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Search for ‘happiest Pinoy’ down to 10

MANILA, Philippines - Ten out of 280,000 individuals were chosen as finalists in the Search for the Happiest Pinoy, a competition to find an inspiring Filipino who has a positive outlook despite being dealt life’s blows.

Competition organizer Cebuana Lhuillier announced in a statement yesterday that the winner will get the P1-million grand prize tax-free.

“This is only the third edition of the Search for Happiest Pinoy and it has already grown significantly, collecting more than 280,000 amazing stories that will surely inspire other people. Our esteemed board of judges had a tough time selecting the winner from 10 finalists who have equally inspiring stories. I’m excited to reveal our grand winner in the awards night,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, president and CEO of Cebuana Lhuillier.

After more than 280,000 entries were reviewed through judging sessions and deliberations, 10 were chosen as the most compelling. From these finalists, one will emerge as the grand winner, which will be announced during tonight’s awards ceremonies at the Solaire Resorts and Casino in Parañaque City.

Among the finalists are: Johnny Medrano of Batangas who could not walk since he was a child but his ailment did not stop him from learning basket weaving, embroidery and drawing. Through hard work and determination, he was able to send his siblings to school. With the help of the Alternative Learning System of the Department of Education (DepEd), Medrano was able to finish a vocational course in electronics and now runs his own watch and cellphone repair shop. He has also become a prominent resource speaker at different seminars.

Rustie Quintana was once a street kid in Plaza Divisoria, Cagayan de Oro City. Eager to learn, he was admitted to the DepEd’s Alternative Learning System program for free. He soon discovered his talent for the arts and started selling his artworks to send his siblings to school. In 2005, Quintana received an award from the British Council’s I am a Changemaker Program while his organization received the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations Award in 2012. He recently earned a degree in Development Communication from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan.

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