Friday, May 31, 2019

Zaldy Bueno is Cebuana Lhuillier’s Happiest Pinoy 2019 Winner

Zaldy Bueno, a 37-year old teacher from Gumaca, Quezon was hailed as the 4th Happiest Pinoy, winning Cebuana Lhuillier’s Search for the Happiest Pinoy which honors and celebrates the Filipinos’ innate “optimism, resilience, and hope amidst different life crises.”

Zaldy bested nine (9) other finalists from different categories, winning one million cash and a trophy.

Zaldy volunteered as an ALS teacher and taught on weekends, he even had his mother as his student at one point and helped her finish her secondary education. Zaldy also co-founded project PADYAK in 2017, PADYAK stands for Pidal Apakan Dunong Yayaman, Asenso’y Kakamtan, which aims to provide bicycle units for students who could not afford to travel to school.

Zaldy Bueno's Winning Moment | Cebuana Lhuillier's Happiest Pinoy 2019

The project turned out huge with so many people donating new and used bicycle units from all over the Philippines even getting donations from OFWs abroad. This project drastically increased attendance for students at school for which their school received a perfect attendance award.

“I am very happy with the results of this year’s search -- with over 800,000 entries received through our branches, online, SMS, and walk-in entries. It’s been amazing to read the entries of the 10 finalists and Zaldy proves to be a worthy winner as his tale will definitely inspire countless people to push on despite life’s difficulties, Zaldy exemplifies the commendable Filipino spirit of rising up from your current predicament and using that as fuel to make a difference in the lives of others.” said Cebuana Lhuillier President and CEO, Jean Henri Lhuillier.

Happiest Pinoy 2019: 
Opening Remarks by Mr. Jean Henri Lhuillier

Currently, Bueno serves as the head teacher of the English department at the Gumaca National High School. As a kid, their family would often encounter financial difficulties, Zaldy would help his mom wash clothes for their neighbours and would get his daily allowance from selling vegetables he planted to augment the family income. Zaldy vowed to work hard and study hard in order to improve their life.

A turning point in Zaldy’s life was when typhoon Rosing hit in 1995 which completely obliterated their house, and forced to stay at the barangay health center. During clinic days, Zaldy and his family had to move their things on the street to accommodate the influx of patients.

El Gamma Penumbra - Tagumpay Nating Lahat

After graduating secondary school, Zaldy tried to get a college education but had to stop schooling due to financial constraints. In order to get back to school, he had to work two jobs, including stints at a tile store and as an advertiser scout for a local radio station. He finished college after 6 years.

Bueno is the fourth winner of the biennial search following Richardson Navor (2015), Rommel Arellano (2012), and Winston Maxino (2009).

Happiest Pinoy 2019: Top 10 Finalists

Happiest Pinoy 2019 by Cebuana Lhuillier:
Presentation of Top 10 Finalists

Happiest Pinoy 2019
Top 10 Finalists

Zaldy Bueno stopped his schooling and became a waiter in a restaurant near his school where his classmates usually go to. He went back to school later, becoming a working student. At first, Zaldy wanted to be a broadcaster, but instead, he chose to be a teacher, her mother even becoming his student in DepEd’s Alternative Learning System. Zaldy got the most sought after award in the teaching field and is the founder of PADYAK, providing bicycle units to less fortunate students who struggle to stay in school.

Hercules Soringa's story has been featured in MMK episode titled “Alkansya,” made him known as Tatay Hercules. He has three children, the second of which, Huggy, was born with Congenital Heart disease and underwent three surgeries, while the youngest one died because of pulmonary stenosis. Despite these challenges, he focused on the positive side of the situation and appreciated those people who helped him in fulfilling his role as a father. To give back to his community, he became a volunteer, helping Typhoon Yolanda victims in Tacloban and doing relief operations in Bohol. He also becomes a volunteer Reservist to the Philippine Airforce, willing to serve the countrymen in any form of calamities.

Rodrigo Roble Jr. struggled most of his life, coming from a poor family with barely enough to eat. In spite of this, he chose to become a Social Worker as his way to help those that are less fortunate. 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) the development of ‘SW Spotted’ page where he shares social workers’ success stories, encouragement, and positivity.

UP Singing Ambassadors - Musika/Awit medley

Mark David Cerezo is known as the Philippines ‘Rubberman’ who founded "Pinoy Malikhain" - an organization that gathers volunteers who are willing to serve street and abandoned children by transforming scrap rubber into toys, sculptures, puppets, and other forms of art. Mark wishes to bring smiles and inspiration to children by sharing his talent with others.

Jayson dela Fuente acquired polio when he was very young because he was not vaccinated. He graduated as the valedictorian in high school despite financial constraints and his disability. In 2018, he received his master’s degree from La Consolacion College in Bacolod with Cum Laude distinction. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Education.

Alfred Santos grew up poor. He would gather fruits and scraps, which he would peddle in his neighbourhood. One time, he walked as far as 15 km to sell. Now, he is a marketing officer and liaisons officer for a training center and an OJT coordinator of the senior high school division of TESDA courses. Alfred was recently named the Provincial and Regional TESDA Idol. He also received the Gintong Kabataan award from the Province of Bulacan.

UP Singing Ambassadors - Tagumpay Nating Lahat 

Similar to millions of Filipinos who believe that life abroad is for the better, Fortunato Januto left home and braved the deserts of Iraq in 2003 to provide for his family’s financial need. Because of the ongoing war, he—along with other workers from the Philippines — entered Iraq and traveled 24 hours via land from Kuwait, risking their lives in the process. In 2006, he was finally able to go back home to the Philippines.

Khaye Celine Maggay is a 2nd year College Student from the University of Makati. She is taking up Bachelor of Science in Management Accounting. At a very young age, Khaye Celine has fought her way through life. She has been constantly bullied by other kids for her disfigured hands and feet caused by a hereditary disease. Determined to rise above life’s challenges, she focuses on believing that life has something good to offer.

Francisca Tumampil is married with 3 children, one of which, the eldest, is PWD. Francisca didn’t give up on raising her PWD son, which required a lot of patience and hard work. She would juggle being a mother and being a great teacher. Francisca retired after 29 years of active service in the then Department of Education Culture & Sports (now DepEd) in 1996. Francisca continues to dabble in public service. She continued to work for the senior citizens in her community.

Leovy John Terrado knew about his sexual orientation at an early age, but he ignored this fact as he was the eldest in the family and the only son. At 15, he finished a vocational course on food and beverage and worked at a bar where he stayed for three years before finally resigning, as he desired to continue his studies. Currently, he serves as the family’s breadwinner by helping his sister on getting her college degree and also exploring work opportunities in order to lift his family from poverty.

Panel of Judges
The board of judges composed of Usec. Zenaida Maglaya, Gang Badoy Capati, James Deakin, RJ Ledesma, Love Anover-Lianko, Jonathan Yabut, Winston Maxino, Rommel Arellano, and Richardson Navor chose Bueno unanimously by virtue of his advocacy to see more children’s lives change through education. 

When asked what Bueno will do with the prize money, he shared that he will use it to further improve Project PADYAK by acquiring more bike units which more youths can use to get to school. He also shared that he will use a part of it to bring his parents to Singapore for a well-deserved vacation.

Breaking its own record, the Cebuana Lhuillier search received over 800,000 nominations this year, the most entries it received in its ten-year history.

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