Zaldy Bueno, Public School Teacher in Quezon, Hailed Cebuana Lhuillier's Happiest Pinoy 2019 - The Filipino Rambler


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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Zaldy Bueno, Public School Teacher in Quezon, Hailed Cebuana Lhuillier's Happiest Pinoy 2019

It was a night of Pinoy Pride, the whole ballroom filled with heartwarming and inspiring stories. It is the Gabi ng Parangal of Cebuana Lhuillier's Happiest Pinoy 2019.

Zaldy Bueno, 37, a public school teacher in Gumaca, Quezon, was in disbelief when his name was flashed on the screen as this year's Happiest Pinoy. He bested other nine finalists -the creme dela creme from the 800,000 entries received- and won himself 1 Million pesos.

Zaldy is now the 4th Happiest Pinoy and joins the roster of past winners- Winston Maxino, Rommel Arellano and Richardson Navor. It is a search helmed by Cebuana Lhuillier which honors and celebrates the Filipino's innate optimism, resilience, and hope amidst different life crises. (Also READ: Art of Being Happy)

Before the winner was revealed,the program opened with a prayer and the singing of the National Anthem led by the UP Singing Ambassadors. El Gamma Penumbra rendered a powerful number that showcased the Filipino workers hard work, love and dedication. Mark Cando, an up and coming star, gave a song number and the UP Singing Ambassadors performed two more songs.

RJ Ledesma hosted the event. James Deakin, Gang Badoy-Capati and Jonathan Yabut helped him introduce the 10 finalists. All four of them are also part of the board of judges.

Completing this year's board of judges are Usec. Zenaida Maglaya, Love Anover- Lianko, and the past Happiest Pinoy winners- Winston Maxino, Rommel Arellano and Richardson Navor. They unanimously chose Bueno by virtue of his advocacy to see more children's lives change through education.

I am very happy with the results of this year's search-- with over 800,000 entries received through our branches, online, SMS andwalk-in entries. It's been amazing to read the entries of the 10 finalists and Zaldy proves to be a worthy winner as his tale will definitely inspire countless people to push on despite life's difficulties. Zaldy exemplifies the commendable Filipino spirit of rising up from your current predicament and using that as a fuel to make a difference in the lives of others.- Jean Henri Lhuiller, Cebuana Lhuillier President and CEO

Bueno shared he will use the prize to acquire more bike units for Project PADYAK. He also wish to bring his family and his parents to Singapore for a well-deserved vacation.
Sa lahat po ng mga Pilipino sa buong mundo at mga taong malapit ng bumitaw, pakatandaan nyo na ang pinagdaraanan nyo, ngitian nyo lang. Darating ang araw , katulad ngayon,ang lahat ng hirap tatawanan nyo lang.  - Zaldy Bueno, Happiest Pinoy 2019


  • He was born to a poor family in Gumaca, Quezon. As a kid, he would always accompany his mother in doing laundry for 7 families.
  • Their home was heavily devastated due to the wrath of Typhoon Rosing in 1995. The health center became their shelter for months and would move their things every time there's a scheduled clinic day.
  • Despite the many hardships that came their way, Zaldy was determined to persevere and finish his studies. He planted and sold pechay and mustasa to his neighbors to sustain his allowance in school.
  • During college, he had to stop schooling to work as a waiter at local food hub in Gumaca. He'd feel jealous whenever he would serve his classmates who ate at the restaurant he works at.
  • He also worked as a sales agent and had numbers of promissory notes and loans availed for his college education. It was a not a walk in the park- he stopped schooling twice, did back-breaking jobs to being a student-assistant. It took him six years to finish his four-year degree.
  • Knowing the pain and hardship of having less to finish an education, he realized this was his advocacy- to help students who are going through the same challenges he once had.
  • He got a scholarship from Singapore and delivered the valedictory address at the Regional Language Centre. He volunteered to be an ALS teacher and taught during weekends. His mother, who did not finish high school, was in his class.
  • Zaldy also co-founded PADYAK ( Pidal Apakan Dunong Yayaman, Asenso'y Kakamtan).It is a project that provides bicycles to students who do not have the means to get to school to prevent absenteeism.
  • The project was a success and received a lot of new and used donated bikes here and abroad.   

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