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2012 TOYM awardees, named

MANILA, Philippines – The yearly and the most prestigious award-giving body called The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM), which recognizes young Filipino men and women, between 18 to 40 years of age was recently held at Malacañang on Wednesday, January 9, Rizal Hall with 2012’s seven awardees from different sectors.

His Excellency, President Benigno S. Aquino III described the awardees as among the country’s partners in making the Philippines a better place for the next generation.

The Awardees

The seven awardees for 2012's TOYM posed with His Excellencey, President PNoy. Photograph courtesy of Lorrein Marinas.

The seven awardees for 2012’s TOYM posed with His Excellencey, President PNoy. Photograph courtesy of Lorrein Marinas.

Emmeline Yan Aglipay, 30, awardee for Public Service, 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’.

She is a passionate lawyer and a determined advocate that is described as a woman who exemplifies the idealistic, driven and committed Filipino youth. She is a major player of DIWA Party List that won a seat in Congress in 2010.

Aglipay is a magna cum laude graduate of AB Economics at De La Salle University in 2002. That same year, she was given the Most Outstanding Student Leader Award, the Brother Gabriel Connon Award for the Most Outstanding Graduating Student, and was also recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines.

Waren Navarra Baticados, 39, awardee for Veterinary Medicine, is the youngest recognized scientist in the University of the Philippines College of Veterinary Medicine.

Also, he’s the recipient of the prestigious awards e.g. Outstanding Young Scientist of the Philippines (2011) by the National Academy of Science and Technology, UP Scientist 1 (2011-2013).

Dr. Baticados has demonstrated the capability of undertaking good and relevant science throughout his personal life. He was known for his years of Outstanding and pioneering work on the molecular detention of top-priority protozoan and bacterial organisms in the Philippines that cause economically-devastating animal diseases, particularly tryparosomasis, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, salmonellosis, and zolibacillosis as well as vital small companion animal diseases as ehrlichiosis.

Currently, he is an associate professor at the University of the Philippines College of Veterinary Medicine teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses.

Emelio Asada Caligdong, 30, awardee for Sports, is a ‘proof-positive’ that one doesn’t need to be tall to excel in football. He’s compared to Argentine football legend Diego Maradona with a height of 5’5” tall. Despite that height, Caligdong outruns and outwits even the talent and the brawniest defenders and plays with a lot of heart and passion. He’s serious with his desire to promote the country through sports particularly football, which is currently enjoying a great popularity in the country.

‘Chieffy’ as recognized by many is a veteran of international competitions. He’s been with Philippine Azkals in matches held in Southeast Asia, e.g. Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, paying as the left-winger midfielder and vice-captain.

He started playing football at the age of seven and was inspired by his brother to pursue the said sport. He was an enlisted member of the Philippine Air Force and was a former player for its football club.

Today, he helps aspiring young players in his hometown of Barotac, Nuevo, Iloilo—to learn football by conducting regular football clinics and tournaments using his own resources and support of partners where he teach kids the techniques of the sport. Each year, more and more students get to be interested with football.

Abelardo Apollo Ilagan David Jr., 35, awardee for Community Occupational Rehabilitation, has six presidential and three prestigious national awards. Among these are: 2008 Grand prize in World Bank’s Panibagong Paraan: A Competition for Innovative Ideas and the 2008 Apolinario Mabini Presidential Award for Rehabilitation Volunteer of the Year. He is considered to be the Filipino PWD’s silent yet effective champion.

Better known to his students and patients as ‘Teacher Archie’ is an embodiment of hope, which truly prevails. Even with his vast experience as an occupational therapist and with his education from the University of the Philippines-Manila and University of Queensland in Australia with an AusAID acholarship grant, he still chose to stay and serve his countrymen.

He’s recognized as the local authority in the field of occupational therapy, specifically as a leader and visionary on the areas of community-based rehabilitation (CBR) and in the life skills training and transition-to-work education of youth with developmental conditions.

Ivan Anthony Santos Henares, 33, awardee for Heritage Conservation, has provided a voice for previously muted by other equally important national priorities.

For over a decade, he has championed the cause of Philippines heritage conservation to the mainstream by serving as one of the advocacy’s most visible voices, pushing for the enactment of national laws and local legislations for heritage preservation, educating Filipinos on the importance of preserving the country’s heritage, monitoring heritage conservation issues around the Philippines and ensuring the protection of significant historical and cultural sites.

He established the ICOMOS, short for International Conference on Cultural Tourism, which brough together Expert Members of ICOMOS from around the world to Vigan, Ilocos Sur to share cultural tourism best practices to hundreds of local stakeholders. With that effort, the Philippines earned encouraging feedback from foreign and local delegates—making the country as a global leader in community-based cultural tourism.

In 2001, his blog was named Best Travel Blog at the 1st Philippine Blog Awards. In 2008, he was also included as a Philippines’ 21 Fellows by Asia Society to join the Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit. The website Spot.ph listed him as one of the ‘10 City Heroes You Should Know’ in 2010 for his advocacy on heritage conservation.

Rodrigo Defeo Manicad Jr., 37, awardee for Broadcast Journalism, has repeatedly laid his life on the line as a journalist.

The documentary he did on Fuga Island has brought the attention to the public, about the plight of the Fuga people. He united civic groups for relief operation for the said island. Also, he was instrumental in the surrender of two controversial, wanted figures—Lintang Bedol and Buhari Jumiri, where these two chose to submit to the government through his intervention.

‘Jiggy’, as most of his friends and colleagues know him, is a person who live a life that sparkles with glitz and glam via blood, sweat, and tears.

Today, he hosts ‘Reporters’ Notebook’, ‘GMA News TV Quick Response Team’ (QRT), ‘GMA’s Flagship News Program on Weekends’, and ’24 Oras Weekend’. He’s also GMA News’ senior producer.

Allan Lindo Pineda Jr., 37, awardee for Contemporary Music, strongly believes that poverty shouldn’t be a hindrance in getting an education.

Born in Pampanga, Pineda’s African-American father (then stationed in Clark Air Base) left the family, leaving seven siblings to fend for themselves. In order to support his struggling family, Allan was forced to ride the carabao to do farming of agricultural staples, e.g. potatoes, sugar, corn, and rice.

When he was 14, Pearl S. Buck Foundation, an organization that finds better conditions for abandoned American children, accepted Pineda and allowed him to move to Los Angeles through a foster parenting sponsoring program.

At John Marshall High School, he met his future band mate will.i.am a.k.a. James Adams and together they started the group Black Eyed Peas. His band sold over 65 million album worldwide.

Taking pride of his Filipino heritage, he injected elements of Pinoy culture in his Black Eyed Peas’ songs. He has been active in various non-profit causes in the country. In 2011, Pineda and Hewlett-Packard (HP) donated computer equipment to students in his province of Pampanga.

The Apl.de.ap Foundation he established in 2010 gives back to communities and children within the country and throughout Asia.

President Aquino in his speech, lauded the 2012 awardees for ‘advancing and exceling in their respective professions and advocacies. He also mentioned and guaranteed all Filipinos that there will be no shortage of brilliance in the country—there will be people who can carry collective quest to accomplishing permanent change in the country and the people.

TOYM has become an institution, having honored countless leaders who have accomplished considerable, tangible results in the pursuit of excellence. Its first awarding ceremonies took place at St. Louis Auditorium in Baguio City on October 15, 1959 as the highlight of the 11th Philippine Jaycees (now Junior Chamber International Philippines) National Convention’s Opening Ceremonies, which was attended by more than 250 Filipino JCI delegates.

A Chit-Chat with the King

(A Humbling Interview with Leo Valdez)

Prior to sitting down with Resorts World Manila’s gems, Apple Chiu and Tanya Manalang—the two actresses who made in the seven females shortlisted in the recently concluded ‘Miss Saigon’ exploratory audition exercises, we bumped into Leo Tavarro Valdez. I was fortunate to enough to have the opportunity to have a tête-à-tête with the King, prior to his contract’s ending on December 30, 2012.

Leo is King Mongkut of Siam in the latest offering of Newport Performing Arts Theater—‘The King and I’. With his portrayal of the king, the 25th Aliw Awards recognized him as Best Actor in a Musical production.

Leo Valdez during the press conference of 'The King and I'. Photograph courtesy of Jory Rivera.

Leo Valdez during the press conference of ‘The King and I’. Photograph courtesy of Jory Rivera.

He has been playing the role since September this year and will still be doing it till May 2013, by that time—he will soon be paired by another theater stalwart, Repertory Philippines’ associate artistic director—Ms. Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as Anna Leonowens.

Despite his stature, Valdez still remains humble and reachable by anyone. When asked how did he feel that he won the award as best actor, he flashed his kingly smile, wearing his shades and his hat (for him not to be recognized by the public where we were sitting at Starbucks), and said, “I have to say—I still felt anxious and excited at the same time.”

He is no first-timer to be named as an Aliw Awardee. He was in fact, given four recognitions, including the Best Male Performer and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. The Best Actor award—is his fifth.

“It is still refreshing to accept an award,” he added.

Leo revealed that being a performer and making it big was never his dream.

“I just want to sing. I started singing in amateur singing competitions.”

At the age of six, he sang ‘God bless You Merry Gentlemen in a church Christmas event, which afterwards, he was persuaded by his mom to sing in his school and earned awards.

When he came to the Philippines, after three years of studying architecture at a university, he went on to become one of the country’s best known performers. Also, he has ventured into musical theaters, which he earned the role of the ‘Engineer’ in the hit musical that Filipinos are highly identified with due to Miss Lea Salonga’s fame as Kim in ‘Miss Saigon’. But with all these, Valdez remains the unassuming actor-performer.

Valdez is an epitome of an artist that whatever success he has earned over the years—he has remained the humble Leo and has valued every journey he has gone through to reach where he is right now. He values hard work, the discipline, focus, and the love for his craft. He is grateful to God for blessing him good health in order to excel in his performances.

For him, every member of the audience deserves his 100% commitment to deliver a great show, which he believes many of which are watching and learning about the production[s] for the first time, he has done.

Also, Leo always put weight on the ‘trust’, the love and friendship that he has developed with everyone who helped him to get through all successes he has.

“I value the trust that Sir Mackintosh gave me by leading many of ‘Miss Saigon’ productions in many parts of the world; working with some of the best stage directors and artists there is; I have had the privilege of sharing the stage with.”

As a performer and an artist, he appreciates the standing ovations and the warmest of reception accorded by the audience every time he has his shows.

In receiving awards, he has this to say: “I value the awards without underestimating the honors and the responsibility that go with them. They are wonderful icing on the cake.”

David Pomeranz’s 3-Day Concert in Manila

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – International multi-platinum singer-songwriter David Pomeranz had a series of concerts, particularly in Manila, billed as ‘The Magic of Christmas’. His concerts were held at the Heritage on Thursday, December 19, Airport Casino Filipino on Friday, December 20, and at Pavilion on Saturday, December 21, respectively.

David Pomeranz answered all the questions thrown at him by the press. Photograph courtesy of MediaNaion, Inc.

David Pomeranz answered all the questions thrown at him by the press. Photograph courtesy of MediaNaion, Inc.

After his concerts in Manila, he did more concerts in Iloilo on Sunday, December 22, in Angeles on Thursday, December 27, in Olongapo on Friday, December 28 and in Tagaytay on Saturday, December 29 as well.

During a luncheon press conference held at on Tuesday, December 18, he was asked what was his fondest memory of the Philippines, which made him keep on coming back, and he was quick to reply, “In this country, there is this phenomenon in the malls.

“The first time I did a mall tour—I was overwhelmed to see that it was packed with 10,000 people.”

Pomeranz is one of the most successful songwriters and recording artists in the international music scene. His songs have sold over 35 million copies worldwide and his musical projects have earned him a total of 18 Gold and Platinum records with hits ‘Got to Believe in Magic’ and ‘King and Queen of Hearts’.

Filipinos love him for his phenomenal hit single titled ‘Born for You’ included in the compilation album ‘Born For You – His Best and More’.

A special CD ‘You’re The Inspiration’, which includes some of his most-loved romantic songs served as his loving tribute to his fans who attended his live shows. It can also be downloaded from http://www.mymusicstore.com.ph.

The songs in the album are: ‘All Out of Love’, ‘As Long as He Needs Me’, ‘Have I Told You Lately’, ‘I’ll Be Over You’, ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’, ‘Now and Forever’, ‘The Search is Over’, ‘These Dreams’, ‘To be with You’, ‘What Matters Most’, and the title track ‘You’re the Inspiration’.

Pomeranz is being managed by Medianation here in the Philippines, alongside Marvin Agustin, and Aiza Seguerra.

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