A 28-year-old financial analyst with cerebral palsy was hailed as the happiest Pinoy in 2015, winning the Cebuana Lhuillier’s search for the Happiest Pinoy which uses “optimism, resilience and hope amid difficulties” as barometer.
Richardson Navor – Kuya Chard to many – bested nine other finalists and took home P1 million in cash and a trophy.
“This is only the third edition of the search and it has already grown significantly, collecting more entries and, hopefully, inspiring even more individuals. Richardson is a great addition to the search’s roster of model citizens. His story is one we can all learn and draw inspiration from to live happier and more meaningful lives no matter the challenges,” said Cebuana Lhuillier president and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier.
Navor, of IBM Philippines, was born with cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement and motor skills, and is among the more common congenital disorders that manifest during childhood.
Rather than letting other people’s judgments get the better of him, he used his physical limitations to inspire and influence people.
In college, Navor did not show any signs of weakness and was even elected council president. He graduated magna cum laude and received multiple leadership and academic awards.
When his mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer, he stepped up to become the main source of strength for his family – doing everything he could to raise funds, including sacrificing a portion of his scholarship allowance – until his mother was declared cancer-free.
Although Navor failed to pass the accountancy licensure exam, he continues to persevere and live life with positivity as he also received service awards and founded People Uplifting the Student and the Handicapped (PUSH), an organization which gives free leadership training, personality development seminars and livelihood workshops to students and persons with disabilities (PWD).
Navor is the third winner of the Search for the Happiest Pinoy after Winston Maxino (2010) and Rommel Arellano (2012).
He said he would spread the P1-million bounty to help address the needs of PWDs.
“One million pesos – many would think it could buy a lot of gadgets. But to the Happiest Pinoy, the amount will go a long way. It could buy a lot of wheelchairs and provide for many scholarships. I’ll make sure that this blessing will not end with me,” he said.
Breaking its own record, the Cebuana Lhuillier search received over 280,000 nominations this year, the most in the campaign’s three-year history.
Also recognized this year are Arnel Genzola, a professor based in China, as Happiest OFW; and Cyprian Jade Basa, a student from Roxas City, as the Happiest Student.
The top ten finalists include: Johnny Medrano, a watch and cellphone technician from Batangas; Rustie Quintana, an artist from Cagayan de Oro City; Rodolfo Mendoza, a PWD advocate from Nueva Ecija; Randy Halasan, a teacher from Davao City; Eduardo Hernal Jr., a retired military officer turned pastor from Taguig City; Julia Marquez, a retired teacher from Batangas; Don De Vera, an architect from Las Piñas City; Cyprian Jade Basa, a student from Roxas City; and Naprey Almario, a non-government organization founder and businessman from Davao City.
The board of judges is composed of advertising guru Emily Abrera, motivational speaker and author Francis Kong, Supreme Court legal consultant Ann Corominas, 2009 CNN Hero of the Year Efren Peñaflorida, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, TV news anchor Luchi Cruz-Valdez, Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions general manager Jonathan Batangan and the search’s past two winners, Maxino and Arellano.