Cebuana Lhuillier hailed this year’s Happiest Pinoy — Zaldy Bueno, a public school teacher
Cebuana Lhuillier’s Search for the Happiest Pinoy started in 2009. It’s a bi-annual nationwide campaign where three people were already hailed in the past — Richardson Navor (2015), Rommel Arellano (2012), and Winston Maxino (2009) — each with different stories. Surprised and in tears, Zaldy Bueno, a public school teacher from Quezon, is the Happiest Pinoy 2019. Finalist for the Professional category, he is a head teacher of the English Department in Gumaca National High School.
His life story
Growing up, he endured a hard life with his family. Due to financial problems, his mother had to do laundry services for their neighbors for them to survive. They lost their home because of a typhoon in 1995 and experienced sleeping in a health center just to have a place to stay. He had to plant and sell vegetables just to have an allowance for his schooling.
During his college years, he had to juggle two jobs — one as an agent for a local radio station and the other as a student assistant — just to have funds for his tuition fees. He was able to graduate after 6 years, then took the licensure exam, and became a full-time public school teacher. Despite all of these challenges in his life, he still stood up strong and face each one of it to pursue his goal — to improve his family’s life.
He got a scholarship at Regional Language Centre in Singapore and graduated as the valedictorian. When he came back, he volunteered to be an ALS teacher during weekends where his mom became his student.
After all the rough times he’ve been through, he knows the hardship of every young children who experience financial problems. And in order to help, Zaldy established a project in 2017 which aims to bring more children to school. The project is called PADYAK or Pidal Apakan Dunong Yayaman, Asenso’y Kakamtan which provide bicycles for students who could not afford to travel to school.
Project PADYAK caught the eyes of many people across the country and started donating new and used bicycle units. Even OFWs participated in giving donations. The project was proven to be successful and truly increased the attendance of students in different schools.
“I am very happy with the results of this year’s search — with over 800,000 entries received through our branches, online, SMS, and walk-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 fuel to make a difference in the lives of others,”said Cebuana Lhuillier President and CEO, Jean Henri Lhuillier
Happiest Pinoy 2019
As a grand winner, Zaldy received PHP 1-million pesos (tax-free) from Cebuana Lhuillier. When asked what will he do with his prize, he said that a part of it will be used for project PADYAK so more youths can go to school. He also wishes to use a part of it to bring his parents to Singapore for vacation.
Truly his patience and perseverance paid off. Congratulations to Zaldy Bueno, the Happiest Pinoy 2019. To know more about Cebuana Lhuillier’s advocacies, follow them on Facebook.