Sunday Lifestyle

27 unforgettable Pinoys I’ve met

10 THINGS - Bianca Gonzalez - The Philippine Star

The most awesome thing about my job as a host, writer and editor is that I get to meet so many amazing people. If only I had gotten everyone’s autographs and photos to collect all my memories! Here are the reasons why these 27 people are unforgettable:

Boy Abunda

He is always politically correct and real, never offensive nor condescending. He has helped so many new and even established personalities in the world of entertainment, as well as uplifted the lives of many especially in his hometown, Borongan, Samar. Best advice he’s given? “Stay true to your core.”

Karen Davila

Balancing broadcasting literally all day, an active social life, advocacy projects, and being a devoted mother and wife is extremely admirable. A major people person, she used to be hesitant to join social media, but now is addicted to it! She is the first to say, “Oh, picture! For Instagram!”

Kenneth Cobonpue

He may have been born to an affluent family but his massive success was brought about by a unique vision, 100-percent hard work and passion, and love for country. Who would have thought, he didn’t even pass the entrance exam for UP Fine Arts!

Ben Chan

He has brought the clothing industry to groundbreaking heights, and has also made almost every lifestyle product accessible to Pinoys. Insanely generous, the first time I actually met him was in 2006 when he spotted me in Bench Rockwell lining up, and he treated me to every item I was holding.

Jun De Leon

One of the most respected and admired fashion photographers known for his professionalism and talent. We once did a pictorial and he was so in the zone shooting that despite his very expensive lights falling in the water, he did not flinch and focused on taking the perfect shot.

Korina Sanchez

An institution in Philippine journalism, she is known for being a perfectionist, wanting to be on top of everything in front of and behind the camera. She may seem intimidating, but you will feel her gentleness through handwritten notes and letters she loves writing for friends and acquaintances.

Maria Ressa

She constantly finds new ways to present the news, now exploring the correlation of social media to the biggest news events and its effect on people’s behavior. Her “uniform” of choice is her suit or shirts-and-jeans combo, and she admits she doesn’t even remember the last time she wore a dress.

Liz Uy

One of the most in-demand celebrity stylists and endorsers, Liz has helped numerous photographers, designers and makeup artists break into and be successful in the industry. A believer in value for money, she admits that when she started, 80 percent of her closet was from ukay ukay.

Dado Banatao

This Silicon Valley visionary is uneasy when called a billionaire, and would rather humbly recall his journey from simple farmer’s son in Cagayan to making the computer and GPS what it is today. He is such a simple man that instead of being into all the latest smart phones, he prefers to use his “really old” Motorola Razr.

Atom Araullo

The boy every girl would love to bring home to mom — good looking and intelligent, socially aware and athletic, creative and a science whiz (the list goes on.) He bagged his hosting job with 5&Up when he shared the story of how he used to defend frogs on campus from bullies.

Ramon Bautista

To be a pop culture mover and write a best-selling book that Star Cinema turned into a movie is no common or easy feat. This writer, filmmaker and educator originally dreamed of being either an astronaut or a bus driver (because they got to go to Baguio all the time.)

Kenneth Yang

The man behind McDonald’s Philippines is admired for his vision and for his being down to earth. He is not afraid to poke fun at himself in front of his employees, having performed Psy’s Gentleman in full fashion (styled by wife Cindy) at their recent sales rally.

Manny Pacquiao

The Philippines is known the world over for having fine boxers thanks to Pacman’s achievements. There has been a lot of talk about his newfound spirituality, but Manny is so serious about it that he personally fixes tables, chairs and merienda for Bible studies in his Gen San home.

Pia Cayetano

Aside from being a senator, businesswoman, and super mom, she is a women’s rights advocate and certified Iron(wo)man. Would you believe she started training for triathlons in her late 30s? She turned grief into strength and proved it’s never too late to try new things.

Kris Aquino

From the pitch of her voice to her commanding presence, it is impossible to not notice when she walks into a room (or your TV.) Some may think she is all about herself, but Kris has the habit of checking up on friends randomly through SMS or sending little gifts.

Dr. Leo Garcia

He was that one college professor that changed my life. He taught philosophy and was one of the most well loved deans at Ateneo de Manila. His life changing advice: “Don’t ever let anyone underestimate what you are capable of, based on how you look physically.”

Ramon Ang

From his humble beginnings as a mechanic, to now heading one of the top corporations in the country, it’s refreshing to see how approachable RSA is. His eccentricities include wearing slippers at company dinners in hotels to inviting injured SMC team players for hilot sessions in his office.

Vilma Santos

Beyond being loved as the multi-awarded Star For All Seasons, she is the well-loved Governor of Batangas on her third term now. Going even beyond that, she is an ordinary proud mom who makes sure she gets to watch her son’s TV program, and on occasion will even text Luis, “Anak, straight body.”

Lea Salonga

She is the only Filipina to win both a Tony and Olivier award, the first Asian to play both Eponine and Fantine on Broadway, and the first Filipina Disney Legend. When she bagged the role of Kim, she hadn’t had a boyfriend yet, so she was terrified of the kissing scenes.

Bamboo Manalac

Dubbed by many as a “rock god,” how can he not feel like one when he hears thousands of people singing lyrics he wrote, Pinoy Ako or Hallelujah, in unison? This heartthrob only eats read meat once a month, and prefers really good steak since it’s only once a month.

Tony Oposa

An environmental lawyer whose case (“Oposa vs. Factoran,” 1993) is studied by every Filipino law student, as he fights for the right to a healthy environment. He was 25 when most of his body was burned in a fire, and he then vowed to make a significant impact with his life.

Carlos Celdran

This cultural activist and performance artist is most known for his amazing historical tours (and being sued for “offending religious feelings”). He first showcased his creative side as the artist of the comic strip “Bar Sins” in Business Mirror when he was 14.

Rio De La Cruz

A real rags-to-riches story of someone who pursued his passion for running, and turned it into a business and a movement. He couldn’t afford to go to a gym, and since water was scarce where he lived in Parañaque, he would fill drums and carry them as his weight training.

Tim Yap

He became an active multi-hyphenate before everyone else did, revolutionizing the local party scene. Some may think he had it easy, but this hardworking businessman worked his way to the top, starting off by sourcing props in Divisoria for theater plays when he was in high school.

Vice Ganda

Whether you love or hate his brand of humor, it is undeniable that he has changed the landscape of Philippine entertainment and how gays are portrayed. He did have a girlfriend back in 1993, and their first date was watching a Schwarzenegger movie where they also had their first kiss.

Gang Badoy

The founder of Rock Ed and an active supporter of the local art and music scene, Gang has the power to make different groups and sectors work together. Her open-mindedness may stem from her being the youngest child of two widowers and youngest among 15 siblings.

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz

She was named a Young Global Leader because of her efforts in creating the social enterprise model of Rags2Riches that turns what would be rags into quality bags. This driven career woman wasn’t thinking about love when she met the man of her dreams and got married at 25.

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