MANILA, FEBRUARY 2, 2012 (STAR) By May Serrano (PHOTO - Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, PeopleAsia’s ‘Man of the Decade,’ is flanked by People of the Year awardees Miss Universe third runner-up Shamcey Supsup and Miss World First Princess Gwendoline Ruais.)

MANILA, Philippines - In celebration of its 12th anniversary, PeopleAsia magazine cast the limelight anew on truly inspirational and talented Filipino heroes through the much-anticipated “People of the Year” awards held recently at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

Coming from various fields and walks of life, PeopleAsia’s “People of the Year” are beacons of Filipino pride, led by the world’s first and only eight-division boxing champion, Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, who was acclaimed “Man of the Decade.”

“Naglalako po ako ng sampaguita at bulaklak sa may Baclaran para kumita ng pera para makapag-aral iyong mga kapatid ko at para may pambili ng pagkain ang pamilya ko. Minsan hindi pa rin po ako makapaniwala sa buhay na narating ko ngayon. Higit sa lahat, mahirap paniwalaan na ako ngayon ay isa na sa nasa posisyon upang makatulong sa mga nagugutom, mga walang bahay at nawawalan ng pag-asa sa buhay. (I used to sell sampaguita garlands and other flowers in Baclaran to earn money so my siblings could go to school, so my family could eat. Sometimes I still cannot believe of the life I have achieved now. More than that, I find it hard to believe that I am now in the position to help the hungry, homeless and hopeless),” Pacquiao shared in his moving speech.

[PHOTO - Kevin Belmonte and George Yang.]

Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up Shamcey Supsup and Miss World 2011 First Princess Gwendoline Ruais, who both reclaimed the country’s exalted status in international beauty pageants, also received the prestigious award.

Other awardees included the longest-serving Philippine senator post-EDSA, Edgardo Angara; Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago; business tycoon Henry Sy Jr.; acclaimed lensman Jun de Leon; National Artist Ben Cabrera; celebrated musician Louie Ocampo; top businesswoman Evelyn Singson; and broadcast journalists Ted Failon and Mel Tiangco. Also cited were McDonald’s Philippines founder George Yang and Makabata Foundation and Poveda School co-founder Maruxa Pita. The latter received PeopleAsia’s inaugural People’s Choice Award.


[PHOTO - Leo and Carmen Garcia, Manny Pacquiao, and Rose Anne and Kevin Belmonte.]

Entertainment was provided by the cast of Mamma Mia!, the Opera Belles and Richard Poon.

“People of the Year” was presented by PeopleAsia magazine in cooperation with Dusit Thani Hotel Manila, HSBC, Thai Airways, Volvo, Luxe A-List Desserts, Aboitiz, International Container Terminal Services Inc., Rustan’s The Beauty Source and The Philippine STAR.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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