Public School Teacher from Quezon Wins Cebuana Lhuillier Happiest Pinoy 2019


Cebuana Lhuillier Happiest Pinoy 2019

Can you still be happy even if life isn't perfect?

Zaldy Bueno has experienced hardship in life since he was a child. The 37-year old public school teacher from Gumaca, Quezon was born to a poor family. Zaldy's mother did laundry for 7 families to make ends meet while he planted pechay and mustasa to sell to his neighbors to sustain his allowance for school. To make life more challenging, their small nipa house was destroyed during the 1995 typhoon Rosing they had to stay at the barangay health center for months just to have a place to stay.

But Zaldy thrived. He finished his education. Even had his mother as his student. And co-founded project PADYAK in 2017, an advocacy that provides bicycle for students who could not afford to travel to school.

Zaldy Bueno was named Cebuana Lhuillier Happiest Pinoy 2019 at the awarding ceremony held last May 29 at the New World Hotel in Makati. He bested nine other finalists from different categories, winning the one million grand prize money and a trophy.

Cebuana Lhuillier Happiest Pinoy 2019
A moment of celebration with Zaldy's wife when he was announced winner of the Cebuana Lhuillier Happiest Pinoy 2019
(photo courtesy of Axl Guinto)
Bueno never lost hope even during the most difficult time of their life. Instead, he worked hard and study hard in order to improve their living condition. He worked two jobs, including stints at a tile store and as a sales agent for a local radio station. He finished college in 6 years. Bueno currently serves as the head teacher of the English department at the Gumaca National High School. His project PADYAK which stands for Pidal Apakan Dunong Yayaman, Asenso'y Kakamtan also received huge help from people donating new and used bicycle units from all over the Philippines and even getting donations from OFWs abroad. This project has drastically increased attendance for students at school.

Cebuana Lhuillier Happiest Pinoy 2019

Cebuana Lhuillier's Search for the Happiest Pinoy honors and celebrates the Filipinos' innate optimism, resilience, and hope amidst different life crises.

"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 a fuel to make a difference in the lives of others," said Cebuana Lhuillier President and CEO, Jean Henri Lhuillier.

Cebuana Lhuillier Happiest Pinoy 2019

During the interview, he shared that he will use the prize money to further improve Project PADYAK by acquiring more bike units to accommodate more students. He will also bring the family to Singapore for a well-deserved vacation and as a token of gratitude to his mother who is now 66 years old.

Zaldy Bueno is the 4th winner of the biennial search. Past winners are Richarson Navor (2015), Rommel Arellano (2012), and Winston Maxino (2009).

Sharing with you the winner's announcement and Zaldy's acceptance speech