We asked for nominations and you sent an overwhelming response!
Now on its second year, Pitong Pinoy has proven there is no shortage of heroes; all we need is to find them among us. So after almost a month-long search and an arduous screening of almost a hundred nominations from Filipinos all over the world, here are the Top 12 finalists of the Yahoo! PH Pitong Pinoy 2.0 awards:
(In alphabetical order)
1. Nestor Archival
Local politicians sponsoring scholars is nothing new but local politicians using their own salaries and then continuing to support scholars even after leaving office is. That’s what engineer, and former Talamban and Cebu City councilor Nestor Archival did, and still does.
2. Michael Bengwayan
Bengwayan has invented a fuel for the poor and is an environmental activist—he was at the forefront of the campaign to block a plan by mall developer SM to ball pine trees in its Baguio mall—a scientist, and has a doctorate in Environmental Research Management from the University College-Dublin in Ireland.
3. Miguel Bermundo
Dream Big Pilipinas, founded by Pitong Pinoy finalist Miguel Bermundo, has a simple but lofty goal: to make underprivileged kids take a chance at a better life thru playing football. He is indeed changing lives, one ball at a time.
4. Charito Chua
For some 13 years now, Charito Chua and her husband Anthony has been carrying out an unbelievable but real mission in Davao City: to feed homeless kids and take them in, and treat them like family.
5. Alvin Dakis
This young nurse has accomplished a lot in advocating against HIV and sexuality and he is also the youngest member of the expert panel of both Senate and House committees that reviewed and finalized the controversial RH bill.
6. Gerry dela Zerna
Dela Zerna in 1997 founded Guided and Unified Interaction for the Development of Children, Inc. (GUIDE, Inc.), a volunteer organization aimed a promoting the welfare of children and youth with special physical, mental or emotional needs--including orphaned, abandoned and street children.
7. Josephine Erece
Josephine Erece, a missionary and pastor with the Rivers of the Living Water church, had had enough of seeing teenagers as young as 13 working in the videoke clubs in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, so she brought them home.
8. Gerry Gamez
Filipinos who complain about having only two arms yet being expected to do so much should meet Gerry Gamez, a one-armed man who actively promotes patriotism, constantly volunteers for community service and has built two classrooms in his hometown.
9. Jerry Gumpad
Jerry Gumpad, is an ordinary overseas Filipino worker with an extra-ordinary advocacy. A worker in Saudi Arabia, Pitong Pinoy nominee Gumpad has helped several co-OFWs and other poor but highly-deserving farmers achieve better lives through his mobile pigs program.
10. Janella Lelis
While most of her neighbors fled to higher ground amid typhoon Juaning in July last year to save their lives and property from flood, a 12-year-old girl braved the strong current of the murky water to save the Philippine flag.
11. Ted Ponferrada
Ponferrada, blind since he was 11, was able to participate and even help the blind get involved in the Lenten tradition “pabasa,” thanks to his persistence and to the people who believed he could. Well, he didn’t ask for a miracle to get his sight back—all he needed was determination and good Braille skills.
12. Angelo Valencia
Valencia began building classrooms as a way of giving back to the guides who help mountaineers ascend Pulag but that advocacy has grown—with him partnering up with TEN (The Entire Nation) Moves—into a campaign to build 10,000 classrooms in public schools across the Philippines.
While the final six Pitong Pinoy winners are to be picked by the Yahoo! PH Editorial team, this year we are giving YOU the power to choose the recipient of the Pitong Pinoy “People’s Choice” award from our top 12 finalists. You can vote via our poll in the Pitong Pinoy page until 3:00 pm of August 15, 2012. The finalist who will top the poll will become the “People’s Choice” winner, who will then complete the Pitong Pinoy final awardees.
Indeed, heroes still abound: they have touched lives, inspired many, made an impact in society, spread great hope, and stayed undaunted by life’s challenges. It's time to recognize their efforts, in our own, little way.