(STAR) PEOPLE By Joanne Rae M. Ramirez - The much awaited “People of the Year” of People Asia magazine will take center stage at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza on Jan. 21. To be emceed by Johnny Litton and Korina Sanchez, this year’s awards night is extra special, not only because of the powerhouse lineup of awardees, but also because it coincides with the magazine’s 10th anniversary. It was also at the Sofitel that the magazine, with the late Max Soliven as founding publisher, was born a decade ago.

Despite the twists and turns and the occasional bumps, it’s been a good ride for People Asia. The past 10 years have taken People Asia to a good place and we thank God, our stakeholders, advertisers and readers for that.

Our publisher Babe Romualdez says: “Like most magazines, we experienced some difficulty coming out at the onset, but once we got started, everyone agreed: all the proverbial birth pangs were well worth it.”

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This year’s “People of the Year” are achievers and newsmakers, visionaries and trailblazers, legends as well as extraordinary young guns.

Get to know them:

Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III: Because of the present state of things, many Filipinos suddenly realized what they had to look for in their next leader come May 2010 — someone who will not lie to and steal from them. They found that person in the only son of the late icons of democracy — President Cory Aquino and Sen. Ninoy Aquino.

Nedy Tantoco: When she took over the helm of Rustan’s in 2008, Zenaida “Nedy” Tantoco, eldest daughter of Rustan’s founders Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco and the late Glecy Rustia Tantoco, knew she had a legacy to uphold. Two years later, she is still doing her parents — and Rustan’s — proud.

Efren Peñaflorida: Refusing to allow his circumstances to define him, CNN Hero for 2009 Efren Peñaflorida is writing his own future and helping children of the Cavite City slums do the same, by improving the standard of public secondary education with his pushcart advocacy called the “Kariton Klasrum.”

Charo Santos-Concio: She is the fifth president of ABS-CBN — and the very first woman to be so. Charo is a shining example of how the glass ceiling has been broken in the Philippines. If you ask her though she sees it as a story of destiny — a story of how a simple, dyed-in-the wool fan of showbiz broke through in a very big way.

Gilberto Teodoro Jr.: Intelligent and politically untainted, Gilbert aims to be a healing president. “I don’t want to run a campaign based on negativity. What sets me apart from the rest is that I run on a platform aimed towards healing past wounds.”

Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, S.J.: Things one probably doesn’t know about the Ateneo de Manila president: He holds a doctorate in Math from Standford, was conferred the 1981 Ordre des Palmes Academiques by France for his contributions to Mathematics, he is a 2001 Palanca awardee, and he was conferred an honorary doctorate in 2004 by the Ateneo’s arch rival — De La Salle University.

Jessica Soho: GMA-7 vice president for news programs Jessica Soho has received the much coveted George Foster Peabody Award for Investigative Journalism in 2000, the Ten Outstanding Young Men Award in 1993, and just recently, the Catholic Mass Media Awards’ Best Public Service Program. “I really try not to take myself so seriously because for me, journalism is about the message, it should not be about us.”

Inno Sotto: Thirty years in an industry where the only constant is change, how has the prince of Philippine Fashion remained a steady force? Inno’s secret is this — he has distilled the essence of fashion and imbued it in his pieces. “I don’t design intentionally to create an image. The impression is all of your making.”

Nonito Donaire Jr.: There is another champ in our midst who has brought honor to the Philippines. Bullied as a kid, Donaire is the WBA interim world champion in the Super Flyweight category.


Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera: At the DOJ, Devanadera has shown her mettle in resolving a multitude of cases by not losing sight of the rules of evidence and laws. “I maintain objectivity, but I always believe that I should have the sensitivity.”



Rico Hizon: He is often lauded for his achievements in international broadcasting. But it is for his nationalism that he should be reaping all the accolades. His brainchild,, trumpets good news about the Philippines.

Mita Rufino: For over 300 years, it was difficult for Filipinos to want to look back because the first thing they feel is chagrin. Filipinos must see past their past to move forward. That is art patron Mita Rufino’s goal.

Emil Jurado: Best known for his column “To the Point,” at the Manila Standard Today, Jurado has delivered exposes from the time of the presidency of Elpidio Quirino. He has explored every nook and cranny of the country in search of the most elusive stories.

Bernd Schneider: The moment one steps into the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, one is swept into the grandness of its surroundings. Much of the credit for the hotel’s transformation goes to its former general manager, Bernd Schneider.

Kaye Tinga: She is her husband Taguig Mayor Freddie Tinga’s “fort” and she is Taguig’s gauze net — helping keep children and unemployed women from falling into sickness and despair.


Manny Pacquiao: Simply, the world’s best pound-for-pound boxing champion. ‘Nuff said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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