DUBAI – Kabayan Weekly is all set to celebrate its sixth anniversary, and for the annual celebration, it will once again hail exceptional overseas Filipinos in the UAE.
The first and leading Filipino newspaper annually recognizes OFWs under the three major categories: Teacher of the Year, Nurse of the Year, and Kabayan of the Year.
On Saturday, May 6, the publication revealed the respective awardees in the categories at Al Bustan Center & Residence in Al Nahda.
A panel of judges threw sets of random questions to the awardees, asking more about them and their advocacies in life and other achievements they achieved outside of work.
For this year, a total of seven educators were qualified under the Teacher of the Year category. Meanwhile, 12 Filipinos have made the cut under the Nurse of the Year and Kabayan of the Year categories.
The panel of judges was composed of Dr. Rommel Sergio, Chair and Associate Professor at Canadian University; Amy Miranda, Nursing Administrator at Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital in Umm Al Quwain; Dr. Fatima Edna Joyce Santos, Head Department of Ophthalmology, International Medical Center in Ras Al Khaimah; Dr. Nino Decenorio, Vice President at Bath Spa University UAE; Vagelyn Federico, Director of Human Resources at Dusit Thani Dubai and Kabayan of the Year Awardee 2014; and POLO-Dubai’s Labor Attaché Felicitas Bay.
They have filtered the awardees and decided who will be the winner for each category which will be announced on Saturday, May 13, as the main event of the anniversary at Jood Palace.
To classify them if they really deserve the title, the judges critiqued them based on their service in their respective fields, character, professional development, and their participation in the Filipino community.
Included at the Teacher of the Year category are Haydee Luntayan, a Registered Behavioral Technician at Small Steps Learning Difficulties Center in Dubai; Marilou Baluyut, a Kindergarten Coordinator at United International Private School; Jeffrey Caracas, Prefect of Discipline and Math Teacher at Far Eastern Private School in Sharjah; Maribeth Fernandez, an English Teacher at Al Dhafra Private Schools in Abu Dhabi; Ericson Javillo, Assistant Professor at City University College of Ajman in Ajman and Home School Teacher; Veronica Nanales, an Educator at Far Eastern Private School; and Marivic Tagle, Junior and Senior High School Science Teacher at the United International Private School.
Meanwhile, the Nurse of the Year awardees are Kevin Anga, Assistant Operations Manager at Via Medical International Healthcare; Theresa Gay Dimacali-Calingo, Quality Executive Nurse at Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi; Jaymee Ogena, Staff Nurse at Latifa Hospital Women and Children Hospital in Dubai; Joel Malabo, Head Nurse and Health and Safety Officer at Zabeel Palace Hospitality; Katrine Joyce Linsangan, Home Care Nurse at Cleveland Home Health Care (The Health Medical Services), Ma. Gidget Retig, freelance nurse who actively volunteers in medical missions; Giovanni Mutia, Nursing Supervisor at Universal Hospital in Abu Dhabi; Claire Sombero, In-Charge Nurse at the Dibba Hospital in Fujairah; Venus Monroy, Nurse Supervisor at the Multi Medical Solutions Group of Companies; Maria Janette Suralta, Emergency Team Leader at the Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital in Umm Al Quwain; Divina Digap, Clinical Resource Nurse at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi; and Jennifer Maralit, Charge Nurse at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in the Capital.
Kabayan of the Year nominees, on the other hand, is composed of Miriam Paglinawan-Sergio, Founder and President of Filipino International Teachers Society; Ben Lebig, Credit Analyst at Chevron Alkhalij; Alexie Rieza, Senior Manager at The Nielsen Company; Francis Errol Medina, Head of Business Improvement at the Hilti Middle East FZE; Sugar Espadera, Choitram’s multi-awarded HR executive; Felicito Hernandez, Operations Manager at GAC Corporate Academy; Sharon Mendoza-Dreisbach, a breast cancer survivor who embarks on a journey to empower expats; Keith Walter Ayuso, an HR Officer at the Emaar Hospitality Group; Dante Herras, Finance Manager at Real FZE (Chalhoub Group); Rex Venard Bacarra, Head of Faculty Development at the American College of Dubai; Julie Legaspi, Senior Estimator for infrastructure at the Kier Dubai LLC; and Daisy Calabia, the Operations Manager of Rice Me Up.
Each of the awardee shared their unique story on how they cope up with working in their respective environment, and how they continue to achieve great things amidst of busy jobs, among others.
Kabayan Weekly’s Publisher Atallah Habib said in his speech that it is his hope, that by such an activity, Kabayan Weekly is able to pay a little tribute to those who left home, parents, children and friends just to work abroad.
“Perhaps to be distinguished is an option for some people and a choice for some others, however, I noticed when it comes to the Filipino expats this issue is inapplicable. Filipinos, by default, exhaust all efforts to be their best at whatever they do,” Habib said.