University of La Verne graduate Kapono Kobylanski won the title of Mr. Philippines USA in this year’s competition. Kapono, who majored in finance with a minor in speech communications, works as a financial analyst in Rancho Cucamonga.
Some University of La Verne graduates grow up to become doctors, lawyers and teachers while others grow up to become Mr. Philippines.
On July 20, Kapono Kobylanski, a 2005 University of La Verne graduate, won the sixth annual Ginoong Pilipinas (Mr. Philippines) U.S.A. title.
“Right when I won, and even now, it feels so surreal,” said Kobylanski, who graduated from La Verne with a degree in finance and a speech communications minor.
Kobylanski is Filipino, Hawaiian, Polish, Irish, Scottish, Portuguese, Chinese, American Indian, English and Spanish.
The competition, which follows the same basic rules of a pageant, took place at the Radisson Hotel in Los Angeles.
Kobylanski decided to compete in the pageant for four main reasons: to learn more about his culture and get back to his roots, to support humanitarian efforts, to gain self accomplishment and to be a part of the White Ribbon Campaign, a non-profit organization focused on ending violence against women.
The White Ribbon Campaign helped put on the Ginoong Philipinas event.
During his time at La Verne, Kobylanski was active in several groups, clubs and organizations on campus.
“He was very well known on campus,” said Mike Cordova, La Verne alumnus and one of Kobylanski’s little brothers in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
“Kapono was very involved and held many leadership positions,” Eugene Shang, associate director of housing, said. “He was very dedicated to the ULV community.”
Those who know Kapono describe him as an outgoing, energetic guy with a good head on his shoulders.
Kobylanski also competed in the Mr. ULV pageant while at La Verne, but feels that his modeling and acting are what really prepared him for the next level of competition.
Twenty-one men competed in the televised pageant, which was covered by over twenty different media outlets including U.S. Asian Wire, Asian Week and Philippine News.
The competition included five major categories: sportswear, Barong (an embroidered formal garment from the Philippines), swimwear, tuxedo and the interview.
Before the Barong event, the producer told us what to do to be our best,” Kobylanski said. “To win the event, it’s your face up, the Barong and your body sell themselves.”
“It seemed as if his personality and looks won him the competition,” Cordova said.
During the interview part of the competition, each contestant was asked one question concerning the White Ribbon Campaign.
Kobylanski’s question: How would he react if he overheard a male co-worker talking down to a woman in a work environment.
“Before they speak or act, they should think about how they would feel in that situation,” Kobylanski said when asked to sum up his response.
As the reigning Mr. Philippines, Kobylanski has been busy traveling to events such as the 15th Annual Pistahan Parade and Festival and the 18th Annual Prince Jonah Kuhio Ho’olaule’a Pacific Islands Festival, promoting the White Ribbon Campaign and providing Filipino America with a positive role model.
On top of all his new responsibilities, Kobylanski works as a financial analyst for First American Title Company.
He also recently began his own clothing company KKI and spends any free time modeling and acting.
“I’m so busy now,” Kobylanski said. “I didn’t have all of this before. I love it.”
Madison Steff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.