TOP TEN FILIPINO ACHIEVERS OF 2009
1. Manny Pacquiao:
After being named last year as ESPN STAR Sports’ Champion of Champions, Manny Pacquiao once again proved to the world that he is indeed the best fighter in his field. In 2009 Manny was among the ten most influential person who mattered according to TIME Magazine.
For boxing fans, Pacquiao defied physics, rising through six weight classes to win seven world titles — and galvanizing the sport like no other boxer in years. His two bouts this year were among the most dramatic in the sport: his second-round knockout of Ricky Hatton and his terrifying demolition of the rock-solid Miguel Cotto over 11 rounds.
Manny, 30, already has a true global reach, and his influence will only expand as he gets better.
Pacquiao is the first athlete the Philippine Postal Corp. has honored with his own stamp.
He’s a boxer, a puncher and a mover — a champion in seven weight divisions. An icon. On my own opinion he ranks as the number 1 FILIPINO ACHIEVERS OF 2009.
2. CNN’s 2009 Hero of the Year, Efren Geronimo Penaflorida, Jr. tearfully accepted his award from no less than CNN anchor and correspondent Anderson Cooper and dedicated his award to his Dynamic Teen team – an organization he founded that is aimed towards educating impoverished kids through a pushcart classroom. Thus far, 1,500 kids have been given a chance at a good future through Dynamic Teen’s 10,000 strong volunteers. Efren plans to give 90% of his cash prize to spur on Dynamic Teen and 10% of the remaining cash prize to the church. He summed up the spirit of volunteerism and change with this parting message to the world, "I always tell my volunteers that you are the change that you dream and I am the change that I dream. And collectively we are the change that this world needs to be."
3. She calls the Mighty Opes a.k.a. Oprah Winfrey “Mommy Oprah.” She was invited to sing on The Ellen Degeneres Show, has performed with Celine Dion, David Foster, and Andrea Bocelli, and will be seen next on the Chipmunks’ latest flick “”Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squequel.” A truly mesmerizing feat for a petite 17-year old who was first spotted competing on a Korean TV show that was posted on YouTube. In 2009 and beyond, Charice Pempengco’s star is predicted to shine brighter than ever.
4.Jessica Cox – Armless Inspiration
Jessica has no fingers, hands, elbows. She was born without arms and yet she has achieved far more than what people born with two arms have done in their lifetimes.
Jessica flies airplanes, drives cars, and otherwise lives a normal life using her feet as others use their hands. She holds the title of the fi rst person without arms in the American Tae Kwon-Do Association to get a black belt and the fi rst woman pilot in aviation history to fl y with her feet. Jessica has been featured in the popular afternoon program Ellen, hosted by Ellen Degeneres, Inside Edition, and TV networks like CNN and Fox News. Videos showing her flying a plane, demonstrating martial arts stunts and replays of her television and public speaking appearances are proliferating in YouTube and the Internet. Many of the videos and inspiring emails are posted by Filipinos who are proud of her extraordinary accomplishments.
Now an in demand motivational speaker before various groups such as students, teachers, and corporate audiences, Jessica is changing lives as she digs deep into her experiences living armless in a two-handed world. She believes that by combining creativity, persistence, and fearlessness, nothing is impossible. She shows how these three qualities helped her disarm the impossible.
“Desire is 80 percent of success. Persistence means never give up. Never allow your fear to stand in the way of your opportunity,” Cox said as she challenges people to turn their “impossible into accomplishment”. The courageous young woman who inspires people to reach beyond their perceived limitations explains, “I was a hard worker my whole life and nothing has been handed to me.”
Being armless has not limited Jessica from attaining her highest potential. Pushing her limitations aside and simply putting her best put forward, she is an amazing achiever who is touching many lives with her moving story of strength, courage, and sheer.
5. Film Director Brillante Mendoza’s films may be too horrifyingly real and gritty for Philippine audiences but in Cannes, his entry Kinatay was the perfect vehicle to slay Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock. For his directorial mastery of Kinatay, he was awarded the Best Director trophy at the Cannes International Film Festival in France, the first Filipino Director to take home such a prestigious and much-coveted award.
6. A staunch supporter of the environment and a passionate believer in defending the rights of the environment in the court of law, lawyer Antonio Oposa, Jr. has argued and won landmark cases for the environment which include the pollution of Manila Bay, dynamite fishing, and illegal logging. He studied at the De La Salle University, University of the Philippines, University of Oslo in Norway, and at Harvard University. For his tireless and unrelenting love for the environment – despite numerous death threats as a result of his endeavors – he became the recipient of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award placing him alongside luminaries like Thai Scientist Krisana Kraisintu of Thailand and PRADAN founder Deep Joshi of India, among others.
7. Ana Julaton
Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton grabbed her first world title –IBA Super Bantamweight- last September during the 5th professional fight of her career. Only three months later, last December 4, she won her second title after defeating Donna Biggers for the WBO Super Bantamweight belt.
She received a personal letter of recognition from Philippine president Gloria Arroyo and a citation from San Francisco, CA mayor Gavin Newsom proclaiming October 29 as Ana Julaton Day.
This Daly City resident is reluctant boxer who initially wanted to focus on martial arts. But since winning her first title, she said she want to continue to advance female boxing in America. And by doing that, she is also promoting Filipino skill and talent to the world.
8. Arnel Pineda
In the early 80s, Arnel was a wannabe rock star who sang with his band at local bars in Manila. Twenty five years and a Youtube video post later, he was chosen as the lead singer of one of the quintessential American rock and roll bands, Journey.
He was introduced as Journey’s lead singer in February 2008 and released the album Revelation which debuted at #5 and stayed in Billboard’s top 20 for six weeks. The band, with its new front man, spent most of 2009 preparing for another concert and recording a new album set to be released in 2010.
Journey fans are brought to tears whenever they hear sentimental favorites from their favorite band once again. And Pinoys everywhere smile that a fellow Filipino was the one who was able to bring that magic back.
9. Cheryl Burke
Since she first won the trophy with singer Drew Lachey at Dancing with the Stars, dancer Cheryl Burke has been making fellow Pinoys proud. She won it a second time with football pro Emmit Smith.
Cheryl, who is half-Filipino, has also amassed several awards such as the viewer’s choice in the Asian Excellence Award and the Role Model Award in the 7th Filipino American Library Gala. But she endeared herself even more to Filipinos this year, when she organized a fund-raising event at her San Francisco CA dance studio to benefit victims of typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines.
“It is my hope that by organizing Dance for a Cause, I could raise awareness and encourage not only the Asian population, but also the mainstream community in helping our less fortunate fellow Filipinos.”
The “Freak” is what he is called in Major League Baseball where he is starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. This is because Timothy Leroy Lincecum, whose mother is Filipino, throws with his right hand and bats with his left hand.
Before being drafted into the major league, he was criticized for his awkward delivery and his slight 5’11, 160-lbs frame. But he proved detractors wrong by winning the Cy Young Award in 2008, while only in his second year playing in the major league.
This year, Tim again captured the Cy Young award, which is given annually to the best pitchers in major league baseball. According to baseball website MLB.com, in 2009 Tim is the first Giant in baseball’s modern era to compile a league-best of.783 winning percentage.
This Fil-Am put the Philippines in the baseball map and earned the pride of Pinoys with his performance.
PROUD PINOYS TOP ACHIEVERS OF 2009.