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Committed to its thrust of life beyond luxury, Lifestyle Asia recognizes influential figures in different fields who continue to inspire many

As we enter a new decade, we cannot help but recall the challenges of the past few years and how each time, we brought about changes that made an impact on people’s lives, ours included. This couldn’t be more apparent over the past month especially, where the world has been marred by tragedies, calamities, and many an untoward incident. In circumstances such as this, we will always find ourselves making decisions that can influence others, no matter the scope. Whether grand or at a grassroots level, it is crucial to determine the effect it will bring. How will we know if the change is good? Will it fulfill goals and be considered positive achievements? 

Lifestyle Asia looks back to the stories of influential figures who continue to inspire us. In this endeavor, we recognize and highlight their remarkable work this February. Meet our awardees and get to know how they continue the good work they do as an active agent of change at present.

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Catriona Gray

Beyond the crown, the glamorous gowns, and the iconic lava walk, the Miss Universe of 2018 continues to inspire and reach out to different communities. While she has passed on the crown, Catriona remains committed to her advocacies. She helps out in Love Yourself Philippines and volunteers as an assistant teacher in Young Focus. The non-government organization educates underprivileged youth from the Smokey Mountains of Tondo, Manila, which has really opened the eyes of our queen to a reality of life beyond that of her own. Through her advocacies, she believes it can empower people and even encourage them to do the same to others. After all, an agent of change is all about inspiring and making a positive impact on people.

Berna Romulo-Puyat

Having worked under the Department of Agriculture for 12 years before taking a position in the Department of Tourism, Berna Romulo-Puyat has harnessed pertinent knowledge and different experiences in promoting the country. The entrenched exposure then led her to accept the role of secretary in Dot, where she began major projects and undertakings like the rehabilitation of Boracay. It was a daunting task but she learned the value of collaboration to preserve the beauty and bring back the life of the country’s natural resources. The initial developments like infrastructures have and continue to increase domestic tourism, improve tourist experience, and provide a livelihood for local communities. At present, Berna is at the forefront of developing urban planning, sanitation, and waste and disaster-risk management in places like tourist-heavy destinations like Siargao, Coron, and Baguio. The work is challenging and long-winding, but Berna believes joint efforts can truly improve Philippine tourism, thus making it much more fun in the Philippines. 

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Tessa Prieto-Valdes

While known for her stunning headpieces and unparalleled style ensembles, Tessa lives a life of giving. She attributes her affinity for doing charities from her parents, particularly her mother who helped establish The Sisters of Mary School. Tessa grew up witnessing this generosity, and it goes without saying that sharing her blessings is second-nature to her. Together with Kaye Tinga, they mounted the Red Charity Gala that benefits foundations like Red Cross and Assumption High School Batch 1981 Foundation. The giving doesn’t stop with the glittering annual Gala, as she does other efforts and initiatives to make the world a better place. On her 20th wedding anniversary, she and her husband donated 20 homes, and for their 25th anniversary, they are having 25 reef buoys built for Malapascua Island. She enjoys doing all these, knowing it can impact numerous lives in the long run.

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Isko Moreno

The former Filipino actor and the current mayor of Manila continues to make headlines with his kind of irreverent governance. While his unconventional initiatives like massive clean-up operations garner conflicting reactions from netizens, Isko relentlessly pursues his vision of transforming the crowded city into a more liveable one. Criticisms aside, he firmly believes consistent efforts can make people appreciate his ways of curbing corruption. It only makes sense as the mayor values implementing changes for the sake of development. As a public servant intent on his mission, Isko is certainly on his way to rehabilitating Manila to what he envisions to be a new golden age for the capital.

Kaye Tinga

The ever-busy Kaye is not only known for her notably elegant ensembles as seen in social events. She is passionate about socio-civic causes as well like the Red Charity Gala which she staged with Tessa Prieto-Valdes. Running for over 11 years, the gala has helped several causes like the Save Palawan Seas Foundation and UP Pep Squad. Kaye and Tessa both have an altruistic spirit, working together to create an opportunity for people to make a positive difference in others’ lives. This advocacy to help also translates to Kaye’s W/17, a sustainability driven-home store. Together with Andrés Vázquez-Prada, they thrust Filipino heritage and talent with the fair-trade products. By placing the local and imported pieces together, people realize Filipino-made products are as beautiful and high quality as international ones. Through W/17, Kaye encourages people to be conscious of the talent they support and to prioritize sustainable living above all.

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Geraldine Roman

Congresswoman Geraldine Roman is beyond the labels of the first openly-transgender elected in the congress and a gender equality advocate. Apart from leading the proposal of the SOGIE bill and advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, she has championed changes in other industries. From agrarian reform, education, and pension increase, she pushed for improvements that help different people. All these are simply taking on the basic responsibilities of a public servant, and yet it seems to be quite a refreshing and encouraging feat amid the unfavorable culture within the national government. Though there are challenges such as being transgendered, she learned to adapt to the system but at the same time, introduce positive changes and better perspectives to impact the lives of human beings without fear of labels, stereotypes, and expectations.

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