A kababayan from Quezon was the luckiest of the 10 finalists and 800,000 hopefuls in the prestigious search for Cebuana Lhuillier Happiest Pinoy 2019.
Mr. Zaldy Ordiales Bueno, a 37-year old public school teacher from Gumaca received a trophy and P1 million cash during the awarding ceremony at the New World Hotel, Makati last May 26.
Bueno was unanimously chosen by the board of judges composed of Usec. Zenaida Maglaya, Gang Badoy Capati, James Deakin, RJ Ledesma, Love Anover-Lianko, Jonathan Yabut, Winston Maxino, Rommel Arellano, and Richardson Navor to be the 4th Happiest Pinoy, because of his advocacy to see more children’s lives change through education plus the fact that he reflected the Filipinos’ innate “optimism, resilience, and hope amidst different life crises.”
Even though Bueno was born to a poor family in Gumaca, he studied hard and persevered. To make both ends meet, he accompany his mother in doing laundry for 7 families. Aside from this, he planted and sold pechay and mustasa to his neighbors to sustain allowance for school.
It took him 6 years to finish college, as he have to work as a waiter in a local restaurant in Gumaca and a sideline job as a sales agent at a radio station, plus a student assistant.
Zaldy conquered all these challenges even after graduating and practice teaching. He passed the licensure exam and became a full-pledge teacher who help students who are going through the same challenges he once did.
His most colorful life in the teaching industry was volunteering as an Alternative Learning System teacher, where
he had his mother as his student at one point and helped her finish her secondary education.
Zaldy also co-founded project PADYAK in 2017, PADYAK stands for Pidal Apakan Dunong Yayaman, Asenso’y Kakamtan, which aims to provide bicycle units for students who could not afford to travel to school. This project was a success and received a huge support from Filipinos around the globe.
Currently, Bueno serves as the head teacher of the English department at the Gumaca National High School. When asked what Bueno will do with the prize money, he shared that he will use it to further improve Project PADYAK by acquiring more bike units which more youths can use to get to school. He also shared that he will use a part of it to bring his parents to Singapore for a well-deserved vacation.
Cebuana Lhuillier President and CEO, Jean Henri Lhuillier and family were present during the ceremony.
“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.” Lhuillier said.
Congratulations, Mr. Bueno, your kababayans in Quezon is so proud of you!