A Night of Visionaries

Photos at the booth set-up by Dix Perez
Events photos by Lino Santos and Manny Palmero

The Standard’s 2015 Visionary Awards was successfully held last December 4, 2015 at the Rigodon Ballroom of The Manila Hotel. It was, in a manner of speaking, a historic event for this paper as it ushers in what hopefully will be a tradition of recognizing visionaries – inspiring men and women who are fueled by passion and a sense of purpose to drive change and make this country a better place – even if a little at a time – for Filipinos.  

Hindy Weber Tantoco, awardee for Sustainable Living
Rachel Harrison, awardee for Autism Awareness and Education with son Julyan
John Paul Maunes, Visionary for Social Entrepreneurship for his dedication in Empowering the Deaf
SLIM's Fashion & Arts school's Sandy Higgins received the award for Fashion Education category together with her brother Mark Higgins who wasn't able to grace the event 
Zark Varona, Young Visionary for Entrepreneurship
Siblings Aisa and Raphael Mijeno who were the Young Visionary for Science and Technology awardees

As The Standard Chairman Philip Romualdez noted in his welcome speech,  “we are a nation of visionaries.” The Philippines is a country at a crossroads, and the people need individuals who can inspire all of us to see beyond ourselves, to envision a better world. 

They are individuals imbued with passion and a sense of purpose, unafraid to take a stand.

In the words of The Standard president and CEO Arnold Liong who toasted the 2015 Visionary awardees, the individuals we honored embody what being a visionary is all about – passion, dedication, an out-of-the-box perspective, unafraid to take a stand and willing to work hard to achieve a goal and a vision. These are the same qualities that define The Standard as a newspaper – we dare to be different, and we present the news from a fresh perspective.   

Awardee Casimiro Olvida for Watershed Protection 
Charie Villa, awardee for Citizen Journalism
Waya Araos Wijangco, awardee for Special Needs Culinary Arts Education
Jason Buensalido, Young Visionary for Architecture
Awardee Jaafar Kimpa for Muslim Rights
Cristina Liamzon and Edgardo Valenzuela, Social Entrepreneur awardees for OFW Empowerment
Charlene Tan, Young Visionary for Community and Agriculture


Kevin Lee, Social Entrepreneur awardee for his work in delivering safe water for poor communities


Lenora Cabili receives the award on behalf of her daughter and namesake Lenora Luisa Cabili, awardee for Fashion
Quintin Pastrana, Visionary awardee for Reading and Literacy Advancement
Maiki Oreta and daughter Brielle (Children’s Advocacy)


Nanay Ines Fernandez, awardee for Breastfeeding and Motherhood Education
Roberta Dans Thomas, Visionary awardee for Arts and Culture
Xyza Cruz Bacani, Young Visionary for Photojournalism
The Standard Visionary for 2015's official photographer Dix Perez with Lifestyle editor Tatum Ancheta
The first roster of The Standard Visionary awardees


MST Management Finance Officer Ron Ryan Buguis, Lifestyle Associate Editor Bing Parel, Digital head Judith Albano, chairman Philip Romualdez, Director of Operations Jocelyn Domingo, president and CEO Arnold Liong, and Lifestyle editor Tatum Ancheta
And they all deserved a fun selfie!

Along with talented photographer Dix Perez, the editorial team of Life at The Standard traveled to various parts of the country including Mindanao to chronicle in photos the work and advocacy of our awardees. Some of our awardees who had to fly in to Manila to receive their award were ferried from the airport and arrived in style at The Manila Hotel courtesy of Chevrolet. 

Awardees Xyza Cruz Bacani and Jaafar Kimpa arriving in style courtesy of Chevrolet Philippines
Awardee Kevin Lee alighting from the white Chevrolet that brought him to The Manila Hotel

It was heartwarming, and certainly gratifying, to see such an amazing group of people celebrating the event, proudly holding aloft the trophies specially designed by their fellow awardee Jason Buensalido, our Young Visionary for Architecture. 

The awardees with photographer Dix Perez and The Standard editorial and production team

The Manila Hotel’s Rigodon Ballroom buzzed with excitement, with the impressive hosting job of Rex Flores that made the program virtually seamless, while the rich vocal talent of Jon Joven of Primo elicited warm applause from the guests.  

Jon Joven of Primo serenades the guests
Siblings Raphael and Aisa Mijeno flanked by Tatum Ancheta and Chevrolet’s Jona Loren Atienza

In our special supplement published last November 29, we fully featured the 21 individuals whom we recognized in last Friday’s event, but perhaps our readers will indulge us if we name them all once again and briefly explain why the Life editorial and marketing team of The Standard deemed them worthy of recognition:

Actor and director Ricky Davao
Waya Wijangco (center) with family
The Body Shop’s Doly Cruz and Jun Bernabe
Chef Rosebud Benitez and Mike Velasco
InterContinental Hotels Group PR manager Karmina De Ungria and Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria PR and marketing communications manager 
January Leron
The Standard president Arnold Liong with wife Janet, and Jam Jamila Aguilar
The Standard Publisher Rolando Estabillo
Le Monet Hotel director of Public Relations Ana Mendoza
Zalora marketing director Tolian Gjika 
Awardee Quintin Pastrana with sister Maricar
Young Visionary for Architecture Jason Buensalido with wife Nikki
From left: Jannette Velasco, Precy Roda, Lizette Santos and Marie Young
Dr. Adrian and Joy Buensalido
Myrna and Noe Cortes
Celebrity photographer Sara Black

Charie Villa for Citizen Journalism, whose Tao Po!” social platform is empowering Filipinos to demand better service from public and private companies, and making government leaders accountable; Waya Araos Wijangco for Special Needs Culinary Art Education whose Open Hand School for Applied Arts trains developmentally challenged children to acquire culinary and other skills;  Rachel Harrison for Autism Awareness and Education, who utilized her talent as an artist and architect to create Zambawood, a haven where individuals with special needs can be trained and given a sense of purpose;  Casimiro Olvida for Watershed Protection who oversees a huge reforestation project within the Siguil and Kamanga watersheds in Maasim, Sarangani province; and Jaafar Kimpa for Muslim Rights who goes around far-flung areas in Mindanao to register undocumented Muslims and provide them with identification.

From left: Charlene Tan, Eric Ho representing Cristalle Henares, Charie Villa, Tatum Ancheta, Hindy Weber Tantoco, Aisa Mijeno, Raphael Mijeno, Xyza Cruz Bacani, Zark Varona, Jason Buensalido, Brielle, Ava and Quinto Oreta representing Maiki Oreta, with Jona Loren Atienza
Awardees Mer Olvida, Rachel Harrison, Jaafar Kimpa and Waya Wijangco flanked by The Standard’s Philip Romualdez and New San Jose Builders marketing manager Jerrey Jun Oris


Mrs. Len Cabili (center) receives the award on behalf of her daughter and namesake Lenora from Arnold Liong (left) and Jocelyn F. Domingo (right)
Rolando Estabillo hands the award to JP Maunes. Also presenting the award is Wacoal business development manager Masaki Kasuga
The Standard’s Arnold Liong (leftmost) and Jocelyn F. Domingo (rightmost) with the second batch of awardees: Quintin Pastrana, Mrs. Lenora Cabili, Sandy Higgins and Roberta Dans Thomas

We also honored SLIM’S Fashion and Arts School’s Sandy and Mark Higgins for Fashion Education. These siblings are continuing the legacy started by their mother Salvacion Lim Higgins whose school has produced some of the most notable names in fashion today. And then there is Lenora Luisa Cabili, also a Fashion category awardee, whose clothing brand Filip + Inna is carving out a remarkable niche in the global fashion industry and providing livelihood opportunities for weavers from the different tribes in Mindanao; Maiki Oreta for Children’s Advocacy whose Kiddo-preneur is empowering children to become business savvy individuals while developing the values of hard work and perseverance; Quintin Pastrana for Reading and Literacy Advancement whose Library Renewal Partnership has built over 100 libraries including one in the New Bilibid Prison; Hindy Weber Tantoco for Sustainable Living whose Holy Carabao Farms delivers organic produce from farmers; Roberta Dans Thomas for Arts and Culture who is helping a lot of Filipino artists break into the international scene. 

JP Maunes, Edgardo Valenzuela, Luzviminda Lee and Cristina Liamzon check out the photo exhibit
Mrs. Len Cabili and son Immanuel
The Standard Life contributor Malou Rosal and Jose Badelles, Hyatt City of Dreams Manila Marketing Communications Manager
Diamond Hotel PR supervisor Chel Francisco and Cignal TV content marketing supervisor Vince Custodio
Gabby dela Merced, Tedrick Yao, Pia Reyes, NJ Torres, Kai Magsanoc, Ria Intia, and Rodel Intia

The Standard also gave recognition to Social Entrepreneurs who are driving change in society: Cristina Liamzon and Edgardo Valenzuela who are empowering OFWs by weaning them away from a lifestyle of debt; Kevin Lee whose A Single Drop of Safe Water program enables many communities to receive quality water, sanitation and hygiene systems; John Paul Maunes who is empowering the hearing impaired through Gualandi Volunteer Service Program, now known as Philippine Accessible Deaf Services, Inc. which helps battle sexual abuse against hearing impaired individuals; and Ines Fernandez, a breastfeeding advocate whose Arugaan educates mothers in marginalized communities about proper breastfeeding, health practices and relactation counseling. 

The Standard chairman Philip Romualdez shares a toast with Keith and Rachel Harrison
Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder and Jose ‘Pepe’ Rodriguez with The Standard’s Arnold Liong
SSI marketing communications manager Malu Francisco, awardee Rachel Harrison and Chroma Hospitality vice president for sales and marketing Carmela Bocanegra
Philippine Wacoal Corporation’s marketing and merchandising manager Elmira Cadungog and business development manager Masaki Kasuga
Keith Harrison and Ogilvy president for Southeast Asia and India Andrew Thomas
Gippy and Hindy Tantoco with Lourd Ramos
Xyza Cruz Bacani accompanied by brother Arom and award-winning photographer Rick Rocamora
SM Fashion Forum assistant vice president Ailene Co, The Standard Life columnist Kai Magsanoc and Jodie Ricohermoso
From left: Abbey Bravo, Kai Javines, The Standard Life columnist Karmi Palafox, Cecille Punzalan, Bea Jose and Katrina Palafox
From left: Noe Cortes, Ben Mangawang, Ricardo Pingol, Kenneth Go, Erick Velasco and Rick Adorable


The Standard’s big three: President and CEO Arnold Liong, Chairman Philip Romualdez and Publisher Rolando Estabillo
Ricky Davao, Mary Chan, The Standard’s Beth Mendoza and Cesar Padilla

And finally, the Young Visionaries: Jason Buensalido for Architecture who builds unique structures that are responsive to our climate and cognizant of our heritage; Xyza Cruz Bacani for Photography whose compelling photographs on human trafficking and domestic worker abuse has caught global attention; Rolandrei Viktor Varona for Entrepreneurship whose successful chain of Zark’s Burgers has exponentially grown since 2009; Cristalle Belo Henares, also for Entrepreneurship, whose Belo Essentials business is making beauty accessible to all Filipinos;  siblings Aisa and Raphael Mijeno for  Science and Technology whose Sustainable Alternative Lighting or SALt project impressed even US president Barack Obama as it provides a sustainable and cost-effective source of light for impoverished people from far-flung areas; and  Charlene Tan for Community Shared Agriculture – a young woman whose Good Food Community educates people about sustainability and connects organic farmers with enlightened citizens through a “Community Shared Agriculture” program.

To our friends and supporters, our heartfelt thanks for helping make The Standard 2015 Visionary Awards night a huge success! 

Watch the live stream coverage of the awards night at

Read more about The Standard Visionaries 2015 on

Topics: A Night of Visionaries , The Visionaries 2015 , The Standard , The Standard 2015 Visionary Awards night

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