Individual category winners of The Filipino Times Awards 2019.


PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2020 - 12:00am

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos call the United Arab Emirates (UAE) their home. Not only modern-day heroes for the Philippines, they are also achievers in their second home.

Achievers of the Filipino community based in the UAE were recognized at The Filipino Times Awards 2019 honoring exemplary Filipinos and brands in the UAE. The fifth edition of the awards was held at Sofitel Dubai The Palm. Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana and Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes graced the event.

“The UAE’s commitment to fostering the spirit of tolerance has made it easy for many professionals to shine and stand out in their field. I am truly proud of our winners, not only for shaping the landscape of their respective industries, but also for raising the Philippine flag high in the Middle East,” said Dr. Karen Remo, the CEO and managing director of New Perspective Media Group, publisher of The Filipino Times.

Among those honored were:

• Tricia Rachelle Jimenea, Advertising Professional of the Year. Jimenea is the partner and engagement director for Katch International. Her collaborations with multiple industries have led her to Expo 2020 Dubai, YouthConnect, Dubai Jazz Festival, and various personalities like Roberto Cavalli, Khloe Kardashian, Paris and Nicky Hilton, and Mariah Carey.

• Christine Espinosa-Erlanda, Architect of the Year. Erlanda is an associate for Godwin Austen Johnson Architects, responsible for providing design solutions and concepts for projects including Dubai Creek Harbour’s Retail District, Saudi Arabia’s Diplomatic Quarter: Celebration Hall, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, Singapore’s Alba Residences, Oman’s Hatta Mountain Lodge and Dubai’s Al Seef area.

• Andronico del Rosario Jr., Artist of the Year. He is the art director and production designer behind hundreds of projects of well-known celebrities and brands in UAE and Canada including The Amazing Race.

• Dr. Rex Bacarra and Marjorie Nazaret, Educators of the Year. Bacarra is the dean for General Education at the American College of Dubai. Nazaret is the principal and founder of Al Alfiah Filipino Private School.

• Darwin Neil Morano, Engineer of the Year. He is a registered naval architect and marine engineer working as a concept design engineer for Al Fattan Ship Industry. His career milestones include the completion of a Combat Boat for the International Defense Exhibition in 2017.

• Jeffrey San Juan, Entrepreneur of the Year. Jeffrey is the founder of San Juan Engineering as well as the firm Quadro Verde. He oversees the comprehensive interior design and decoration services for residential and commercial establishments in the UAE.

• Jonathan Paul Aggarao, Filmmaker of the Year. Aggarao is a videographer and a content creator who has worked with top international brands and events across the UAE including Chanel, Dior, Nikon, MAC Makeup, Transgulf, Dubai World Central and Warner Bros. Films.

• Jose Arnold Tariga, Healthcare Professional of the Year. He is a clinical resource nurse for Salma Rehabilitation Hospital.

• Bianca Litonjua, Hospitality Professional of the Year. Litonjua is the head of events at Rove Hotels, known for spearheading multiple partnerships across six hotels with international brands and events including Google, Netflix, DHL, World Art Dubai and YSL.

• Jewel Lisbe, IT Professional of the Year. She is the IT service delivery manager for the Gargash Group, which serves over a thousand entities including the Gargash Enterprises LLC, the authorized general distributor for Mercedes-Benz in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

• Allan Michael Bautista, Marketing Professional of the Year.  He is the sales and marketing senior manager for LBC Express Inc. in the Middle East.

• Christian Jay Hilotin, Media Professional of the Year. He is the senior web news editor for Gulf News, one of the longest-running broadsheets in the UAE. 

• Jose Allen Villena, Most Promising Designer of the Year. This designer is the owner of Bella Donna Haute Couture. He has dressed up celebrities like Miss Earth Philippines 2019 Janelle Tee, and diplomats of the Philippine Embassy including Ambassador Hjayceelyn Quintana and Consuls Rowena Daquipil and Anna Guerra.

• Darbie Kim “Darbs” Estrebilla, New Media Personality of the Year. He is known on Facebook as Real.Talk.Darbs, a vlogger with millions of views.

• Khrista “Hyku” Desesto, Photographer of the Year. Desesto has her own photography business, Hyku D Photography and Soultrap Studio. She has since held personal brand ambassadorship and was featured with international brands including Tag Heuer for Marie Claire Arabia, Stylist Arabia and Huawei.

• Renelyn Glitzy Robles, Top Executive of the Year. Glitzy is the CEO and founder of Niche Modelling Agency. She and COO Ingrid Aureada are veterans in the UAE in the field of model and image management — with over 15 years of experience.

According to the newspaper, over 500 nominations were received under the individual category. The shortlisted 47 nominations for the 16 individual categories went through a rigorous process, which involved background information checking as well as written and oral presentations by a panel of judges composed of 11 professionals.

Vince Ang, general manager of The Filipino Times, said,  “The Filipino Times, through The Filipino Times Awards, has always been keen to discover individuals who have helped change the image of the Filipino community in the Middle East for the better. Their success in their respective industries reflects our success as a community — and we look forward to meeting more exemplary Filipinos in the future.

(You may e-mail me at joanneraeramirez@yahoo.com. Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.)

Dr. Karen Remo, CEO and managing director of New Perspective Media Group (publisher of The Filipino Times) giving her opening remarks.


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