Philippine Ambassador to the US Babe Romualdez, PeopleAsia editor-in-chief Joanne Rae Ramirez and director Sara Soliven de Guzman and New World Makati Hotel GM Marcel van Mierlo (13th, 16th, extreme left and 12th from left) with PeopleAsia magazine’s ‘Men Who Matter’ awardees (from left) Lexus Manila president Raymond Rodriguez, Living Innovations and Minotti’s Ferdie Ong, STAR’s Jarius Bondoc, broadcast journalist Anthony Taberna, Dr. Hayden Kho Jr., Frontrow CEO Sam Verzosa and president RS Francisco, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, The Medical City president and CEO Dr. Eugene Ramos, Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc. president and CEO Paolo Villar, Grab Philippines president Brian Cu, multimedia personality Tim Yap, art connoisseur Richie Lerma, actor Paulo Avelino, real estate magnate Victor Consunji and FCB Manila executive creative director Jake Tesoro.
Why ‘Men Who Matter’ are larger than life
THIS WEEK ON PEOPLEASIA - Babe Romualdez (The Philippine Star) - July 14, 2019 - 12:00am

For the 15th year in a row, PeopleAsia magazine once again showed the world why certain men matter, as it honored last Tuesday a distinct roster of “Men Who Matter” awardees at the Grand Ballroom of the New World Makati Hotel.

As I mentioned during my speech at the awards ceremony, I found it opportune that this occasion coincided with my official trip to the Philippines for a bilateral strategic dialogue, because this is the biggest “Men Who Matter” awards ever, with 17 extraordinary men who have made their mark, and continue to do so, in their respective professions. As the phrase implies — these men matter — meaning they are significant, they have substance, they are important in Philippine society and in the industries or communities they circulate in. 

With Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Marcel van Mierlo and Joanne Rae Ramirez.

The energy was palpable as guests — composed of diplomats, top business leaders and our friends from the government and media — flocked to the ballroom to recognize the men, alongside the hardworking staff of PeopleAsia, led by our editor-in-chief Joanne Rae Ramirez.

Newly elected Manila Mayor Isko Moreno made a highly anticipated appearance to the ceremonies, following his landslide victory in the Philippine capital’s mayoralty race. From being a former basurero (garbage boy), Moreno rose to become a three-time councilor of Manila’s First District and the city’s vice mayor, prior to his 2019 victory. I have such a high regard for this young man, who is making waves for hitting the ground running, so to speak, cleaning up Divisoria and Quiapo, which have become grim reminders of the congestion and eyesore that have characterized many streets of Manila.

With (from left) Wang Qi, Fausto Preysler, Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev, Art Lopez, Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda, Susing Pineda and Tony Lopa.

We also recognized my fellow The Philippine STAR columnist Jarius Bondoc, a veteran journalist who probably eats death threats for breakfast on account of his bold and daring exposes; as well as ABS-CBN broadcast journalist and DZMM Teleradyo anchor Anthony Taberna whose Dos Por Dos program can be described as one that comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. 

Also present was Brian Cu, president of Grab Philippines, who graced the cover of the magazine’s June-July 2019 issue. Most everyone by now is familiar with Grab that started out as a simple ride-sharing app, before it grew to offer express food delivery and payment services, with thousands of active driver-partners.

Another one of our awardees was Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles — a young politician from Mindanao who served as congressman of the First District of Davao. He is a staunch advocate of education for all, believing as I do, that education is the great equalizer that could break the chains of poverty.

(From left) Irene Kho, Scarlet Snow Belo, Doctors Hayden Kho Jr. and Vicki Belo with Hayden Kho Sr.

Adding star power to the night were young actor Paulo Avelino who became a Gawad Urian Best Actor at age 24, and continues to grace the small and silver screens with his iconic roles, such as that of the young General Gregorio del Pilar in Goyo; and celebrity doctor Hayden Kho Jr. whose story is proof of the power of redemption through faith.

Rounding up this year’s “Men Who Matter” roster were Lexus Manila president Raymond Rodriguez, Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc. president and CEO Manuel Paolo Villar, real estate magnate Victor Consunji, Creative Guild of the Philippines “Hall of Famer” and FCB Manila executive creative director Jake Tesoro, The Medical City president and CEO Dr. Eugene Ramos, Salcedo Auctions director Richie Lerma, RS Francisco and Sam Verzosa of Frontrow, Living Innovations and Minotti’s Ferdie Ong, and eventologist Tim Yap — all of whom were present to receive their awards.

Along with myself and Joanne, PeopleAsia director Sara Soliven de Guzman and New World Makati Hotel general manager Marcel van Mierlo also graced the event to present the night’s much-deserved awards. Singer-songwriter Nicole Asensio, on the other hand, served as the night’s emcee and even rendered a couple of jazz numbers to the crowd’s delight.

(From left) Karlo and Marga Nograles, Joanne Rae Judith and Jake Margarita Bondoc and Luke Hermosa. Ramirez, Bebet, Jinggay and Jericho Nograles.

This is also the seventh year that PeopleAsia held the event at the New World Makati Hotel, which, as always, treated the evening’s VIP guests to a lavish buffet that came complete with live cooking stations, exquisite carving stations, and a host of mouthwatering oriental fare. Our partner, Ralph’s Wines & Spirits made sure that our guests had overflowing drinks, while upscale skincare and wellness brand Pili Ani gave its sought-after products as souvenirs.

PeopleAsia’s “Men Who Matter” 2019 awards night was made possible with the support of the New World Makati Hotel, Lexus Philippines, Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp., Vista Land, Megaworld, Frontrow, Gan Advanced Osseointegration Center (GAOC), Ralph’s Wines & Spirits, Pili Ani, Pilipinas Shell, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and The Philippine STAR.

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