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HAPPY 10: Meet the Finalists Cebuana Lhuillier Search for the Happiest Pinoy

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” 
― Albert Camus

In an article I read it said “True happiness is enjoying your own company and living in peace and harmony with your body, mind and soul. True happiness is state of mind constantly being in love with yourself. For being truly happy you neither need other people nor materialistic things. “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort.

Last Friday, I met 10 people whose stories are probably some of the saddest and most heartbreaking ones I’ve heard in a while, and if not for the “Search for Happiest Pinoys” backdrop you’d think they’d be the last people who’d be happy with their lives.

But as the quote above said, “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort,” and these individuals have lived their lives not to be happy but to make others happy.

Cebuana Lhuillier Search for the Happiest Pinoy celebrates the values of optimism, resilience and hope as it aims to find a Filipino who has a positive outlook in life, was able to rise above life’s challenges and had a positive impact in the lives of others. 

The search aims to rekindle the values of optimism, resilience, and hope in Filipinos amidst different life crises and highlight the positive things that come with obtaining quality and affordable microfinancial security, peace of mind, and ultimately, happiness. 

The Search for the Happiest Pinoy aims to find a Filipino who has:

  1. Proven ability to rise above life’s challenges 
  2. Possesses a “Can Do!” attitude
  3. Has a positive impact in the lives of others: family members, community, etc.

After going through close to 800,000 applications in the last few months, the biggest edition of the Cebuana Lhuillier Search for the Happiest Pinoy has found its Happiest 10 representing their category.  

Khaye Celine Maggay (youth), Francisca Tumampil (senior citizens), Fortunato Januto (overseas Filipino workers), Rodrigo Roble Jr. (lingkod bayan), Zaldy Bueno (professionals), (manggagawang Pinoy), Mark David Cerezo (entrepreneurs), Alfred Santos (employees), Jayson Dela Fuente (persons with disabilities), and Leovy John Terrado (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community) will each receive P50,000 and will go through a panel interview to determine this year’s Happiest Pinoy grand winner who will take home P1 million tax-free. 

The panel of judges is led by Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya; Rock Education Project Inc. founder Gang Badoy Capati; Enterph co-founder and motivational speaker RJ Ledesma; TV host, journalist and online influencer James Deakin; TV host Love Anover-Lianko; The Apprentice Asia winner and JY Consultancy and Ventures founder and managing director Jonathan Yabut; and Search for the Happiest Pinoy previous grand winners Winston Maxino, Rommel Arellano, and Richardson Navor. 

The grand winner of the Search will be announced during the awards night on May 29, 2019 at New World Hotel. 

“Filipinos are one of the most resilient people in the world, facing life’s challenges with optimism, faith and a can-do attitude. At Cebuana Lhuillier, we believe that this should be recognized and encouraged at all times,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, Cebuana Lhuillier President & CEO.

Here are the Top 10 finalists of the 2019 Cebuana Lhuillier Search for the Happiest Pinoy

KHAYE CELINE MAGGAY (YOUTH): Khaye Celine is a 2nd year College Student from the University of Makati, she istaking up Bachelor of Science in Management Accounting. She was born with “Complex Syndactyly”, a condition of having incomplete fingers while the remaining fingers are joined together. Both of Khaye’s fingers have this condition and thus suffered bullying from her peers and classmates growing up.

FRANCISCA TUMAMPIL SENIOR CITIZEN: Francisca is married with 3 children (2 sons and 1 daughter), of which, the eldest is mentally disabled. Francisca didn’t give up on raising her son, this required a lot of patience and hard work -she would often multi-task: she would take care of the needs of her son, as well as be a great teacher. Francisca retired after 29 years of active service in the Department of Education Culture & Sports in 1996. As a service oriented person, Francisca continued to dabble in public service. She continued to work for the Senior Citizens in her community.

HERCULES SORINGA MANGGAGAWANG PINOY: Hercules is a father of two boys and one girl. His eldest daughter, Dhoanne Alyssa Soringa, 14 years old, is studying in Mandaue City Science High School. His second son, Hercules “Huggy” Hugred Soringa, was born with Congenital Heart disease and underwent three surgeries. His third son died because of Pulmonary Stenosis. Hercules’ story was featured in an MMK episode entitled “Alkansya”.

JAYSON DELA FUENTE PERSONS WITH DISABILITY: Jayson got polio very young because he was not vaccinated and his parents did not have enough knowledge about vaccines. Jayson graduated as the valedictorian of his high school beyond all their financial constraints added on top of his disability. He graduated last 2018 from his masteral degree at La Consolacion College in Bacolod with Cum Laude distinction. He is now pursuing his doctoral degree in Education.

FORTUNATO JANUTO OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKER: Fortunato was given the opportunity to work as a camp boss in a construction site inside a military camp in Tikrit, Iraq. Because of the ongoing war, he-along with other workers from the Philippines -entered Iraq via Kuwait and traveled 24 hours via land from Kuwait, risking their lives in the process. In 2006, he was finally able to go home in the Philippines following a long stay in Iraq.

Mark Cerezo the Rubberman and founder of Pinoy Malikhain

MARK DAVID CEREZO ENTREPRENEUR: Mark David founded the group called “Pinoy Malikhain” -an organization that gathers volunteers who are willing to serve street and abandoned children through arts, entertainment such as free puppet shows, adaptations of Batibot, etc. Pinoy Malikhain has continued to bring smiles and inspiration to children through the art that they do. Mark is also well-known for sharing his talent with others and Mark has already trained prodigies who will continue the legacy of Rubberman and Pinoy Malikhain in the future.

LEOVY JQHN TERRADO LGBTQ: Leovy John knew he was different but he chose to ignore it, , since he was the eldest in the family and the only son. He finished vocational Food & Beverage course, and immediately found employment at 15 years old at a ‘ bar where he stayed for three years before finally resigning buoyed by his desire to continue schooling. Currently serves as the family’s breadwinner after he returned home.

RODRIGO ROBLE JR. LINGKOD BAYAN: Rodrigo was born poor and experienced life’s struggles growing up, his ultimate goal was to finish college. His exceptional projects are, (1) the development of “Donation Drive ng Tubig” during the war in Marawi where he collected almost 8,000 liters of water equivalent to Php 140,000.00 with the help of Philippine Army, (2) organized “Pamaskong Handog para sa Kabataan”, where they share some toys, food, and a surprise magic show for indigent children and (3) development of ‘SW Spotted’ page where he shares social workers’ success stories. encouragement, and positivity

ZALDY BUENO PROFESSIONAL : At first, Zaldy wanted to be a broadcaster and not a teacher. He stopped his schooling and became the waiter of his school while his classmates continued their studies. He did sideline jobs, became a working student and her mother became his student in DepEd’s Alternative Learning System. Zaldy was able to buy a car, a tricycle, and a motorcycle form his hard-earned money. Zaldy got the most sought after award in the teaching field in his region.

ALFRED SANTOS ‘ EMPLOYEE: Alfred grew up poor, having to gather fruits and scraps to make a living. He would then peddle his products in his neighborhood, walking as far as 15 km at one time. He is now a marketing officer at OLM Institute and Skills Training Center for Allied Courses, Inc. He is also the company’s liaison officer for assessment center. Also, an OJT coordinator of the senior high school division of TESDA courses. Alfred was recently awarded as the Provincial and Regional TESDA Idol last August 2018 and received the Gintong Kabataan award from the Province of Bulacan.

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