At the Launch of Vogue Man, the Modern Filipino Gentleman Reintroduces Himself

Vogue Man June 2024 cover star Paolo Roldan and photographer Renzo Navarro with Vogue Man editor Danyl Geneciran. Photo by Kim Angela Santos

Chauffered in style by Lynk and Co., the Philippines’ best dressed men gathered for conversations and cocktails by Chivas Regal for a night of sophisticated youthful revelry

On Thursday evening, the men showed up to Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manila in a flurry of smartly tailored suits, distressed linens cut to asymmetrical lines, and crisp sets in a variety of fabrics. The hypothesis is clear: there is a growing audience of fashion-conscious Filipino men who seek sophisticated, high-quality content tailored to their interests and lifestyles. This sentiment is bass-boosted all throughout the Peak Bar asVogue Man Philippines launched its first issue by assembling Philippines’ most distinguished gentlemen across fashion, entertainment, and sports.

“Over the years, we’ve seen a remarkable evolution in men’s fashion driven by a growing demand for individuality and self-expression,” editor-in-chief for Vogue Man Philippines Danyl Geneciran says as he makes a toast. “For Vogue Man Philippines, we hope to reflect our vision and our commitment to spotlighting our local designers, artisans and visionaries who are shaping the creative industries in our country.”

Vogue Man Philippines editor Danyl Geneciran. Photo by Kim Angela Santos

The significance of embracing culture and diversity is an echo of Vogue Philippines’ deeply entrenched values, which were shared by guests. “Our country is such a melting pot of culture, and we have since become more open to sharing our culture and simultaneously take in trends from other countries,” model LA Aguinaldo says, reflecting on how Vogue Man poses an exciting frontier for men’s fashion in the Philippines. “It’s going to generate such a positive change within the mindset of how Filipino men dress, as well as create such a lifestyle of empowerment in fashion, art and culture.”

Joseph Bermudez at the Vogue Man launch party. Photo by Kim Angela Santos
Vogue Man Philippines cover star Paolo Roldan at the Vogue Man launch party. Photo by Kim Angela Santos

Fashion aside, conversations arose throughout the night about what truly makes a modern Filipino gentleman. To inaugural cover star Paolo Roldan, being caring is a deeply embedded trait in Filipino culture. “That’s the best way to describe a Filipino man,” Roldan says. “It starts with family, as Filipinos are very family-oriented people.” In a similar vein, Joseph Bermudez says the defining quality of a modern Filipino man must be respect. “Filipinos are brought up to respect everything: women, God, nature,” the photographer says. “You can’t be a modern Filipino gentleman without respect.”

Elijah Canlas. Photo by Kim Angela Santos
Zild Bentiez, Shaira Luna, and Bea Valdes. Photo by Kim Angela Santos

Huddled at the Chivas Regal bar, musician Zild Benitez, actor Elijah Canlas, and photographer Shaira Luna weigh in. Luna dotes on Benitez as the epitome of a gentleman, saying this quality shows up in how the musician maintains the welfare of his siblings. Fans of Benitez would be humored to know that in true-Zild fashion, his take on the modern gentleman is someone who “says good morning, every morning.” On a more serious note, Canlas says political correctness is integral to the essence of the modern Filipino man. “The modern Filipino man should not be sexist,” the actor says. “We should all aspire to treat everyone equally.”

Renz Reyes, Michael Macalos, and Prince Padilla. Photo by Kim Angela Santos
Nicolo Perez at the Vogue Man launch party. Photo by Kim Angela Santos

Unsurprisingly, the event gathered many of the country’s most exciting names in fashion design. Nicolo Perez reflects on his attitude towards menswear, expressing his joy in how men have become more open about experimenting with style. “When I’m designing, I try to think about how I can make menswear more interesting, because usually, it repetitive and boring,” Perez says. “I always think of how to differentiate my designs.”

For Prince Padilla, a curiosity for everything new drives him to create. “I think it’s important to have a curiosity in order to explore what’s ahead,” the designer and recent winner of the MEGA Young Designers Competition 2024 says. “Not only in menswear or fashion; I’m naturally curious about everything.”

Grae Fernandez at the Vogue Man launch party. Photo by Kim Angela Santos
Kurt Vicencio and Dinesh Mohnani. Photo by Kim Angela Santos

The energy throughout the night was vibrant and youthful, and the younger crop of modern Filipino gentlemen provide optimistic insights for the future. Actor Grae Fernandez emphasizes the benefits of learning in his journey as a modern man. “At 22, I’ve become a student of life,” Fernandez says. “You have to learn from everything and everyone. If you’re endlessly curious and you become well-versed in that, that’s what’s going to make you a sophisticated gentleman.”

Featured in May’s issue as one of the faces of Mindanao, Kurt Vicencio contemplates about men in society today, and how more Filipino men should aspire to be humble. “Our culture raises us to aspire to be dominant or strong for no reason,” the young model says. “It would be nice for men to aspire to be humble, kind, and have purpose.”

Misconceptions about a deep interest in fashion as a gendered concept has long gone. Men today are, and should be, concerned about fashion, lifestyle, and culture because these elements are essential to self-expression, personal development, and identity. Designer Renz Reyes says a decisive thoughtfulness and tuning into the feminine side is essential to unlocking what it truly means to be a modern Filipino gentleman. “We shouldn’t be shackled by the societal norms about masculinity,” Reyes adds.

Amidst various publications, Vogue Man positions itself as a manifesto for the contemporary Filipino man, serving not only as a guide to men’s fashion and lifestyle, but also as a means for Filipino men to foster deeper connections to their heritage and broaden their perspectives on both local and global cultures. Together, these aspects contribute to a well-rounded, sophisticated individual who is attuned to the world around him and capable of making meaningful contributions to his community and beyond.

So, what then, defines the modern Filipino gentleman? It is up for Vogue Man Philippines and its readers to decide.

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