GlaxoSmithKline announces the new winners in its Search for the Winners Against Asthma (SWAA)

Back in February 2015, I attended a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) event where they announced that they were launching a Search for the Winners Against Asthma (SWAA). This nationwide search meant to find young achievers 30 years old and below who were outstanding in their respective fields despite suffering from asthma. The search was meant to portray hope that asthma, although a chronic disease, could be overcome in different ways.

Here is my February post covering the search’s launch.

Meet the winners!

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Join the Search for Pharmaton’s 2015 Life Changers (Updated!)

Over 99% of all businesses in the Philippines are small and medium-sized enterprises and a great majority of that 99% is micro- or small social enterprises. Social enterprise is a big thing here and we should encourage it. We’ve seen cottage industries spring up for several decades now. Then as more Moms opted to leave the work force and stay home, the community of mompreneurs began to grow.

But one big factor has kept these micro to small social enterprises from really growing and taking off.


This is where Pharmaton seeks to close the yawning gap with its campaign, Life Changers’ Challenge: Success in Numbers.

An online, video-driven, nationwide competition, Life Changers’ Challenge seeks to find exceptional Filipinos whose social enterprise ideas can cause positive change in society. This challenge is open to social entrepreneurs, advocates and other relevant groups of people spearheading high-impact projects. A microsite will open up on May 12, 2015┬áis already up ( where social entrepreneurs can upload their videos.
Tell your friends and family who may have social enterprise ideas that they can start conceptualizing their videos starting now, even before the microsite opens up.

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Meeting Ana Julaton – WBO World Champion

WBO Champion and Pinay Ana Julaton

She’s of pure Filipino stock (she traces her roots to Pozorrubio, Pangasinan).

She’s gorgeous in person – tall, svelte, and ultra feminine in long tresses.
And that boxing champion belt around her belt is the real thing – she’s the reigning WBO world champion in the super-bantamweight division. And her coach is none other than THE Freddie Roach (Manny Pacquiao’s trainer)!
Her name is ANA “The Hurricane” JULATON.
I personally was interested in meeting her. I must confess this was the first time I was hearing about her because I really am not a boxing aficionado (least of all women’s boxing). But it intrigued me that a Pinay was making a name for herself in a realm normally associated with men.

Truth be told, I expected a manly female boxer with huge leg and arm muscles and a face that was more masculine than feminine. I think my reference was the female wrestlers I’d catch on TV every so often. But the moment I saw Ana, I was dumbfounded. In front of me was a beautiful (and I am not exaggerating), long-haired, feminine lady in a sleeveless blouse over maong pants and high heels. Her figure was more appropriate for a catwalk and she really looked fit and toned. And with a constant, radiant smile, she just made an awesome first impression on me.

I got to throw the first question at her: Why boxing?

And she explained that she was really into a lot of martial arts, including taekwondo, and when she tried boxing, she just naturally fell in love with it.

Here are some pictures I took of her. See for yourselves what the combination of beauty, brains AND brawn looks like…

Ana first visited the country last July 2010 after winning the vacant SBO 122-pound title belt with a split decision over Mexican Maria Elena Villalobos in Ontario, Canada. In that visit, she was able to meet Pres. Aquino at Malacanang, where she personally presented him with the Everlast gloves she used in winning the WBO super-bantamweight title.
Ana will defend her WBO title this coming February 25 at the Craneway Pavilion, Point Richmond, California against a tough and skillful veteran, Francesca Alcanter, who has a boxing record of 18-9-1. The fight, set over 10 rounds, has been dubbed “The Return of the Hurricane” (so titled because Ana is known as ‘The Hurricane’).
A native of San Francisco, California, Ana owns a record of 7-2-1. Despite a few fights to her name, it is truly proof of her boxing talent that she has already defeated female boxers with more boxing fights and longer fighting experiences under their belts. She begins her training with Freddie Roach next week at the famed Wild Card gym.
This fight will be telecast LIVE on TV5 and its soon-to-be-launched Aksyon TV UHF Channel 41, the Kapatid network’s sports and news channel.
Let’s all support our kababayan, Ana, on Feb. 25. Here’s another Pinay that all of us can truly be proud of.

The Pacman Up Close

The whole Philippines stands still today. Very few vehicles were on the road when I went out earlier. Almost the entire country is at home, at pay-per-view establishments or on the internet intently looking for livestreaming links.
I had the chance to meet Manny Pacquiao a few months back. He was shooting a TV commercial for a pain-relieving drug, Alaxan FR, and I stayed quietly in the background watching him go through the shoots, joking with the staff in between takes, and noting how lean and muscular, absolutely no excess fat, and lithe his body was (a sign of the rigorous training and care he had for his body).

After his commercial takes, Manny came to the room where a few of us were waiting, and eagerly sat down on a sofa to field our questions. I was just an arms-length away from him — the closest I probably could ever get. Question after question was shot at him and he answered them all, even discreetly evading having to answer the then controversial issue between him and a lady actress.

I threw some questions at him (and yes, my speaking in Filipino was challenged, hehehe).

On how politics will affect his being a spiritual person and on how leading a Congressman’s life will affect his family, this is what Manny has to say:

My first closeup impression of Manny? What you see on TV is how he is in real life. He is humble. Low profile. Always smiling. Comes across as sincere in wanting to help his constituents in Saranggani. Loves the Philippines and God.

Today, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao will go for his 8th title. Physically, he is way disadvantaged compared to Antonio Margarito in terms of height, reach and weight. But that has never stopped Manny Pacquiao from going for his dreams.

Today, everyone in the Philippines wishes him well and will be praying for him. And if he does get to win this fight, he will come back to the Philippines an even greater David who overcame (literally) the giant Goliath. And an even greater idol in everyone’s eyes.

We’re rooting for you, Manny!

(HAPPY UPDATE (sorry for spoilers for some people if you’re not on pay-per-view): Manny Pacquiao won the fight!!! This is boxing history in the making. It will be a happy day when the Pacman returns to the warmest welcome ever.)


Let’s Make Efren Penaflorida a CNN Hero

When Efren Penaflorida added me up on Twitter, I had no idea who he was. The name sounded familiar though, so I googled him. It turned out Efren was THE guy I had read about in an article (I cannot even remember where) who has been making it his mission to raise the level of education of streetkids by actually bringing the school to the streets.

Efren Penaflorida
Read the story of Efren HERE.

CNN has launched a search for its 2009 CNN Hero and Efren is one of the finalists after CNN whittled down the list from 9,000 submissions from over 100 countries. Read HERE how CNN made their finalist selection. The 10 finalists already received $25,000 each in recognition of their work. The Top CNN Hero will get an additional $100,000.

To cast your vote for Efren, click on THIS LINK and click on the “VOTE” button beside Efren’s picture. Note that THERE IS NO LIMIT to the number of times you can vote for Efren and voting ends November 19, 2009 (6AM ET).