Friday, 20 May 2011

Filipinos who make us proud

by Harold Geronimo
Manila Standard

We’re lucky that in this generation, we have witnessed succeeding triumphs of the Filipino in different fields. Amid the roaring internal controversies and issues that our nation is facing, we still have enough reasons to be proud about being Filipinos. This week, we salute five Filipinos who helped put our country in a remarkable place in the world map of success.

1. Manny Pacquiao

Undoubtedly, this number one pound-for-pound best boxer of the world has brought the Philippines to the international spotlight. He is the first boxer in history to win ten world titles and first to win in eight weight divisions. Just recently, he again wowed the world when he successfully defended his WBO World Welterweight title against three-division world champion Shane Mosley via lopsided unanimous decision at the MGM Grand Arena. Because of his triumphant years in boxing, Pacquiao (or Pacman) is now one of the wealthiest athletes in the world.

2. Charice

Charice may have not clinched the grand champion title in ABS-CBN’s Little Big Star in 2005, but she made it instantly big in the international scene after an avid supporter posted her performance videos on YouTube. Since then, she was invited to perform in several shows in the US, and has performed with some of the world’s most popular singers like Celine Dion. Dubbed as “the most talented girl in the world” by Oprah Winfrey, Charice is the only Asian and Filipino singer in history to land in the Top 10 of Billboard 200 album chart for her first international album, Charice, released last year. The country became even prouder for her guest appearances on Glee, making her the first Filipino to become part of the hit TV series.

3. Rico Hizon

Being the only Asian and Filipino to anchor two of the world’s most prestigious television news organizations, CNBC Business News and BBC World News, Rico Hizon has gone a long way in broadcast journalism. In his two-decade career as a broadcast journalist, Rico has interviewed some of the world’s newsmakers like Bill Gates, Former US President Bill Clinton and even NBA Superstar Kobe Bryant. He now anchors BBC World News’ Asia Business Report and Asia Today programs that are being watched by approximately 350 million households worldwide. Though he is based in Singapore, Rico comes home once in a while to visit relatives, speak for events or to spend time with his family on a vacation in what he considers as his “real home.”

4. Kenneth Cobonpue

No other Filipino furniture makers have reached the international success of Kenneth Cobonpue. This 42-year old Cebu-based entrepreneur is known for his modern, indigenous, carefully-crafted functional pieces that has gained popularity in many parts of the world. His creations have been featured in several American TV shows and films. Among his most valued clientele is Hollywood’s most popular couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. He has provided furniture and fixtures to some of the world’s luxury hotels and resorts in Spain, Greece, United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Maldives. Truly, Kenneth Cobonpue is a brand himself that the Philippines will always be proud of.

5. Monique Lhuillier

Another native of Cebu is also leaving a mark in the international fashion industry, specifically in Hollywood. She is 40-year old Diane Monique Lhuillier who now owns a couture fashion house in Los Angeles, California. During the annual Oscars, Monique’s name isn’t always missed as many famous Hollywood celebrities wear her gowns perfect for the red carpet. Among her clientele are Reese Witherspoon, Drew Marrymore, Hilary Swank, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez and Catherine Zeta-Jones. She is now a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

For your comments and views, you may e-mail me at or follow me on Twitter: harold_geronimo

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