Inspiring, little-known Filipino pandemic heroes honored at Human Nature’s Bangon Awards


While we often hear moving stories of pandemic heroes on viral social media posts, it is not every day that we get to recognize and honor them for their courage, persistence, and hard work.

Bangon Awards by social enterprise Human Nature, co-presented by Robinsons Supermarket, set out to do exactly this. A stirring virtual ceremony last November 27, 2021 lauded educators, healthcare workers, economic heroes and other inspiring Filipinos who rose above obstacles to help others rise amid the global pandemic.

Human Nature has championed nation-building for 13 years through its pro-Philippines, Pro-Poor and Pro-Environment philosophy. Through Bangon Awards, it seeks to inspire other businesses to likewise use their profits and policies to provide living wages for workers and extend support to communities in need.

Human Nature co-founders Anna Meloto-Wilk, Dylan Wilk, and Camille Meloto-Rodriguez, along with Miss Universe runner-up Venus Raj, Save Philippine Seas founder Anna Oposa, and CCF Tulong Tayo pastor Danny Urquico selected and announced the winners, and shared solidarity messages throughout the program.

From over 200 nominees and 30 finalists nationwide, ten groups and individuals were honored. Most of the winners gave heartfelt speeches, some even holding back tears as they accepted their awards.

The Revitalized Pulis of Barangay Cluster 2, Mati City received the Pro-Philippines Award for their “Barangayanihan” initiative of giving livelihood opportunities and uplifting literacy and numeracy among children in their community. Special recognition was also given to Carvey Maigue for his breakthrough innovations in renewable energy under the Pro-Philippines category.

Emelyn Balabat of Bayanihan Eco Project accepted the Pro-poor Award for delivering fresh food relief packs to over 400 families in Romblon and Sorsogon when COVID-19 hit, and supporting frontliners with donations of disinfectants and fresh produce.

The Pro-Environment Award was given to TABI Farm from Barangay Imalnod, Legazpi City. From a pandemic relief community, TABI evolved into a research farm to help farmers mitigate their vulnerabilities to climate change and address systemic issues such as poverty.

The pandemic heroes honored included Kalabaw Caravan, initiated by Teachers from Papatahan Integrated National High School (PINHS) to provide educational materials to learners in the rural areas of Sitio Papatahan in Paete, Laguna. The teachers reached 100% of learners for the first quarter of the school year 2021-2022 through the initiative.

Dr. Arlyn Jawad Jumao-as, known as “Mamadoc”, founder of Save the Children of War in Basilan, received the Healthcare Hero Award for playing a critical role in keeping the peace in the province’s capital through outreach missions serving children, rebels, and soldiers during the pandemic.

Calimlim Habana, a delivery rider with one leg, received the Economic Frontliner Hero Award for delivering not only food but also inspiration to many people who see him overcoming his disability and performing excellent essential services.

Several individuals garnered special awards for serving as social and cultural role models: Cat Triviño was awarded P-beauty Influencer for being an ambassador of Pinay beauty as well as her advocacy work for environmental organization CORA Philippines, mental healthcare and women empowerment.

“Mommy Gracie” Maulion of Tipid Living won the Natural, Nanay! Award for her advocacy on frugality, wise spending, saving and investing for the future, financial freedom and living debt-free.

Reynan A. Camara was named Man of Integrity for his COVID-19 relief efforts in different provinces, active support in checkpoints, charity rides, and road safety seminars.

Social entrepreneur Isabela Blancas received the Youth Got Heart Award for providing food, face masks and close to 5,000 PPE suits to frontline doctors and nurses in Butuan and Luzon with the help of her network. She also helped artists through an online art sale and fellow microentrepreneurs through a trunk bazaar.

Because online voting comprised part of the judging criteria, People’s Choice awards were also given to finalists Fr. Paul Uwemedimo of Puso ng Ama Foundation in Payatas and Malou Perez of Pawssion Project.

The winners received over P500,000 worth of prizes from Human Nature and Robinsons Supermarket in total, including P200,000 worth of Human Nature products given to major awardees’ chosen beneficiaries.

Filipino artist and environmental advocate AG Saño designed the unique upcycled trophies for the winners, featuring a red metal heart fabricated from reinforcement bars and flames made of repurposed plastic containers.

At the ceremony, rapper-songwriter Quest staged a rousing live performance of his hit song “Sige Lang”. As the nation faces 2022 with its challenges and possibilities, we hold on to his anthem and the stories of the heroes inspiring us to band together, overcome, and rise up once more:

Malapit o malayo sama sama tayo
Hanggang sa dulo ano man ang pagsubok
Hindi susuko, alam kong kaya mo
Sige lang sige, sige lang sige!
Walang imposible!

About Human Nature

Human Nature is the Philippines’ largest brand of genuinely natural, affordable personal care, cosmetics and home care products. Founded in 2008 by Dylan Wilk, Anna Meloto-Wilk, and Camille Meloto-Rodriguez, Human Nature’s products are made in the Philippines and free from harmful chemicals. Operated by social enterprise Gandang Kalikasan Inc. (GKI), Human Nature is driven by the core philosophies of being pro-Philippines, pro-poor and pro-environment. In 2012, Human Nature was recognized by the World Economic Forum’s Schwab Foundation as a Champion for Social Entrepreneurship.

To learn more about Human Nature and its advocacies, visit www.humanheartnature.com


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Gabriel

Introvert, wanderer, blogger, foodie, a hip-hop music writer, and one of the co-founders of a tech start-up company called GigsManila.