Junrey Balawing, 18, whose parents and siblings are normal-sized, stopped growing two months after birth and is still only 60cm tall, making him officially the shortest adult on the planet. Picture gallery
Two-foot-tall Filipino is world's shortest man
SINDANGAN // A poor Filipino blacksmith's son who is fractionally less than 60 centimetres (two feet) tall was declared the world's shortest man by Guinness World Records on his 18th birthday yesterday, sparking a celebration in his hometown.
The title was bestowed on Junrey Balawing in Sindangan in the southern Philippines, with his parents, villagers and officials showering the coastal town's newly famous resident with a feast of roasted pigs and seafood, cake, balloons and cash gifts.
Mr Balawing was measured at 23.59 inches, or 59.93 centimeters tall during the ceremony attended by about 100 villagers and journalists at the town hall.
The Guinness World Records representative, Craig Glenday, presented Mr Balawing with official recognition of his status as the shortest adult man in the world, with the framed certificate nearly reaching the ears of the recipient.
Mr Balawing, who wore a white shirt emblazoned with the Guinness seal, took over the title from Khagendra Thapa Magar of Nepal, who is 67 centimetres tall, Mr Glenday said.
Dozens of journalists descended on Sindangan, a fishing and farming town of 90,000 located about 730 kilometres south of Manila, to cover the event.
"Thank you,"Mr Balawing told the crowd in a local dialect, which was translated by his father, Reynaldo. Mr Balawing tried repeatedly before managing to blow out the candles on the cake and clapped heartily each time the crowd applauded. He was later heard saying "Kapoy", or "I'm tired".
Mr Balawing, who is about the size of a toddler and has a child's demeanour, needs to hold onto something to stand because of weak knees. He was photographed propping himself up with empty Coca-Cola bottles, which were taller than his waistline.
Mr Balawing's mother grew teary-eyed during the ceremony, saying she was happy with her son's instant fame.
Mr Glenday said he was struck by Balawing's lively personality and constant smile.
"Although he's short, he takes that in stride," Mr Glenday said. "He has this cheeky smile."
Aside from the Guinness certificate, the crown does not come with any cash award. Mr Glenday said he hopes the international fame will bring in gifts and donations, particularly medical supplies to ensure Mr Balawing's health.
Nobody could explain why Mr Balawing stopped growing two months after his birth, his father said, adding that he first walked with help from his parents when he was five years old.
The Sindangan vice-mayor, Bess Jagonio, a doctor, speculated that Mr Balawing may have had an endocrine or a birth-related defect.
Mr Balawing's brother and two sisters are all of average size.
His family said they tried to send Mr Balawing to school but withdrew him because his size was distracting for the other children.
Local officials got the idea of informing the Guinness records committee about Mr Balawing from journalists who learned about his size.