Zaldy Bueno – Public School Teacher, is 2019 Happiest Pinoy!

Cebuana Lhuillier’s 2019 edition of the Search for the Happiest Pinoy has finally been concluded last May 29 at the Grand Awarding Ceremony with Public School Teacher from Gumaca, Quezon, 37-year old Zaldy Bueno honoured as the 4th Happiest Pinoy!

The event, was intimate- by popular awards ceremony standards, but is still grand! The program opened with a production number from Philippines’ pride – El Gamma Penumbra and with additional entertainment provided by the UP Singing Ambassadors. Ang bongga talaga!



The top 10 finalists were initially presented wearing Filipiniana attire, each one looking like a winner! 

But of all ten, Zaldy came out on top, chosen by the judges to be the one who most exemplifies the character of a Happiest Pinoy – a Filipino with the innate characters of optimism, resilience, and hope amidst different life crises. I will never forget that one of Zaldy’s greatest achievement was the help he gave his mother in order for her to finish her secondary education. Sya ang naging teacher ng nanay nya!

I am truly grateful to have been invited to the Happiest Pinoy events – from meeting the first ever Happiest Pinoy, to getting to know the top ten finalists up-close and to finally seeing who the grand winner is. The Search for the Happiest Pinoy was not just a very meaningful journey for all who took part in it, but also an inspiring journey for bloggers like myself who was able to follow their progress. 

Congratulations Zaldy! You deserve to be the Happiest Pinoy 2019! Kudos to Cebuana Lhuillier, led by their President and CEO, Jean Henri Lhuillier! You not only know how to come up with awesome micro-financing products but also with projects or advocacies that highlight the indomitable Filipino spirit. Cheers!

To read more about the event, please refer to the official press release below.

PRESS RELEASE:

Public School Teacher named Cebuana Lhuillier’s Happiest Pinoy 2019

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 other finalists from different categories, winning one million cash and a trophy.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

Happiest Pinoy Grand Winner Announcement on May 29!

Place your bets now as the Happiest Pinoy top 10 finalists – actually, the top winner for each of the 10 categories, has been announced and presented to media and bloggers:

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  • Khaye Celine Maggay – youth 
  • Francisca Tumampil – senior citizens
  • Fortunato Januto – OFWs
  • Rodrigo Roble Jr – lingkod bayan
  • Zaldy Bueno – professionals
  • Hercules Soringa – manggagawang Pinoy
  • Mark David Cerezo – entrepreneurs
  • Alfred Santos – employees
  • Jayson Dela Fuente – persons with disability
  • Leovy John Terrado – LGBTQ community

These ten were luckily chosen from close to 800,000 applications, the largest number of entries that this campaign has had so far.

The grand winner, who is bound to take home one million pesos (Php1M) in cash prize, will be chosen by these members of the panel of judges:

  • Zenaida Maglaya – DTI Undersecretary and head of the panel
  • Gang Badoy Capati – Rock Education Project Inc. founder
  • RJ Ledesma – Entreph co-founder and Motivational Speaker
  • James Deakin – TV host, journalist and online influencer
  • Love Anover-Lianko – TV host
  • Jonathan Yabut – The Apprentice Asia winner and JY Consultancy and Ventures founder and managing director
  • Winston Maxino – first Happiest Pinoy Grand Winner
  • Rommel Arellano – former Happiest Pinoy Grand Winner 
  • Richardson Navor – former Happiest Pinoy Grand Winner 

The Happiest Pinoy is an advocacy program of Cebuana Lhuillier, the country’s largest micro-financial services company. The program celebrates the value 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.

“Filipinos are one of the most resilient people in the world, facing life’s challenges with optimism, faith and 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 and CEO.

The Search for the Happiest Pinoy Grand Awards Night will be held on May 29, 2018 at the New World Hotel in Makati.

Have you met the Happiest Pinoy?

I did meet and hear him share a lot of positive things on the happiest of days – the International Day of Happiness!

Presenting, Mr. Winston Maxino, a corporate executive who was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis—a degenerative and incurable bone disease, and a father to a daughter who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.  Despite all these challenges, he was awarded the first ever Happiest Pinoy title on February 17, 2010 —

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So how did Mr. Maxino became the “Happiest Pinoy”? Isn’t it that all Filipinos are said to hold that happy, positive, resilient disposition in life – regardless of how unfortunate a situation he/she was thrown into?

Mr. Maxino actually bested over 200 Filipino nominees to be the top winner of Cebuana Lhuillier’s first ever “Search for the Happiest Pinoy”.

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.

The campaign 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.

In the pilot run of the campaign, Mr. Maxino came out as the best Pinoy to exemplify these values. Last March 20, during Cebuana Lhuillier’s Laughternoon event and celebration of the International Day of Happiness, we got to meet him and become inspired with everything that he shared – “live one day at a time”, “happiness is a choice, so choose to be happy”, “always have that positive outlook in life”.

The 2018 Search for the Happiest Pinoy is now on-going and has already grown by leaps and bounds as compared to the very first edition. This latest campaign, in fact, has received over 800,000 entries from all over, as compared to just 200+ entries from the 2009-2010 campaign.

To add to the excitement, ten new categories were created to enable various sectors in society to be represented in the search.

  1. Youth Category (Category Code: YOUTH)
    -13 to 21 years old only
  2. Senior Citizen Category (Category Code: SR)
    -60 years old above
  3. PWD (Persons with Disabilities) Category (Category Code: PWD)
    -Persons with permanent physical or mental impairment
  4. Manggagawang Pinoy Category (Category Code: MNGGW)
    -Individuals who render manual labor, including laborers, factory workers, PUV drivers, and househelpers
  5. Professional Category (Category Code: PRO)
    -Any licensed individual performing a highly specialized job (ex. doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, nurses, etc)
  6. Lingkod Bayan Category (Category Code: LNGKD)
    -Public servants or individuals who work for the government, including soldiers and policemen
  7. OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) Category (Category Code: OFW)
    -Filipinos who work abroad
  8. Entrepreneur Category (Category Code: ENTRP)
    -Individuals who run their own business
  9. Employee Category (Category Code: EMP)
    -Individuals who work in offices or those who hold administrative jobs, like call center agents, managers, office clerk, etc.
  10. LGBTQ Category (Category Code: LGBTQ)
    -Individuals who identify as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community

As of this writing, the search is now down to the top 50 nominees which are being pooled and screened by a committee composed of PJ Lhuillier Inc. officers and managers within the whole month of March. Out of these 50 nominees, 20 will be chosen to advance to the semi-final round and then the top ten for the final round.

Konting kembot na lang and we will get to know the Happiest Pinoy Grand Winner of 2018 who will luckily take home Php1,000,000 tax-free!

After the inspiring talk by Mr. Maxino and the exciting updates about the search, we were treated to an afternoon of Laughter Yoga. It was a first for me, who initially found the activity awkward. However, as we progressed, I realized how relaxing and de-stressing it can be. Laughter really is the best medicine!

Thank you so much Cebuana Lhuillier for making our day truly a day of happiness!

To know more about Cebuana Lhuillier’s Search for Happiest Pinoy, visit the official site HERE.

Open a savings account with just Php50 with Cebuana Lhuillier’s Micro Savings product!

I was truly honoured to have received an invite to Cebuana Lhuillier’s Micro Savings Forum last February 28. It was an event that is packed with a lot of valuable information regarding financial inclusion supported by various statistics. The major takeaway though was Cebuana, being the leading micro financial services company in the Philippines, took a bold step to boost financial inclusion by coming up the Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings!

The Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings is an easier, more convenient way of saving. If you are one who has been planning to save but couldn’t open a bank account because you are unable to produce the numerous documentary requirements, the high cost of initial deposit and maintaining balance, then this product is definitely for you!

In a nutshell, here are the top reasons why you should consider opening a micro savings account:

  • requires only Php50 initial/minimum deposit
  • requires only 1 government ID during account opening
  • available in almost 2,500 Cebuana Lhuillier branches
  • Php500 maintaining balance needed to earn interest

To learn more about Cebuana Lhuillier’s Micro Savings, read on the official presser below and check on the FAQs here.

PRESS RELEASE:

Cebuana Lhuillier launches easier, more convenient way to save through micro savings product
Launch coincides with the introduction of “#KayaNa: Unbanked Filipinos No More Movement”

Cebuana Lhuillier, one of the country’s leading microfinancial services company, recently unveiled the Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings, which will provide Filipinos with a more convenient and affordable means to save their hard-earned money.

Acting as a cash agent of the Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank (CLRB), micro savings is Cebuana Lhuillier’s platform for Filipinos to overcome the barriers to saving. While Filipinos like to save, they opt to keep it at home according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)

The lukewarm attitude of the masses towards opening a savings account is attributed to the barriers to saving in banks. The lack of access to banks among the country’s many cities and municipalities remains as the top deterrent, according to a BSP study. In fact, only 33% or 551 cities in the Philippines have access to banking institutions. The numerous documentary requirements is a major turn off for many, along with the high cost of initial deposit, high maintaining balance, as well as, high dormancy charges.

Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings enables every Filipino to break through these barriers. Opening a Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings account requires only one valid ID and a minimal Php 50 initial deposit. And because of Cebuana Lhuillier’s wide network of branches comprised of 2,500 retail infrastructures, account holders can deposit and withdraw anywhere at their most convenient hours.

The product is in line with the Cebuana Lhuillier’s mission of financial inclusion, which has been the thrust of the company for the past 30 years.

“With BSP’s basic deposit framework, Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings completes the full roster of our services, all designed and developed with financial inclusion in mind. We’ve come full circle—from offering collateralized loans or pawning, remittance service, micro insurance and now, micro savings—all of these products were designed with Filipinos from all walks of life in mind especially the unbanked and underserved, who would not have access to these financial services given their circumstances in life,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, president & CEO of Cebuana Lhuillier.

To ensure that micro savings account holders can fully maximize the use of their savings account and ensure greater connectivity, Cebuana Lhuillier will also be launching its very own eCebuana app which allows micro savings users to check their balance and send money through remittance, as well as load prepaid credits to their phones, and pay their bills by integrating it to their Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings account.

The app is just the first step in a long line of innovations connected to the micro savings product – on top of which is its migration to an EMV-enabled card which can be accessed through ATMs (automated teller machines). It will also carry a debit and credit facility for online and cashless shopping, provide access to auxiliary services and help corporate and MSME (micro, small, and medium enterprises) clients manage their business through payroll cash management solutions.

Furthermore, it will progress to provide more value with features like remit-to-and-from savings account; pay and deposit from savings account; and an international remit-to-account feature which will provide convenience to Filipinos abroad in sending money to their families in the Philippines. This innovation will also allow clients to have safe and convenient access to their accounts in all Cebuana Lhuillier branches, Cebuana CARES, agent partners, and all online and mobile channels, as well as, access to all CLRB branches set to establish presence nationwide. For easier access, self-service kiosks in Cebuana Lhuillier branches will also be put in place.

All these efforts to make savings accessible to every Filipino are part of Cebuana Lhuillier President & CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier’s vision on financial wellness. “Cebuana Lhuillier is also adapting a new philosophy, which is financial wellness. Our goal is not just to provide quick cash to the underbanked and unbanked for their short-term financial needs but to become an enabler for a better future for them. Allowing more and more Filipinos to steer their own direction and be captains of their own ship. We want to help them graduate from being dependent through bridge financing options for them to experience financial freedom,” Lhuillier said.

The launch of Cebuana Lhuillier Micro Savings coincides with the launch of the #KayaNa: Unbanked Filipinos No More Movement, which aims to transform the landscape of saving in the Philippines. In light and in support of the BSP’s call for greater financial inclusion among Filipinos, Cebuana Lhuillier aims to reach more underserved Filipinos and empower them to save for the future through its micro savings product.

Pinoy Tennis Trainers (PTT) creates better opportunities for the PH Tennis Community

If you are fifteen years old, is blessed to live some kind of privileged life and is passionate about the sport of tennis, what will one of your dreams/goals be?

Stephan Lhuillier, founder of the Pinoy Tennis Trainers

Well, three years ago, then fifteen-year-old Stephan Lhuillier thought of creating a program with the objective of providing tennis trainers with the opportunity of improving their skills thru workshops thereby resulting to their being able to book more clients which allows them to earn more.

Such a noble act for a teener right? This program, known as the Pinoy Tennis Trainers (PTT), though originally the brainchild of now 18-year-old Stephan, have recently taken in younger brother Sebastien who is set to take the front seat as Stephan takes a temporarily “indirect role” in managing PTT as he leaves for university in 2019.

The Lhuillier Brothers: Stephan, 18yo and Sebastien, 15yo

Stephan said, “This coming year will be different because my brother, Sebastien Lhuillier will be formally joining the PTT family. As I prepare to begin my university studies in the States, I am confident that Sebastien will bring the same passion and dedication to the tennis community. This early, I have heard some of his plans for PTT, and I am really excited for 2019 as PTT enters the next level – through the leadership of Sebastien.”

Stephan and Sebastien, tennis enthusiasts and sons of Cebuana Lhuillier President and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier and Olympian Bea Lucero-Lhuillier, met with us bloggers a week ago at the Makati Sports Club to talk about PTT. Sebastien who will formally take the lead in PTT next year is a well-known tennis player in the local circuit and who represented the country in various meets abroad.

“I am thankful to be given this opportunity to serve on a leadership capacity for PTT for 2019. For the past three years, my brother has given opportunities to local trainers by introducing them to level 1 courses. My goal is to introduce new level 2 courses, with the help of Coach Roland and also actively pursue international tennis training for our top graduates,” said Sebastien.

A program that was built following a chance encounter of Stephan with a local ball boy who shared that his usual day rate is Php80, the PTT’s third leg which consists of a two-day tennis workshop for tennis trainers was just concluded last week. It was held at the Makati Sports Club and brought together 40 of the country’s best local tennis trainers representing schools and clubs from all over Metro Manila and Central Luzon. 

members of the PTT 2018 leg with Coach Roland, Sebastien and Stephan

It is also worth noting that the program was handled by Coach Roland Kraut, the only ITF Level 3 tennis coach in the Philippines, together with Stephan and Sebastien.

from l-r: Coach Roland Kraut, Sebastien and Stephan

“I am proud of what we have accomplished from the time we launched Happiest Pinoy more than three years ago. I am elated to hear that some of our graduates are now earning high-paying jobs or have moved on to become coaches of their respective clubs and local teams. That’s the real purpose of PTT, to create better opportunities for the hardworking men of our local tennis community,” said Stephan Lhuillier.

Since it was founded, PTT was able to conduct 13 training sessions across the country and produced close to 600 graduates. Armed with their PTT certification, the trainers were able to earn more with the higher level of training they received. Top PTT graduates such as Trudy Amoranto and JR Moreno were also sent to Thailand to participate in the ITF Level 1 Coaches course.

Want to be able to share and help too? The program also has what they call the “Adopt-A-Racket Program” which allows tennis enthusiasts, racket companies, national players or even non-tennis players, to donate tennis rackers to PTT. These rackets are then being given as incentives to the graduates who performed well during the training. 

Stephan and Sebastien, you truly are your parents’ children. Kudos to both of you and we wish that the PTT prosper more and grow more! Cheers to you and PTT!

Carlos, Bayking emerges as PH bet to the WTA Future Stars tournament

Cebuana Lhuillier Girls’ Tennis Challenge winners, Bliss Bayking and Macie Carlos, are flanked by (from left) Cebuana Lhuillier assistant vice president and corporate communications division head Richard Villaseran, UTP board member Gerard Madronilla, Cebuana Lhuillier president and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier, and UTP general manager Jackie Tomacruz.

Top-ranked junior tennis players Macie Carlos and Bliss Bayking have earned the opportunity to represent the country in the WTA Future Stars Tournament in Singapore, after clinching victories in the finals of the Cebuana Lhuillier Girls’ Tennis Challenge Under 14 and Under 16 Qualifying Tournament at the Makati Sports Club in Makati City.

Showing their winning forms, Carlos completely dominated Mica Emana, 6-1, 6-2, while Bayking outclassed Justine Maneja, 6-4, 6-1, to win their first 14-under and 16-under titles in the tournament sanctioned by Unified Tennis Philippines (UTP) and sponsored by Malayan Insurance, Dunlop and the Makati Sports Club.

“I would like to congratulate all the participants for playing in this tournament, most especially to the two winners who will be going to Singapore to play in the WTA Future Stars Tournament. This competition has brought out the best in you. I wish you both good luck and hope you will continue to learn from this experience as you make our country proud,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, UTP president and Cebuana Lhuillier president and CEO.

The top-ranked Carlos easily disposed of 2nd ranked Julia Ignacio, 6-1, 6-2, while Emana overcame third-seeded Tiffany Nocos, 6-3, 7-6(8) to arrange the 14-under finals duel. 2nd seed Bayking ousted top seed Rovie Baulete, 6-3, 6-2, while Maneja held off Minette Bentillo, 6-4, 6-3, in the 16-under semi-finals.

Carlos and Bayking will compete against other top junior players from across the Asia Pacific region in the WTA Future Stars Tournament to be held from October 15 to 22 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Fiery Matches seen in the Cebuana Lhuillier Girls’ Tennis Challenge Finals

Tomorrow’s Cebuana Lhuillier WTA Future Stars tournament is seen to be composed of fierce games judging from the results of the recently-held qualifying games.

Check out the below press release for a preview of how the match-ups will result in challenging final games.

PRESS RELEASE:

Carlos, Maneja dominate foes in Cebuana Lhuillier WTA Future Stars qualifier

Junior tennis players Macie Carlos and Justine Maneja posted three straight wins to remain unbeaten in the Cebuana Lhuillier Girls’ Tennis Challenge Under 14 and Under 16 Qualifying Tournament at the Makati Sports Club in Makati City.

Sanctioned by Unified Tennis Philippines (UTP), the competition serves as a qualifier for the Women’s Tennis Association Future Stars Finals in Singapore in October.

Carlos dominated Corazon Lambonao, 6-2, 6-2, on opening day and made easy back-to-back wins against Tennielle Madis and Mica Emana with similar 6-1, 6-1 finishes to stay on top of group one of the 14-under category at the end of the elimination round.

Maneja quickly demolished Shedel Gica, 6-3, 6-0, and Anna De Myer, 6-0, 6-2, before upsetting top seed Rovie Baulete, 6-3, 7-6(3), to earn top spot in group one of the 16-under category in the tournament sponsored by Malayan Insurance, Dunlop and the Makati Sports Club.

“The second day of the tennis challenge showed that the girls have the grit to compete in the WTA Future Stars tournament. The games today brought out the best among the best and I am looking forward to fiery matches in the finals,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, Unified Tennis Philippines president and Cebuana Lhuillier president and CEO.

Baulete also made back-to-back wins at the expense of De Myer, 6-4, 6-7(4), 10-2, and Gica, 6-1, 7-6(3) before losing to Maneja while Emana made a pair of wins against Madis, 6-2, 3-6, 11-9, and Lambonao, 6-3, 6-0, before yielding to Carlos.

Carlos, Emana, Maneja and Baulete await their group two challengers in the cross-over semifinals as elimination games were still being played as of press time.

Macie Carlos and Justine Maneja show their intensity and winning form during the elimination round matches.