THIS YEAR is all about “tycoons, thespians and a tot,” as Stargate Media Corp.’s PeopleAsia names 17 People of the Year awardees, a roster which includes Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and Presidential adviser on entrepreneurship, Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion III.
“These are self-made Filipinos who elevated Filipino talent and culture to the world,” Jose Paolo S. dela Cruz, managing editor of PeopleAsia, told BusinessWorld during the event on Jan. 30 at the Marriott Grand Ballroom in Pasay City.
“For this issue, aside from the usual movers and shakers, we also gave recognition to people who promoted nation-building,” he added.
Mr. Concepcion, who led this year’s pack, is a two-time People of the Year awardee and is noted for “his exceptional contributions in inspiring and educating micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as they grow they respective businesses,” according to a press release.
He is joined by businessman Dennis Uy, the man behind Udenna Corp. and Phoenix Petroleum; William T. Belo, chairman emeritus and founder of Wilcon Depot Inc., the local construction supply and home improvement retailer; and Enrico “Rikki” Dee, FooDee Global Concepts President and CEO, who brought international food brands such as Hawker Chan and Tim Ho Wan to the Philippines.
“This year, we have a good mix of entertainers, businessmen and athletes — many of which are very successful, inspiring yet low-key people. People who are not usually in the headlines,” Mr. Dela Cruz said.
Also in this year’s list is artist Andres Barrioquinto who staged his Portraits exhibit at the National Museum last year which featured 18 portraits of people such as fashion designer Josie Natori.

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Youngest People of the Year awardee, three-year-old Scarlet Snow Belo.

Female awardees this year include Ms. Diaz who won the country’s first silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics and the country’s first gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games; Len Cabili of the Filip+Inna clothing brand who collaborates with indigenous weavers and seamstresses in far-flung regions of the country; and singer Lani Misalucha, famously called “Asia’s Nightingale,” who “continues to soar as one of the country’s leading musical exports to the United States,” said the statement.
The magazine also had its younger People’s Choice awardee this year — three-year-old Scarlet Snow Belo (the daughter of beauty magnate Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho) whose Instagram followers come to almost three million.
“This is a kid who brings joy to her followers. Her innocence in how she looks at the world and the joy she brings is a welcome break from all the seriousness in the world,” said Mr. Dela Cruz.
Members of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s economic team — Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority President and CEO Vince Dizon — were also awarded as they continue to try to usher in a “Golden Age of Infrastructure in the Philippines” with the government’s flagship “Build, Build, Build” program.
Lastly, the magazine and Resorts World Manila named National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab and singer Kristine Zhenie “KZ” Tandingan as the “Lucky Persons of the Year,” an award given in recognition of their “hard work, dauntless perseverance and unshakeable faith that enabled them to change their fate and be a symbol of hope,” said the statement.
The People of the Year award was created in 2004 to “honor and recognize exemplary individuals whose achievements make them stand out from the rest of the crowd… outstanding individuals from diverse fields and industries, regardless of age, gender, status in life, and even political affiliation,” said Jose R. Rodriguez, the magazine’s associate publisher, in his message.
Stargate People Asia, published by Stargate Media Corp., is part of the STAR Group of Companies which includes BusinessWorld.Zsarlene B. Chua