The Lenten Season is a time to reflect on our faith and life in general. During times of reflection, people often ask themselves if they are happy with their life. This is precisely what I have been asking myself these past few months. What makes me happy? Am I happy? People who are going through difficult issues in life may find it hard to think that happiness is a choice. But when this sage advice comes from the Happiest Pinoy then it’s easy to believe that you can choose to be happy.
For the past few months I have been going through some personal issues myself. I found myself getting stressed a lot and disappointed when I couldn’t get or do the things that I want immediately. When this happens I feel a bit depressed and sometimes tend to forget that are plenty of reasons to be happy. Luckily there are things and people around to remind me that I can choose to be happy. One such thing is the “laughternoon” event that I attended last month. “Laughternoon” is an event sponsored by Cebuana Lhuillier in celebration of the International Happiness Day.
The first part of the program was devoted to an inspirational talk by Mr. Winston Maximo, a 2010 Cebuana Lhuillier Happiest Pinoy awardee. It wasn’t my first time to meet Sir Winston, we met last 2012 at the Cebuana Lhuillier Happiness Bootcamp for Bloggers which I also attended. The Happiness Bootcamp is one of the most memorable events in my life because it was the start of “The Grasyas”.
A couple of mommy bloggers and I got really close during the bootcamp that we formed our own group and called ourselves “The Grasyas”. Our friendship may have started with blogging but it has definitely gone beyond blogging as the years have passed. Proof that friendships formed in a happiness bootcamp can really bloom.
Just as in the 2012 happiness bootcamp, Sir Winston continued to inspire us with his story during the “laughternoon”. He was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondulitis which causes him to be in constant pain. It would’ve been easy for him to be irritable or depressed given the pain that he was experiencing every day. But instead of giving in to depression he chose to be happy. And it seems that he is successful in choosing to be happy every day. Just by looking at him you wouldn’t think that he was in any pain. Instead it was obvious that Mr. Winston Maximo is a happy person. This is because according to Mr. Maximo it is our choice to be happy. But I think it is also important to remember that happiness is a choice you make everyday.
Another inspiring thing about Mr. Maximo is his generosity and selflessness. He won a Php 200,000 cash prize for being the 2010 Cebuana Lhuillier Happiest Pinoy. But instead of keeping the prize money he chose to donate it to those who need it more.
After the inspiring talk, we got to experience Laughter Yoga which was facilitated by Pinoy Laughter Yoga founder Paolo Trinidad. I learned a lot during this session especially about the benefits of laughter for our overall well-being. Now I know that laughter is indeed the best medicine.
I got plenty of take-aways from our laughternoon session. Aside from believing that happiness is a choice, I also learned how to value laughter, shared happiness, and every little thing that brings us happiness. The laughternoon also made me appreciate efforts to spread happiness in this world like the Cebuana Lhuillier’s Happpiness Advocacy.
The Cebuana Lhuillier’s Happpiness Advocacy promotes happiness via the search for the Happiest Pinoy. Their aim is to spark the values of optimism, hope, and resilience in Filipinos amidst the challenges in their lives. The search for 2019 Happiest Pinoy is still ongoing but the search is made more exciting this year with the introduction of 10 new categories. Now more sectors in society are represented in the search. The new categories include:
Youth, Senior, Persons with Disabilities (PWD), Manggagawang Pinoy, Professional, Lingkod Bayan, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), Entrepreneur, Employee, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Community.
The Cebuana Lhuillier Search for the Happiest Pinoy is now down to 20 finalists and one of them will take home P1 million in cash prizes. More than 800 thousand entries are being screened for the Cebuana Lhuillier Happiest Pinoy 2019. It’s great to know that there are plenty of Happy Pinoys out there and I hope that Cebuana Lhuillier continues to pursue their happiness advocacy.