Fri, Oct 14, 2011 - Page 5 News List

Fan of Superman takes adulation to new heights

Reuters, CALAMBA CITY, Philippines

Herbert Chavez poses with his life-sized Superman statues inside his home in Calamba City, Philippines, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Filipino designer Herbert Chavez has taken his love for Superman up, up and away, undergoing cosmetic surgery to look like the Man of Steel.

For more than a decade, the 35-year-old Chavez has undergone a series of procedures that have made his nose higher and slimmed down his thighs. He has had surgery on his cheeks, lips and chin and injections to whiten his skin.

“Superman is my idol. I want to look like him,” Chavez said. “That’s why I copied his nose and the proportion of Superman’s face.”

Once a typical-looking Filipino, Chavez now has the firm-jawed face of Clark Kent.

A curl of black hair falls on his forehead and he occasionally sports the thick, black glasses of his idol’s nerdier incarnation, mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent.

He is planning an operation that will give him a more muscular abdomen and is looking at specialized surgery in Japan that will insert metal in his legs to make him taller.

He has designed his own Superman costumes.

His admiration began when he was a child and watched Superman lifting a stack of cars on the big screen. He later began collecting Superman memorabilia, amassing a huge collection over the years.

Now his house is packed with Superman cups, bed spreads, action figures and life-size Superman statues.

Just like Superman, Chavez has two identities, working during the day as a dress designer and pageant trainer. His Superman persona comes to life after work.

People in Calamba, south of Manila, refer to him as the “village superman.” Children play with him when they see him in the streets.

“It’s ridiculous when you look at it, but it’s a source of happiness for the children. They don’t see, or they forget, the problems facing our world,” resident Filipe Rabanan said.

Others said he teaches children good values as well as entertaining them.

“If the children are happy, then I’m happy as well. The children are enjoying it,” Boyet Mamino said.

Chavez says doing good deeds is what makes a hero — a lesson worth teaching children.

“We should show them that even if you’re just a regular father or mother, anybody can become a superhero,” he said. “Doing good to someone, to your neighborhood or to your social life, that makes you a superhero.”

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