KAPANGAN muscle man Julfort Pablo bucked the cold weather and lack of finances for his trip to Hamburg, Germany to land 9th over-all in the medium division of the NAC Miss and Mister Universe 2009.

He, however, failed to win the coveted Mr. Universe 2009 over-all crown but nonetheless made his country and Benguet proud for his outstanding feat.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Out of 23 posers, Pablo, who together with six other representatives from the country, landed ninth in the medium men’s category December 2 to 7.

“I’m very thankful to all those who have given financial support for my trip, including my friends, relatives and my supportive wife,” said Pablo.

Pablo later on paired with Ms. Philippines 2009 Luzviminda Mcclinton and later went on to win fourth place over-all in the couples division where fellow Filipino’s Michelle Cruz and Roderick Ternida landing third place.

“I just focused on my game plan. I gave my all but [I] still fell short,” said Pablo of his first international stint. He endured a strict diet during his two month training where he only ate eat tuna and chicken breast.

Pablo never felt nervous during the competition but he had to endure the cold weather while away from his wife and his nine month old son.

Pablo got into body building after drawing inspiration from his cousin Mike Tio-tio, a former body building champion who also won a title in Kuwait and who is now an international gym instructor.

“Posing for judges is harder than the training. There’s a lot of pressure and you have to make sure every pose is the best it can possibly be,” added the Anthurium farmer who now resides in Shilan, La Trinidad, Benguet where he takes care of his son John Lincoln.

“It was a good experience for me because despite the height advantage of my rivals, I was able to land ninth,” added Pablo.

But all is not lost for Pablo, who said he is aiming for a another possible stint in the 2010 bodybuilding competition but this time on the Master’s 1 division dedicated to competitors aged 40 and above as he is set to turn 40 next year.

“I hope I can join the contest again and I will prepare really hard for it,” said the body builder also known as Conan of Kapangan.

It was a happy experience indeed for the Anthurium farmer saying he had fun during the competition.

And with Pablo making it to the international competition, Mr. Philippines’ Eric Salvador, who also hails from Kapangan is optimistic this will open the floodgates for body builders from the municipality to join future competitions, locally and internationally.

“I hope we could find more Julfort Pablos in our municipality,” added Salvador.

“Right now, most of the body building competitions in the locality are being dominated by body builders from Kapangan,” the former Mr. Philippines 1999 crown holder said. (Roderick Osis)