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'Gwapulis' is the face of 'toughest Pinoy' search.

PO2 Mariano Perez Flormata Jr., better known as Neil Perez or 'Mr. Gwapulis,' is thankful for the opportunities that have resulted from his Mr. International victory two years ago.

'Now that people know who I am and look up to me, it gives me a chance to promote fitness and healthy living for the Philippine National Police,' Perez told the Inquirer before a press conference in Makati City on Tuesday. He has been chosen to represent cable channel Kix's campaign for the 'R U Tough Enough? (RUTE)' competition-a search for the 'Toughest Filipino' through various physical challenges. Last year, the campaign representative was actor-model Daniel Matsunaga.

'As the ambassador for RUTE, I get to inspire people to improve their fitness,' the bomb-and-explosives technician said. The grand prize winner will be awarded P250,000, aside from the 'Toughest Pinoy' title (details at

Perez is also elated that other cops have begun pursuing modeling careers apart from being law enforcers. 'I'm happy-since I won Mr. International, other policemen have joined male pageants,' he enthused.

But he added that he'd like them to try out for the skill-based contest he is currently promoting: 'What I would really like is to inspire my comrades in elite units to join RUTE. I am with the Special Operations Unit, and we compete regularly with the Marines, the Special Action Force and other elite units in the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It would be nice if one of us could join because my associates are tough, fit and disciplined.'

Perez is mum on police-related controversies and drug-related encounters that are becoming commonplace, as such incidents, he said, are currently being investigated in the 'correct forum.' 'If the findings indicate that Philippine laws have been broken, though, then those responsible for breaking them should be held accountable,' he stressed.

Counting action star Robin Padilla and boxer Manny Pacquiao among his idols, the cop-model said that he's glad to inspire supporters of his own. 'I have young fans who aspire to be policemen like me,' he shared.

Following in his footsteps, however, requires focus. Perez sticks to a strict exercise regimen and a healthy diet.

'Every morning without fail, I do a routine that includes simple exercises like push-ups and sit-ups, in case I'm too busy to go to the gym,' he said. 'But on days that I can, I spend between one to three hours [to work out] at the nearest gym. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, but also consume high-protein food like chicken and beef.'

As for the future, the 'Gwapulis' revealed that he is currently 'unavailable' and sees himself starting a family, eventually.

'Yes, I have a girlfriend, and we have been a couple for a long time. We were ready to get married, but when Mr. International happened, we decided to postpone it so I could 'strike while the iron is hot,' and save up some money for our future!'

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Aug 26, 2016
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