The bi-annual Search for the Happiest Pinoy is an advocacy program and was launched in 2009, the search for the Happiest Pinoy is a nationwide campaign of Cebuana Lhuillier that aims to rekindle the values of optimism, resilience, and hope in Filipinos amidst different life crises.
Cebuana Lhuillier, the Philippines’ leading and largest non-bank financial services provider specializing in pawning, remittance, and micro insurance recently celebrate the International Day of Happiness last March 20, 2019 at the Happy Garden Café in Makati City, with this year’s theme: Happier Together, focusing on what we have in common, rather than what divides us.
The Search for the Happiest Pinoy aims to find a Filipino who has:
- Proven ability to rise above life’s challenges
- Possesses a “Can Do!” attitude
- Has a positive impact in the lives of others: family members, community, etc.
Maxino said: “Happiness is a choice. No matter what the circumstances of my life are and will be, with God’s grace, I choose and will continue to choose to be happy.”
The Cebuana Lhuillier Search for the Happiest Pinoy is now down to 20 finalists and one of them will take home P1 million in cash prizes. The latest edition of the competition garnered close to 800,000 applications from various localities nationwide, making it the biggest in the search’s ten-year history.
From the 20 finalists, 10 category winners will be named, representing the youth, senior citizens, overseas Filipino workers, lingkod bayan, professionals, manggagawang Pinoy, entrepreneurs, employees, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. They will each receive P50,000 in cash prizes.
The 10 category winners will go through a panel interview to determine this year’s Happiest Pinoy grand winner who will take home P1,000,000 tax free.
Cebuana Lhuillier Search for the Happiest Pinoy has already produced three winners namely Winston Maxino, Rommel Arellano and Richardson Navor.
Maxino is a corporate executive who was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis – a degenerative and currently incurable bone disease. Almost at the same time he was diagnosed with the disease he discovered that his daughter Brina Kei suffers from Down Syndrome. Instead of allowing the setbacks to get him down he used them as motivation to help others.
Arellano, an employee and a native of Bataan, won the Search in 2012 and was afflicted with poliomyelitis at one year old. This taught him to crawl with slippers on his hands as his only means of mobility. It is impressive that despite Rommel’s handicap, he was determined enough still as he brushed off discrimination and managed to land different jobs, namely: insurance agent, disc jockey, emcee, singer and musician, resource speaker, call-center agent, and a school guidance counselor. He did not let his disability get in the way to rise above life’s challenges.
Navor is a financial analyst with Cerebral Palsy and the winner of the search in 2015. Navor bested nine other finalists due to his positive outlook in life amidst his condition. Navor graduated from college with Magna Cum Laude honors. He was also part of the Jose Rizal Model Students of the Philippines and Ten Outstanding Students in the Philippines.
The Philippines has endured with lots of calamities over the past decades, making it the fourth disaster-prone country in the world. Despite these catastrophic events, it is a proven the fact that laughter is the best medicine and the Filipinos remain one of the most resilient, optimistic and happy people who laugh earnestly and sincerely ranking the third happiest country according to a 2018 global survey by US-based firm Gallup International.
The event special guest, he is a certified Laughter Yoga Instructor, Mr. Paolo Martin Trinidad shares the benefits of Laughter Yoga such as it uplifts the mood of a person, improves one’s memory, increases his energy and strengthens the immune system. It also helps in healing diseases like hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, depression, arthritis, bronchitis, backache, migraine, menstrual disorder, cancer and a lot more.
Cebuana Lhuillier selected nine outstanding individuals who have shown tremendous achievement in their respective careers, and serves as an inspiration to Filipinos all over the world, they served as the last run’s panel of judges for the Search for the Happiest Pinoy.
These personalities have scrutinized the nominees, deliberate, and choose the next Happiest Pinoy awardees namely: Vice President – Hon. Leni Robredo, Director of Inspire Leadership Consultancy – Mr. Francis Kong, Head of TV5 News & Current Affairs – Ms. Luchi Cruz Valdez, Chairman, Cultural of the Philippines Board of Trustees – Ms. Emily Abrera, 2009 CNN Hero of the Year – Mr. Efren Penaflorida and General Manager of Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions – Mr. Jonathan Batangan.
For its efforts, the Search for the Happiest Pinoy is a multi-awarded program recognized by the International Business Awards 2011, 48th Anvil Awards 2012, Philippine Quill Awards 2013, Panata Awards 2015, and Golden Bridge Awards 2015.