Make That Conscious Choice To Be Happy, Says First-Ever Happiest Pinoy

What makes you happy? Is it having a successful career or business? Is it having a huge home and a luxurious car? Or is it as simple as just having your family and true friends beside you? I choose the last one. It sounds cliché, but really, I will only be truly happy with my family and friends beside me. Baka iniisip niyong ipokrita ako, pero ito ang totoo kong nararamdaman.

My husband and I once had a conversation about true happiness and he said that happiness is really a personal choice. You may have all the riches in the world but you can’t be truly happy if you don’t choose to be happy. And I agree with him. Don’t get me wrong. Clinical depression is a different story. What I am saying here are the people who still look for happiness despite having everything they need in the world.

The first-ever Happiest Pinoy, Winston Maxino

Winston Maxino 2010 Happiest Pinoy
Winston Maxino, 2010 Happiest Pinoy

The same philosophy was echoed by Winston Maxino, the 2010 Cebuana Lhuillier Happiest Pinoy. In the recent Laughternoon event sponsored by Cebuana Lhuillier for bloggers in celebration of the International Day of Happiness, he said that one has to make that conscious choice to be happy. Of all the people in the venue that afternoon, I believe that he was the most credible person to say that. Why? It’s because even with having Ankylosing Spondylitis which has him writhing in pain most days of his life, he still manages to be positive in life! You can watch his full speech in the live video I posted below. You will also be able to watch the Laughter Yoga session we had with Pinoy Laughter Yoga founder, Paolo Trinidad.

I first met Mr. Maxino at the Happiness Boot Camp for Bloggers that was also hosted by Cebuana Lhuillier in 2012. By the way, it was during that bootcamp that my barkadahan with fellow mommy bloggers, Jen Aspacio of, Iris Pulga of, and Iris Acosta of was born. Grasyas (the name we call ourselves) came from the Grasya room that we shared during that overnight trip in Tagaytay. I wrote about that including the major takeaways I had from the Happiness Bootcamp HERE.

(L-R) Iris A, me, Jen, and Iris P.

During that event, I also got to know about his daughter, Brina, who has Down Syndrome. Napahanga talaga ako ng taong ito! Kung iba lang iyan, baka nagalit na sa Diyos at isiping grabe namang kamalasan ang ibinigay sa pamilya nila. He related how the doctors told them that Brina will not live long. Well, guess what? Brina Maxino has made a name for herself as “the Pinay with Down Syndrome who got invited to the White House” and the “girl with Down Syndrome who graduated from college.” Search her on Google! Yep, she’s that awesome girl!

Here’s another fact that had me in awe of Sir Winston-- he donated his winnings to charity. He did not use even a single cent to spend on his medical needs. He said that if he did that, the prize would only benefit his family. But if he donated the prize for a worthy cause, dozens upon dozens of lives will be changed for the better. Being recognized as the Happiest Pinoy that year was enough for him. Helping others who are more in need will make him happier.

Cebuana Lhuillier's Happiness Advocacy

Truly, Cebuana Lhuillier chose the best person to be named Happiest Pinoy in the person of Sir Winston. And the company has continued to do so in the succeeding searches:

Happiest Pinoy 2018 launch
Photo shows PJ Lhuillier, Inc. (standing, from left) First Vice President and IMC group head Michael Sena, President and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier, Senior Executive Vice President Philippe Andre Lhuillier, and First Vice President for Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions, Foundation and Business Solutions Jonathan Batangan. They are joined by 2015 Happiest Pinoy Richardson Navor and 2012 Happiest Pinoy Rommel Arellano during the 2018 Search for the Happiest Pinoy launch.

  • Rommel Arellano, Happiest Pinoy 2012 - Rommel's polio condition did not hinder him in life. In fact, he was able to juggle different jobs such as bein an insurance agent, disk jockey, emcee, singer and musician, call center agent, resource speaker, and school guidance counselor.
  • Richardson Navor, Happiest Pinoy 2015 - Richardson bested nine other finalists with his positive outlook in life despite having Cerebral Palsy. He was able to graduate as Magna Cum Laude and was selected as one of the Jose Rizal Model Students of the Philippines and Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines.
The Search for the Happiest Pinoy aims to rekindle the values of optimism, resilience, and hope in Filipinos amidst the many challenges that arise in their lives. For this campaign, the company has been recognized by the International Business Awards 2011 (Stevies), 48th Anvil Awards (2012), Philippine Quill Awards (2013), Panata Awards (2015), and Golden Bridge Awards (2015)

By the end of March, Cebuana Lhuillier will announce the top 20 finalists that were screened from more than 800 thousand entries. And in a few weeks, a new Happiest Pinoy winner will be announced. The latest search was made more exciting with the introduction of 10 new categories to enable various sectors in the society to be represented. These include:

  1. Youth Category
  2. Senior Category
  3. Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Category
  4. Manggagawang Pinoy Category
  5. Professional Category
  6. Lingkod Bayan Category
  7. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Category
  8. Entrepreneur Category
  9. Employee Category
  10. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Community Category
Stay tuned for the announcement of the new Happiest Pinoy who will win one million pesos! For more details on the search, you may visit

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