Last year, Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions (CLIS) set out to find the Happiest Pinoy. A successful campaign that rekindled the values of optimism, resilience, and hope in the Filipino nation, the Search for the Happiest Pinoy brought forth many inspiring stories and exemplar citizens that truly evoke the spirit of patriotism. And after sifting through the entries, seven were shortlisted by the panel of judges.
The criteria seemed simple but were genuinely sincere. Just as CLIS highlights the positive things that come with obtaining quality and affordable insurance security, the Search for the Happiest Pinoy looked for Pinoys with an optimistic outlook in life, a cheerful disposition, the ability to rise above life’s challenges, and a positive impact in the lives of others.
Among the shortlisted Pinoys is Maria Kathrina L. Yarza. Even after being diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a rare cancer that affects the nervous system, she still carries her winning smile like a medal. Yarza, despite being on a wheelchair all the time, was able to establish a fund-raising project, Help My Ear Hear, to support others who have hearing disabilities. She also solicits help for patients in the Philippine General Hospital’s pediatric ward.
Another finalist is Caloocan Rotary Club president Gerardo Gamez. From a high school student selling newspapers to earn his keep, Gamez was able to finish college through a scholarship and move forward in life. Even with one arm amputated, he was able to excel in sales because of his product demonstrations. Truly a sign of hope, Gamez was able to put up a firm that generated jobs for high school graduates and helped them succeed in life.
The rest of the finalists include Rex A. Bernardo, Nona David Andaya-Castillo, Celestino Habito, Carolina Reyes, and Winston A. Maxino. Each has their own unique stories behind their smiles.
Judging the contest will be a panel cut from different sectors of society. CLIS has chosen experts in the different fields to find out who among the seven is the Happiest Pinoy. The judges included are esteemed personalities from different fields such as the academe, government, business, entertainment, and media, namely: University of the Philippines President Dr. Emerlinda Roman, Asian Institute of Management Dean Prof. Victoria Licuanan, Gawad Kalinga Chairman Antonio Meloto, former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca, Brahma Kumaris Chairperson Rebecca Ortega, Environmental Heroism Awardee Timmy Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer Chairperson Marixi R. Prieto, and PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies Chief Administrative Officer Jose Miguel Jimenez.
The Search for the Happiest Pinoy awarded its winner with a cash prize of PhP200,000 and spearheaded CLIS’ thrust towards giving Filipinos quality and affordable insurance.