Despite suffering from Ankylosing Spondylitis (a degenerative bone condition that requires the patient to take daily pain reliever) and having a daughter with Down Syndrome, Winston A. Maxino was chosen the "Happiest Pinoy" out of the seven finalists at the Intercontinental Hotel, Makati City on the night of February 17, 2010.
|Touchlife Express Balita - Happiest Pinoy|
Ambassador Philippe J Lhuillier and Mr. Jean Henri D. Lhuillier, President & CEO of PJ Lhuiller Group of Companies presented the Happiest Pinoy Citation and the replica of the P200,000 prize to Mr. Maxino.
In his acceptance message, Mr. Maxino quoted St. Augustine who wrote that happiness is "rejoicing in the truth.” Then, he added: “Buddha taught that life is suffering. If we combine the two ideas, happiness is rejoicing even if the reality of our lives is that we are suffering.”
Cebuana Lhuiller Insurance Solutions (CLIS) first embarked on a search for the Happiest Pinoy on May 5, 2009 to recognize and celebrate the Filipino’s optimism, resilience and hope, even in the midst of all uncertainties and difficult circumstances. After sifting through 218 nominations from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, seven finalists were short listed by the panel of judges composed of Dr. Emerlinda Roman (U.P. President), Dean Victoria Lucuanan (Asian Institute of Management), Antonio Meloto (Chairman, Gawad Kalinga), Gov. Grace Padaca (Isabela), Rebecca Ortega (Chairperson, Brahma Kumaris), Timmy Cruz (Environmental Heroism Awardee), Marixi R. Prieto (Chairperson, Philippine Daily Inquirer) and Jose Miguel Jimenez (Chief Adm. Officer, PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies).
Mr. Efren Peñaflorida, Jr., 2009 CNN Hero of the Year, fittingly gave an upbeat keynote address that was well-applauded in the standing-room only Grand Ballroom of Intercontinental Hotel.
Mr. Larry Hinares, a great writer and columnist whom I admire, graced the occasion. He commented that any of other 6 finalists could just as well be the happiest Pinoy. It was really that difficult to select the “best from the very best.” Each of the six other finalists — Rex Bernardo, Nona David-Castillo, Celestino Habito, Gerardo Gamez, Carolina Reyes and Maria Kathrina Yarza—received P25,000 and a plaque of recognition.
The masters of ceromonies, Mr. Jonathan Batangan, General Manager of CLIS and Ms. Donita Rose, orchestrated the flow of the awards night smoothly, interspersed with their good sense of humor.
(A print coverage of the event will be published in the Touchlife Express Balita February 19-25, 2010 issue.)
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