Inspiring stories, suggestions for a better 2015


NOT only does 2015 serves as a good reason to reflect on past year, it also offers a clean slate to start things right for the New Year. To encourage Filipinos to do their best, The Sunday Times Magazine presents stories of people, places and events that will inspire them to take that step toward a better life and year ahead.

Be happy
Filipinos are recognized over the world for their ability to smile despite the adversities that come their way, and ultimately, rise above life’s challenges.

Rommel arellano during his acceptance speech at the 2nd Happiest Pinoy awards

Rommel arellano during his acceptance speech at the 2nd Happiest Pinoy awards

Take for instance, Rommel Arellano who, at the age of one, was stricken with polio.

Since then, his only means of walking and moving about were his arms and hands covered with slippers. Growing up, he did not wallow in self-pity and instead, rose above his situation and accomplished even able-bodied people would find challenging.

Through the years, he worked as an insurance agent, disk jockey, emcee, singer and musician, as well as a call center agent. He even became a resource speaker and school guidance counselor at some point.

Yet above all these, what Arellano considers as his greatest achievement is helping others, particularly influencing and inspiring them to be optimistic in life. And it is no wonder that Rommel was given the Happiest Pinoy recognition in 2012.

Organized by Cebuana Lhuillier, the Search for the Happiest Pinoy opened again in 2014 with a grand prize of P1-million, while nine runners-up will receive P50,000.

The micro financial company will also give special prizes to the Happiest Student and Happiest Overseas Filipino Worker.

“With our Search for the Happiest Pinoy, we want to recognize outstanding Filipinos who are able to both rise above life’s challenges and positively impact the lives of other people with their positive outlook in life,” said Michael Sena, Cebuana Lhuillier’s Integrated Marketing Communications Group head. “This is our way of celebrating the values of optimism, resilience, and hope among Filipinos.”

Filipinos, 18 years old and above, with good moral character can be nominated to the search. Nomination forms are available at, or in any of Cebuana Lhuillier’s more than 1,700 branches nationwide, to enable more people to nominate the happiest Filipinos in the country. Deadline of submission is until March 31.

For more information on the search, visit the official fan page at, or follow on Twitter and Instagram @happiestpinoy.

Be united

 united for Healthier Kids calls on Filipinos to help fight undernutrition in kids

united for Healthier Kids calls on Filipinos to help fight undernutrition in kids

In 2014, a multi-sectoral initiative to address the serious problem of child under-nutrition in the country was launched. Called United for Healthier Kids (U4HK), the advocacy aims to work with parents in providing children ages 4 to12 years old with adequate nutrition.

The 2013 National Nutrition Survey indicates that about 30 percent of Filipino children are undernourished. Consistent under-nutrition leads to serious health issues including stunting, which contributes to conditions in adulthood such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and even obesity.

To further strengthen people’s commitment to U4HK this year, Nestlé Philippines in collaboration with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology, Facebook, ABS-CBN, and other partners held a Partners’ Night at the Rockwell Tent in Makati City.

“The good news is, there is something we can do about it,” said Nestlé Philippines Chairman and CEO John Miller. “Indeed it is a long journey ahead of us, but the journey always starts with the first step. With the launch of U4HK in the Philippines, Nestlé and its partners have taken the first step.”

Lending her support, ABS-CBN president Charo Santos-Concio said, “For us, Nestlé, the FNRI and all other partners of U4HK, there is no such thing as a small step. An eye-opening campaign such as this will undoubtedly have an effect in ensuring a healthier Philippines.”

For more information, visit To access videos on the advocacy, visit

Be fit
Every start of a new year, Filipinos are determined more than ever to achieve their fitness goals. But if a 50-year-old grandmother can be fit and healthy all the time, there is no excuse left for them not to do so.

 Maria Cristina Tan, a 50-year-old grandma, serves as ‘fitspiration’ to everyone

Maria Cristina Tan, a 50-year-old grandma, serves as ‘fitspiration’ to everyone

This “fitspiration” granda is Maria Cristina Tan who became the 2014 overall winner of the Fitness First Philippines’ New You Achievement Award. Not only that, Tan also proved her love for weight training when she topped the strength category.

Back in 2012 when she first entered Fitness First, Tan tipped the scales at 197 lbs. With her passion for strength training, love for going to the gym, and tremendous support from her daughter, she is now down to a well-defined 133 lbs. And as testament to her strength, she can also easily do pull-ups, dips with weights, heavy squats and bench-press of 60 kilograms.

“I hope I can serve as an inspiration to all women, most especially to my fellow grandmothers, that it is never too late to get into fitness,” Tan shared.

Every year, Fitness First Philippines celebrates the incredible health and fitness achievements of its members and staff through the annual New You Achievement Awards with five categories—health, shape, sport, strength and staff.

Be complete
If you are one of those who eat three full meals a day with snacks in between, a cup of coffee, tea or juice yet still think that your body needs more,
and worse even feel sluggish, limited, and incomplete, you’re probably among the 70 percent of Filipinos who don’t get the right amount of vitamins and minerals they need for the day.

This fact is based on the “Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures of 2008” released by the Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology.

Now is the best time to address this health concern as Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, through Centrum, launched the #Be Complete movement with the goal of imparting the importance of living life at 100 percent by fulfilling the daily nutritional requirements that the body needs.

“The current fast-paced lifestyle of today’s generation is actually doing them no good, considering the easy option of getting their fast-food fix. Their current diet isn’t ideal. Now, this is where multivitamins would come in,” shared Dr. Gemiliano Aligui of the Philippine Association of Nutrition Inc.

Be joyful
For what seems like merely child’s play, the things learned from an afternoon of running or jumping are priceless. As a group’s leader, a child can learn important values that will make him a better person as he gets older. As a player, he learns to test his limits and see what he can achieve in the future. More importantly, as a friend, he plays for the joy being with one team.

 One Goal program focuses on providing values, nutrition learning, and skills through different forms of play

One Goal program focuses on providing values, nutrition learning, and skills through different forms of play

For this, Mondelez Philippines has partnered with World Vision for their One Goal program that encourages children to go out, be active, play for joy and learn lifelong skills.

While a three-day workshop for One Goal was held in 2014, more activities are planned for 2015, kicking off with an eight-week coaching session for students from January to February. Come summer time, a sports camp will open for more students to learn nutrition knowledge and sports skills from kids who have then been trained as “coaches” through the earlier sessions.

The road to this partnership began in 2013 when the two companies partnered for the “Eats for Joy” initiative. The name may not be familiar, but Mondelez Philippines as the former Kraft Foods has been providing delicious products for the past five decades including Eden Cheese, Tang, Oreo and Toblerone. Through the “Eats for Joy” initiative, Filipinos not only got to enjoy treats made with Mondelez Philippines products from partner establishments, they also got to donate to World Vision.
“One Goal” is both a culmination of this donation and the beginning of creating more joy for children who will learn from it.

“Play may seem like a simple concept. But because learning is best done while having fun, we aim to use play as a means to educate children about values, nutrition, healthy and balanced living, and taking stewardship of their bodies through sports,” explained World Vision’s associate director for Fundraising, Jun Godornes. “For supporting this goal, we thank Mondelez Philippines. Despite being two different entities, we both share the same goal of promoting healthy and balanced lifestyles and right nutrition for children’s over-all well-being.”
For more information, visit

Be home
Aspiring homeowners looking for housing options this year may consider suburban Laguna as one of the best options in Central Luzon as property developer SOC Land bares its newest residential development, Althea Residences.

Situated in Biñan, Laguna, Althea Residences will offer modern homes with a tranquil vibe strategically spread out in 4.3 hectares of land. Homeowners can choose from three housing options—Aurea for two-storey single-detached homes, Ayanna for single-attached homes and Aralia for bungalow homes.

According to Felimon Yee Jr., SOC Land vice president for sales and marketing, the property development was carefully planned to ensure low density. “We understand that for home owners, especially those with children, ample space to move around is an essential factor in selecting a home,” he said. “It’s something that we offer an abundance of in Althea because we value that kind of luxury,” he explained.

Besides the promise of privacy, Althea residents will also have access to amenities including a basketball and badminton court, swimming pools for kids and adults, club house, children’s playground, and parks and jogging paths, as well as commercial spaces.

Althea Residences is part of SOC Land’s growing portfolio. SOC Land is the property arm of holding company South China Resources, the same developer behind Anuva—a multi-building development located along the Sucat Interchange.

For more information about Althea Residences, log on to


Please follow our commenting guidelines.

Comments are closed.