playing the guitar.