I've had 19 operations to look like Superman!

Published Tuesday, Oct 8 2013, 06:00 BST  |  By  |  2 comments
Herbert Chavez, 35, has spent nearly £5,000 to look like his favourite superhero

While many men dream of having superhuman powers, Herbert Chavez has taken it one step further.

The 35-year-old is such a super-fan of Superman that he's spent 14 years turning himself into the comic book character. Now, after 19 painful cosmetic procedures, he's more man of plastic than Man Of Steel, but the resemblance is uncanny.

Herbert even owns his own red and blue Superman outfit, complete with cape, and causes a sensation when he takes to the streets near his home in Calamba City in the Philippines, where he is known locally as the Filipino Superman.

Herbert has had 19 ops to look like Superman

© Barcroft India

Herbert has had 19 ops to look like Superman

Herbert's obsession began after watching The Adventures Of Superman on television as a young boy. "Superman has been my idol since I was five years old," he explains. "I told myself that when I grew up, I wanted to be just like him."

A few years later he was dressing up as his hero as part of an act in a local circus. But wearing a costume wasn't enough – Herbert wanted to look exactly like him.

"I wanted his perfect chiselled chin and amazing pecs but I thought the only way to do it would be to have surgery," he says. "So I saved as much money as I could and when I was 21, I had enough to start."

Over the following 14 years, Herbert had a nose job, jaw realignment, pectoral implants and even abdominal implants.

"Every now and then I have to undergo 'maintenance' surgeries to correct things," says Herbert. "My cleft chin is made of hydrogel, but it doesn't always look right. When it's hot or I'm dehydrated, it shrinks so I have to keep adding to it."

Herbert has also had liposuction and whitens his skin. In total he's spent £4,400, which is considered a fortune in the Philippines, where the average hourly wage is just 90p.

Herbert before he had any surgery

© Barcroft India

Herbert before he had any surgery

But, unlike his hero, mild-mannered Herbert is not out to bring criminals to justice – he's actually a full-time dressmaker. His wardrobe is over-flowing with Superman costumes, most of which he has made himself.

Even his home is bulging with Superman stuff and Herbert holds the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of Superman memorabilia with 1,253 items.

"I've already had to move home because I needed a bigger space for my collection," explains Herbert. "But I'm not going to stop until I've got 10,000 pieces."

Herbert might not be saving the world but he says he wants to use his surgically enhanced looks to teach children about having good morals.

"I feel like a hero whenever I pull on the costume but I know I can't save the whole world," he says. "Instead, I want to help in a small way and bring a smile to the faces of local children."

Even though he's a local celebrity, Herbert is single and hopes to meet a partner who shares his love of Superman. That's after he improves his look with even more surgery.

"Everything that has happened in my life has been positive because of Superman. When my body tells me it can't take any more or when my doctor says I can't handle it, then I will stop. But until then – the sky is the limit."

By Jemma Gillard