updated 29 May 2013, 14:22
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Wed, Mar 27, 2013
The New Paper
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Hot 'old' man
by Catherine Robert

At just a year shy of 30, he's considered old in the modelling world.

But it didn't stop June Macasaet from bagging the Manhunt International 2012 title, making him the oldest winner in Manhunt International history.

The Filipino, who beat 52 contestants to the pageant's 16th sash in Bangkok, Thailand, last November, was in town recently for a short holiday and to catch up with his friend, Manhunt Singapore 2012 winner Jason Chee.

Macasaet told The New Paper that he is not overly concerned about his age.

"Now that I hold the title, it shouldn't be too big of a barrier," he said.

"In New York and Europe, they use models who are around my age for important shows."

During the pre-competition briefings, it was his memory power that worried him.

"Hey Philippines, what are you doing? Are you doing your assignment?" the other contestants would jibe when they saw him religiously taking notes.

"It totally helped me win because it's not easy remembering everything they said," said Macasaet.

"By the end of a briefing, I would have two pages' worth of notes and yet I still couldn't fully understand what they wanted.

"What more if I didn't take notes?"

At 1.83m, Macasaet was the shortest of the top five winners in the worldwide pageant last year.

First runner-up was Peter Bo Jonsson from Sweden, followed by Martin Wang from Macau, Jimmy Perez Rivera from Puerto Rico and Jason Chee from Singapore.

Life has changed drastically for Macasaet, a former Class A model.

Class A means a model is good enough to be on the runway for renowned brands like Levi's and Oakley, which he had done.

These days, Macasaet can be seen on billboards, the face for a wide range of products from Robinsons Bank to Papaya soap to Philippines' most popular Chinese wine Vino Kulafu.

"It's easier now that I've got a year's supply of soap," he joked.

"But seriously, I'm earning a lot more and it's great that I am able to help my family live better."


Glamour, fame and a very busy career do not take this hunk's mind off his family in Batangas, a province in the Philippines.

He said: "Winning the title doesn't change my perspective on life.

"I still want to help others. Sometimes I would help feed the kids in poor orphanages and of course help my family back home."

Macasaet is the oldest of four children. He has a sister, 27, and two brothers, aged 25 and 23.

Although Batangas' average annual income is the highest among the six provinces according to the Philippines' National Statistical Coordination Board, Macasaet and his family were an exception.

"When I was younger, every day was a problem for me," Macasaet said.

"I always worried, 'What will I eat today?' and 'What will I eat tomorrow?', and I had three siblings to look after. My parents were not rich."

His mother was a nurse in Belgium and his father had a small poultry business.

Macasaet's family's finances improved after he won the Manhunt International title and the demand for him to host and act in TV shows in the Philippines started rolling in.

But even as he explores his new life, he still thinks about his family and always ensures that he is home at every month to see his niece.

The little girl, Reign, has been in and out of the hospital due to health issues since she was born in January 2011 to Macasaet's sister, who is a single mum.

"My sister had a child two years ago and the biological father ran off," he said.

"I have taken on the fatherly role to my niece.

"Before I won the title, my niece, who was a couple months shy of turning two, had to undergo surgery to remove her left ovary after a cyst was discovered.

"We struggled to pay the medical bills, but we managed to scrape through.

"The doctors don't know what the condition is exactly. They are still studying it."

The total cost for the surgery was 200,000 peso (S$6,110) - and that was after the family sought services from the local government hospital.

In late December last year, Macasaet and his family was told that Reign has a tumour in the same area.

"I'm a very positive person and so is my family," said Macasaet.

"I'm sure she will be better, I have no doubt about that.

"I was actually supposed to be in Singapore for work for three months, but I told my manager that I have to be home because my niece needs me there.

"I need to support her and look after her."

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