2012 TOYM Awardees: Aspiration and Inspiration
Ida Anita Q. Del Mundo (The Philippine Star) - January 13, 2013 - 12:00am

Cover photo by Willy Perez


MANILA, Philippines - The roster of TOYM awardees for 2012 features seven outstanding individuals who come from vastly different backgrounds – from a veterinarian to an Azkal, and everything in between. These seven, however, have excelled as leaders in their chosen fields and have proven that young Filipinos can indeed make a difference in their community.

Organized by the Junior Chamber International Philippines together with TOYM Foundation and the Gerry Roxas Foundation, the 2012 TOYM (The Outstanding Young Men) awards was driven by its theme, “Inspiring Excellence.” The year’s TOYM awardees are Emmeline Aglipay, Waren Baticados, Emelio “Chieffy” Caligdong, Abelardo Apollo David, Ivan Anthony Henares, Rodrigo “Jiggy” Manicad Jr., and Allan “Apl.d.Ap” Pineda. For them, it is not enough to simply achieve on their own; each of them strives to be good models, to encourage – to inspire excellence – in everyone whose lives they are able to enrich.

In his speech during the awarding in Malacañang, President Aquino said, “It is comforting to attend events like this, which assures us all that in the future, there will be no shortage of brilliance in this country… This award not only recognizes excellence but serves as the benchmark for gauging potential.”

“The best of your work is indeed still to come… You are going to be a vital part of our nation’s future. And so I am here today not merely to award you, but to personally challenge you to do more,” said President Aquino, addresing the awardees.

“This country needs you to continue being creative, excellent, and relevant. You are no longer just artists, politicians, medical professionals, athletes, champions of heritage, or journalists; you are inspirations to our countrymen, and your continued pursuit of excellence will tell our people that the fight to bring this country to prominence continues.”

Public service with spirit

Emmeline Aglipay, 30, brings the idealism and passion of youth to her endeavors as a lawyer and advocate.

Public service is not something new to Aglipay. At 13, she was already leading a group of high school student volunteers, developing education, nutrition, and livelihood programs for an urban poor community in Pandacan, Makati.

As an AB-Economics student at De La Salle University, Aglipay was Student Council president. Under her administration, the DLSU student council was recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Youth Organizations and was given the United Nations Millennium Development Goal Award for its community development project. Aglipay graduated magna cum laude among other distinctions in 2002.

Placing among the top 20 students when she graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines, Aglipay went on to work for a major law firm. Realizing, however, that her heart lies in public service, she gave up her career to take on several labor cases on a pro bono basis.

As the representative of the DIWA party-list, Aglipay is the principal author of the Kasambahay Bill, the Magna Carta for Informal Sector Workers, the Magna Carta for Seafarers, and the Act to Strengthen Security of Tenure.

Vetting the future

Waren Baticados, 40, has a Phd in Veterinary Science from Gifu University, Japan, where he studied as a scholar of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños.                      

He is currently Associate Professor of the UP College of Veterinary Medicine, the youngest-recognized scientist in the school’s history. He is the recipient of prestigious awards including the 2011 Outstanding Young Scientist of the Philippines.

A prolific researcher, Baticados has received many research grants and professorial chair awards, including the first Regional SEARCA Professorial Chair Award where he competed with various nominees from different ASEAN-member countries.

His research paved the way to the development and promulgation of science-based policies on animal disease surveillance and animal quarantine. He is a pioneer in clinical testing and therapeutic application of formulated bee products as antimicrobial and wound-healing agents using animal models. His research is invaluable towards the improvement of both human and animal health.

A purebred among the Azkals

Chieffy Caligdong, 30, is from the football-crazy town of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo and is acknowledged as the only “pure Filipino-Ilonggo Azkal,” playing as a left winger midfielder and vice-captain for the Philippine Azkals. Formerly a player for the Air Force football club, he was an enlisted member of the Philippine Air Force.

Caligdong made his debut in the 2004 Tiger Cup, where he first captured the attention and the hearts of Filipino fans with three game-winning goals, making it the first-ever victory of the Philippines in the ASEAN Football Championship.

Caligdong started playing football at the age of seven. Now, he is helping aspiring young players in his hometown to learn football by conducting regular football clinics and tournaments.

Enabling the handi-capable

Like Caligdong, Abelardo Apollo David, 35, also works with young children. An occupational therapist, David has a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from the UP-Manila and a Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of Queensland in Australia, under an AusAID grant. He is recognized as a local authority in the field of occupational therapy, specifically as a leader and visionary in the areas of Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) and in the Life Skills Training and Transition-To-Work Education of youth with developmental conditions.

At 26, he had dedicated his life’s work in establishing pioneering Independent Living Learning Centers in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao, as well as the Rehabilitation and Empowerment of Adults and Children with Handicap Foundation, Inc. Through these organizations, youth with special needs from all walks of life receive interventions needed for their development.

David has received awards including the 2008 Apolinario Mabini Presidential Award for Rehabilitation Volunteer of the Year.           

A young face in heritage conservation

Ivan Anthony Henares, 33, is proving that even the youth can be concerned about Philippine heritage. He established school and local chapters of the Heritage Conservation Society, and delivers lectures all over the country on heritage conservation and tourism.

Henares completed his Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Master of Business Administration and Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning degrees all at the UP Diliman.

He is currently vice president and trustee of the Heritage Conservation Society and Expert Member and Philippine Representative to the International Cultural Tourism Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites.

As a college student, he initiated the “Preserving Heritage for Progress Program” in San Fernando, Pampanga in 2001, a program that focused on the protection, conservation and promotion of the architectural heritage of the city. In 2004, the program was named Galing Pook Award Trailblazing Program and one of the Top 10 Best Practices of the League of Cities of the Philippines.

In 2001, he was named Most Outstanding Kapampangan for Youth Leadership. In 2005, he received the United Nations Association of the Philippines Outstanding Youth Leader Award and has gone on to receive numerous other citations for his work.

Batang riles to broadcast journalist

Before becoming a well-known TV reporter, Jiggy Manicad Jr., 34, grew up in the slums alongside the railroad tracks. It was at the UP in Los Baños that he discovered the journalist within him while writing for his student paper and working as a student assistant at the university’s Public Affairs Office.

Manicad started out as a researcher for ABS-CBN’s “Magandang Gabi, Bayan,” then moved on to GMA-7, starting as a production assistant, writer and nightshift editor. He got his break as a live traffic reporter.

From there, Manicad’s career took off, contributing reports to the station’s public affairs programs. Now he is a senior producer for GMA News and hosts his own shows – “Reporters Notebook,” “GMA News TV Quick Response,” and GMA-7’s flagship new program on weekends, “24 Oras Weekend.”

Manicad has become known for braving any situation – even putting his own safety in danger – to be able to give a report.

Hip-hop heroics

Allan “Apl.D.Ap” L. Pineda, 38, was born in Pampanga to a Filipino mother and an African-American father then stationed in Clark Air Base. After his father left the family, Pineda had to take on various farming jobs to support his six siblings.

At the age of 14, Pineda was accepted to the Pearl S. Buck Foundation and was relocated to the US, where he was taken in by a foster family in Los Angeles. In high school, Pineda met William James Adams and the two – who would later become apl.d.ap and will.i.am – started the Black Eyed Peas.

Despite worldwide fame, apl.d.ap did not forget his roots. His Filipino heritage is evident in his music. His music company, Jeepney Music, aims to provide an avenue for Filipino music.

In 2011, Pineda and Hewlett-Packard donated computers to students in Pampanga and in 2010, he also started the Apl.de.ap Foundation, committed to giving back to communities and children within the Philippines and throughout Asia.

The TOYM search was led by JCI Sen. Jose Jonathan Ealdama, national chairman. Nominations were screened by past TOYM honorees chaired by Karen Davila, with members Bernido Liu, Samira Gutoc Tomawis, Gerard Rey Lico, Gabriel Romero, Windell Rivera, and Edsel Maurice Salvana. Winners were selected by a panel of judges chaired by Supreme Court Associate Justice Arturo Brion with members BPI president Aurelio Montinola III, De La Salle University president Bro. Ricardo Laguda, PBA commissioner Angelico Salud, UP College of Medicine Dean Agnes Mejia, CCP president Raul Sunico, and STAR president and CEO Miguel Belmonte.

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