A BACOLODNON is gunning to bring home the crown of "Hari ng Pilipinas 2021." The spectacle is scheduled in October.

Joelito "JL Aspan" Orencio, Jr. will try to edge out 106 other gentlemen all over the country to make it to the first 32 cut on Thursday, September 9, 2021.

Orcenio, a junior high school teacher of a Chinese institution in Bacolod City, already joined and earned titles from prestigious pageants held in the past.

With his current participation in the Hari ng Pilipinas, he is trying to balance his job and preparation for the pageant.

"I should prepare my body, mind and spirit to take home the title as the first Hari ng Pilipinas 2021," the gentleman said as he showed optimism.

His Recollection

"For once in our lives, we got to experience a moment with great spectacle. We are part of the spotlight. We have the physical attractiveness, the grace to carry a brand, and choice of clothing [and] the smartness when we interact with people," he said.

"But those are not without challenges and hard work. Our character is being tested when the going gets tough and the tough get going," he added.

Orencio has been through this multitude of experiences. He has the looks and physique that are pleasing to others.

He experienced ups and downs when joining the pageant, but he managed to use these challenges to reach his greater goal, which is to become better, bolder and wiser.

"I started joining pageants when I was a college freshman at the University of Negros Occidental Recoletos-Bacolod in 2008. I am the College of Education representative to the university-wide search for the Mr. and Ms. Freshmen," Orencio said.

Though he failed to bag the title, he said he was beyond grateful for the experience and memories. The pageant itself taught him to build self-confidence and courage in facing the crowd and have fun by meeting new friends.

Among the pageants he had joined were Mr. Lakawon 2016, Mr. Western Visayas 2016 in Iloilo, where he landed as the 3rd runner-up, and Mr. Philippines 2017 held in Angeles City Pampanga.

He shared that there are advantages and disadvantages from engaging in pageantry.

The Covid-19 pandemic interrupted the holding of pageants and other events, however, Orencio used his time to learn other things.

"Aside from working as a full-time high school teacher, the pandemic allowed me to spend more time with family and myself. I work out at home every other day to strengthen and boost my immune system. I got a chance to enroll in online acting to improve my acting skills, too," he said.

He also contradicted then notion that pageants were only for women.

"I think the pageant is not only for girls, but it is also for men because it is a venue where we celebrate and showcase our uniqueness as a person. It recognizes a candidate's ability to advocate change. We can be the voice for the welfare of others. We can create an action that will have a positive impact on the world," he said.

Orencio added that joining a pageant can provide opportunities for growth and improvement to become a better person.

"It is also engaging to join pageants because one can experience how to connect with the multitude of people of varied characters. You can learn how to be confident and inspire others to make a difference in society," he stressed.

Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages, he said, since they are pre-judged and criticized by others because of difference. It causes a negative impact on the individual.

Nonetheless, these disadvantages could also become a reason for a person to stand up and be strong because they are fighting for their dreams and purpose in life.

He hopes to get the support of Bacolodnons as he aims to win the title.