A contagion as infectious as the coronavirus is the contagion of hope.
And when men and women spread hope — not just the feeling of hope but also brave deeds that spawn hope — they shine a bright light down the COVID-19 tunnel that we all must navigate for now.
PeopleAsia magazine trained the spotlight recently on 20 men and women from various fields for being agents of hope and inspiration in a virtual event that was a first for the magazine, blazing a trail in the “new normal.”
Brian Poe Llamanzares
PeopleAsia publisher, Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, though on leave from the magazine, strongly pushed for this event to “come to life.” Romualdez believes that despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the show must go on as a fitting tribute to the men and women who work for a cause greater than themselves, thus inspiring others in the process.
“Despite the challenging situation this year, we are glad that PeopleAsia continues to honor the ‘Men Who Matter’ and the ‘Women of Style and Substance,’ extraordinary individuals who in their own way are blazing their trails and most importantly, are making a positive difference, not only in the industries where they are in, but also in the lives of Filipinos —making this world a better place,” he said in a speech from Washington, DC.
Leading the “Men Who Matter” list is San Miguel Corp. president and COO Ramon S. Ang, whose 130-year-old company’s COVID-19 response initiatives have amounted to P13.09 billion as of end-May. Ang was joined during the virtual awards night by Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, live from Leyte; SM Supermalls president Steven Tan; Accenture Philippines country managing director Lito Tayag; St. Luke’s president and CEO Dr. Arturo dela Peña; MEGA Global CEO William Tiu-Lim; fashion designer Michael Leyva; Buskowitz group founder and CEO James Buskowitz; Kawit, Cavite Mayor Angelo Aguinaldo; MAV Furniture and Bernhardt’s Eric Po, businessman and Habitat for Humanity volunteer Brian Poe Llamanzares.
Also recognized as a special awardee was the MVP Group, led by its chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan. The MVP Group, through companies such as Metro Pacific Investments Corp., PLDT-Smart, Philex Mining and Meralco, among others, has mobilized and distributed almost P200 million worth of support, early in the fight against the pandemic. Lawyer Mike Toledo, the MVP Group’s media bureau managing director, received the award on behalf of the group.
And the show did go on. And how! There were even upbeat musical numbers by “Concert Queen” Pops Fernandez and the Marcy David Band, while the show was flawlessly woven together by its program host, Bianca Valerio.
CNN Philippines’ Pinky Webb, a veteran broadcaster who believes in reporting with fairness, accuracy and truth, led the list of “Women of Style and Substance” awardees.
Movie and TV star Marian Rivera Dantes, the cover girl for PeopleAsia’s sold out August-September issue, was also recognized, not just for her celebrity, but for her advocacy. This advocacy sees her rising at dawn to personally cook and prepare hot meals for hundreds of frontliners on a regular basis.
Also present during the virtual event were Bank of the Philippine Islands’ executive vice president Marie Josephine Ocampo, beauty queen Michele Gumabao, Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, fashion designer Ica Serafica, “The Spoiled Mummy” blogger and entrepreneur Grace Barbers-Baja, iFranchise’s Krizzia Ann Loyang Tanabe and San Manuel, Tarlac Mayor Donya Tesoro.
The amazing PeopleAsia team led by managing editor Jose Paolo Dela Cruz, art director Ramon Ruiz, marketing manager Jannette Velasco and events coordinator Gian Carla Guerrero transformed Romualdez’s vision into reality with the virtual awards night.
While the awardees received their trophies in their homes and offices, yours truly, along with Paolo, Frontrow Philippines president RS Francisco and New World Makati Hotel general manager Marcel Van Mierlo, presented the awards live, on an actual soundstage. To ensure the vibrancy of everyone on the set, COVID antigen tests were conducted on the same day as the event, and everyone got negative results — spreading positive vibes throughout the show, which was put together via Zoom and streamed live on Facebook.
The virtual show was also made a reality with the support of San Miguel Corp., Maserati Philippines, The New World Makati Hotel, M Residences, Security Bank, SM, St. Luke’s Medical Center, SM Supermalls, and The Philippine Star.
Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez welcomes guests to PeopleAsia’s first ever ‘Men Who Matter’ X ‘Women of Style & Substance’ Virtual Awards Night. Also in photo is program host Bianca Valerio.
To our awardees, and to the sponsors and friends who have steadfastly stood by PeopleAsia through the years, thank you from the bottom of our beating — not virtual — hearts.
Mike Toledo, The MVP Group
(From left) PeopleAsia marketing manager Jannette Velasco, the author, managing editor Jose Paolo Dela Cruz and events coordinator Gian Carla Guerrero
(From left) PeopleAsia graphic artist Elizabeth Laus, art director Ramon Ruiz, writer Hermes Joy Tunac and features editor Alex Vergara
‘Concert Queen’ Pops Fernandez
Mayor Richard Gomez
William Tiu Lim
Krizzia Loyang Tanabe
Lawyer Ruth Castelo
Mayor Donya Tesoro
Original article was published on Philstar