2012 Happiest Pinoy walks with his hands to happiness

Last June, I took part in the first-ever Happiness Boot Camp for Bloggers. I learned a lot during the boot camp and I believe it has helped me to look at life with a big smile on my face. It was also in that boot camp that I was introduced to Cebuana Lhuiller Insurance SolutionsSearch for the Happiest Pinoy 2012. I was able to meet Mr. Winston Maxino, the first ever Happiest Pinoy who won in 2010 and to say that I was inspired with his story is an understatement.

The search for the 2nd Happiest Pinoy has finally come to an end and besting nine other finalists and over 13,000 nominees nationwide is Rommel Arellano who hails from Bataan.

Rommel "Tsinelas" Arellano, 2012 Happiest Pinoy

This 35-year-old polio-stricken Happiest Pinoy was able to overcome his disability to become an insurance agent, a part-time instructor, a disc jockey, an emcee, a singer, a musical director, a resource speaker, a call-center agent, and a school guidance counselor. He is also the current president of the Organization of Persons with Disability in their community.

Rommel took home the title and a cash prize of Php 250,000 tax free. When asked about his reasons for being happy despite his condition, he said "In my life’s journey, I often stumble and fall. Getting up is never an issue for me.. what matters the most is I will continue my journey happily even if I have to crawl. If my purpose to this world is inspire someone in my humble ways, so be it. If would be a channel of blessing to someone who loses hope, so be it. For these are the things that I am grateful for…these are the reasons that make me happy."

The Search for the Happiest Pinoy was started in 2009 is a flagship campaign of the Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions (CLIS). It seeks to find the most optimistic and resilient Filipino despite life’s challenges in the hopes of inspiring other people to do the same.

Present during the awarding ceremony at the Makati Shang-ri La Hotel were P.J. Lhuillier Inc. (PJLI) chairman and ambassador to Portugal Philippe Jones Lhuillier, PJLI president and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier, and first Happiest Pinoy awardee Winston Maxino.

The Search for the Happiest Pinoy honorees included student leader Arnel Alipao, family counselor Gilda Fortunata Altez, peace coordinator Connie Emborong, teachers Marcelo Otinguey and Concepcion Tababa, college instructor John Gabriel Pelias, entrepreneurs Gerald Raymundo and Rebecca Tiu Conco and utility worker Leonardo Villanueva.

The Happiest Pinoy 2012 panel of judges included Ramon Magsaysay Foundation president and CEO Ma. Carmencita Abella, Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, PJLI chief administrative officer Jose Miguel Jimenez, 2010 Happiest Pinoy awardee Winston Maxino, 2009 CNN Hero of the Year Efren PeƱaflorida, Brahma Kumaris Foundation Philippines president Dr. Leticia Ramon-Shahani, University of the Asia and Pacific senior vice president Dr. Bernardo Villegas and Philippine National Red Cross governor Miguel Zubiri.

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  1. reading your posts inspires me more. i believe that when we have happiness in our heart, everything will follow.

  2. Jennifer Legaspi-AspacioOctober 1, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Rommel is someone who we all should emulate! If in his handicap, he is able to do the things he did, tayo pa! Galing! Bravo, Rommel! :)

  3. Living life to the fullest despite his physical challenges is truly admirable. He is an inspiration to us all.

  4. congratulations to him, hopefully he'll be an inspiration to everyone :)

  5. Aww. Such an inspiration for all of us. I will do the same thing. Will never give up. ^^

  6. I love to read inspiring stories like this. We tend to complain even about the littlest thing, but this guy knows how to live a happy life despite his physical challenges.

  7. It's amazing how one's positive perspective in life can make a big difference in one's life and those around him. So very inspiring! :)

  8. These people are just pure inspiration. To think that I often think that my situation is the worst...

  9. sigrid @ lovinglymamaOctober 3, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    His story is really very inspiring. Makes me look at myself and my ocasional grumblings. hehe Guilty.

  10. the life this extraordinary man led is a very classic example that happiness is a choice! instead of wallowing in sadness + self-pity, he used his handicap to his advantage + did not allow it to hinder him on living the life he dreams + achieving his dreams. he is truly one inspiring Filipino we can all derive inspirations from!

  11. grabe what an achievement! deserve talaga nya mabigyan ng Happiest Pinoy award! :)


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