Herbert Chavez: Superfan to Superman, the extreme transformation

Filipino man Herbert Chavez wants to be just like comic book hero Superman, and has paid a lot of money to get there. Photo / Getty
Filipino man Herbert Chavez wants to be just like comic book hero Superman, and has paid a lot of money to get there. Photo / Getty

Filipino man Herbert Chavez, who calls himself Superman's biggest fan, has already undergone 26 painful plastic surgery procedures to transform his Asian face into a carbon copy of his idol.

"Superman has always been my obsession since I saw one of his movies at the age of four," Chavez tells EFE, as he stands surrounded by life-sized statues of one of the most popular superheroes in history.

In his modest residence, located in the province of Laguna, southwest of Manila, the famous "S" of Superman is visible everywhere, from the dining table to the shower curtain, glasses, plates, cups, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, shampoo and the bath mat.

"It has always been my dream to be like him and I have done everything possible to become like him," he explains, with a smile.

To achieve that, 39-year-old Chavez has subjected his body to intense and extreme medical treatments for almost two decades with the aim of transforming his bronze complexion and Asian features into those of the comic book character; an Occidental man with chiselled features, pale white skin and blue eyes.

Since 1998, Chavez has undergone surgery on the nose, lips, chin and hips - besides undergoing liposuction and skin whitening procedures - which give him a radically different appearance from the one he had prior to the procedures.But this has not been enough to satisfy Chavez.

He now wants to have lenses implanted to change his eye colour permanently to blue, and a leg lengthening procedure, which is known to be one of the most painful plastic surgeries.

"Pinoy Superman", as he is known in the Philippines, prefers not to talk about how much money he has spent on changing his appearance, saying that most of surgeries have been free, although in interviews with local media he has put the figure at around $US6000 (NZD$8797).

Chavez, who earns a living with several costume shops, has already entered the Guinness Book of Records for owning the largest collection of Superman memorabilia in the world with 1253 certified items. Chavez says that in reality he has around 5000.

However, his main goal in life is to show Filipinos the true meaning of being a superhero.

"I want to spread the message that we can all be superheroes, that all of us have that potential within," says Chavez.

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He is so convinced of his role as a superhero, that over the past year he believes he has been changing into a "real Superman".

"There have been certain incidents in my life which have made me realise that I'm a real Superman. For example, I'm almost 40 years old and I still have no wrinkles. Isn't it too much of a coincidence?" he exclaims.

"That is because I am Superman. At the moment I can't fly but to be a superhero it's not necessary to have super powers."


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