The 2017 Best Nanay awardees

DIRECT LINE By Boy Abunda

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Make Your Nanay Proud Foundation has honored the greatest women of our lives — our mothers.

For the past four years, the Make Your Nanay Proud Foundation (MYNP) has honored the greatest women of our lives — our mothers. The awarding ceremony of the Best Nanay is usually held in October, which is also my birth month. This year, MYNP honored 10 Best Nanay awardees and introduced the first Licerna R. Abunda award, in honor of my mother. 

The MYNP’s Best Nanay Awards 2017 was a night of tribute filled with songs and dances. The event held at Astoria Plaza in Ortigas was hosted by Karen Davila and Drew Arellano. Performances were provided by Ariel Rivera, Mark Mabasa, LA Lopez and GForce.

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The awarding ceremony of the Best Nanay is usually held in October, which is also my birth month. This year, MYNP honored 10 Best Nanay awardees and introduced the first Licerna R. Abunda award, in honor of my mother.

Here are the 2017 Best Nanay awardees:

•Mary Cu Ang from Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. At 80, she still competes in the 2k and 3k fun-runs. Her name is synonymous to Red Cross in Ilocos and she is a member of different civic groups in her province. After her husband left her for a woman he met in a club, taking away all her money and jewelry, she singlehandedly raised her children, alongside running a business and doing socio-civic works. All her efforts were rewarded: Her three children finished school, and she has gained the respect of her community.

•Gaudencia Sucgang Tecson from Duljo, Fatima, Cebu City. She’s 57, widowed and has two children. Her husband was also a polio victim. She had to fight through discrimination in school and in the workplace because of her disability. While working at the Social Security System (SSS), she braved the odds, continued to improve herself, took up her master’s degree, devoted herself to public service, while at the same time, providing for her children. Her perseverance and hard work earned her a nomination for the Civil Service Dangal ng Bayan Award. Her disability was not a hindrance, but served as an inspiration to others who are more able bodied than her. 

•Priscilla Datu Cordova from Barangay Calaylayan, Abucay, Bataan. Nanay Priscilla is 68, barangay kagawad. Her role as a mother started early when she took care of her siblings, while taking care of her own. Though she married at the young age of 17, she strived to support her family and siblings. She worked as a canteen assistant in school. Together with her husband, she strived to give her children a good future. Now as a grandmother, she helped send her 10 grandchildren to school. She is active in the livelihood and education program not only in her barangay, but in the whole of Bataan. 

•Clarita Fallore Valenzuela from San Nicolas, Bay, Laguna. She did not finish her elementary education, but she worked hard to make sure all her eight children are in school. She did this singlehandedly, even when she was widowed. She did everything from selling pandesal and fish, to accepting laundry jobs to earn money. Her sterling example earned her the trust and admiration of her community, and she extended her role as a mother to the community by founding the Kapit-Bisig of Bay, Laguna for the elderly. She is a tireless servant being a barangay health worker. She negotiated with the local government officials for the monthly allowance of the members and requested uniforms of its members to the provincial governor. And amidst all that, she still finds time to enjoy life in her old age as she is also called the nanay of the Samahan ng mga Ballroomista sa Laguna. She is now 78.

•Dr. Thelma Lasmarias Benemerito from Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte, 68. Although she was born to a life of privilege, and married to a lawyer, Dr. Thelma always had a heart for the poor and marginalized. She dedicated her life and profession to the service of the less fortunate in her town. She is the female “doctor of the barrios” to her town mates. When her husband passed away, she singlehandedly sent all their children to school. At that tine, the eldest of her seven children has just finished college. She taught her children how to live within their means, and to always have an open heart in serving the poor and marginalized. She not only made sure that every citizen in her municipality receives proper medical attention, but she also goes out of her way to farflung barangays to deliver medical services. With a life dedicated to service, her children and the community, she still finds time to sing a lullaby to her grandchildren.

•Apolonia Nazareno Miranda, 60 years old from Gen. Trias, Cavite. She is the soldier mother. She served in the Women Auxiliary Corps of the Philippine Navy, her husband, being a military man himself, was always assigned to far places, and as such, she was left between juggling her career in the Navy and raising her children — all five of them. Despite being in the strict regimented discipline of the military, she has love and tenderness for her children, and raised them to be good citizens of the country.

Florencia Paras Caringal from Pasong Tamo, Quezon City. At 65, Mama Baby is an ambulant vendor. She sells everything from vegetables, fruits, fish, etc. and peddles her wares from house to house. She has eight children and 26 grandchildren. Widowed at the age of 40, she sent all her children to school, and helped raise all her grandchildren as well. Though her income is not stable, she did not waver in working hard to provide for her family. She also cooks and sells rellenong bangus and embutido to augment her income. Despite being busy, she still finds time to keep her body fit by joining regular Zumba sessions at the QC Memorial Circle, where she also sells her dishes.

Dolores Barretto Dangani, 77, from Barangay Putatan, Muntinlupa City. Nanay Dolores is a teacher. She has served as an elementary grade school teacher for 21 years in Putatan, Muntinlupa City. She earned her master’s degree and now serves as a City College Instructor at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa. She sent all her four children to college and now helps with her five grandchildren. She has been active in socio-civic projects such as the Unang Hakbang Project Aral by Tagabundok Mountaineers. Her dedication to her family and her profession earned her respect from the community and in 2012, she was given the Outstanding Senior Citizen Award of Muntinlupa City. She was given the Guro Certificate Award and was also nominated for the Gawad Ulirang Ina ng Muntinlupa this year. Her selfless and tireless dedication to education made her a mother, not only to her children, but to her students.

•Joam Merano Morales from Sta. Cruz, Marinduque. Nanay Joam is a public servant. She is a municipal councilor of Sta. Cruz Marinduque. She is not only a mother to her three children, but also their tutor, nurse, security guard, and even their yaya. Despite having her own family, she never forgot her own widowed mother. She helped her siblings as well. She became an army reservist in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). As a public servant, she helped with the training of her constituents to prepare them for disasters, floods, landslides and other calamities. In 2009, she headed the rescue and retrieval operations for drowning incidents in Marinduque, and even went beyond by helping the evacuation operations in Marikina City during Typhoon Ondoy. Her mothering care not only focuses on her own children, but of their municipality as well. She is now 47.

•Estrelita Santos Calacala is 59, from Bulacan. Nanay Estrellita is better known as Mommy FB. Despite the trauma she had when her husband left her and her only daughter in the streets to escape his obligations, she fought hard not only for herself but also for her daughter. Her family was subjected to humiliation and she was sent to the hospital where she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her amazing story was featured in Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK) on ABS-CBN. She crossed the age divide by being active on Facebook earning her the moniker #TheViralMom because of her funny Facebook posts. 

Aside from the 10 awardees, the Best Nanay Awards introduced for the first time the Licerna R. Abunda Award. The special award was given to Florita Brioso Santos, 46,  from South Triangle, Quezon City. Nanay Florita is the epitome of selflessness. Her husband died leaving her singlehandedly taking care of her children. She sent them all to school, took care of them and still found time for charitable causes. She is involved in organizations that help send poor children to school, and in a foundation that takes care of cancer-stricken patients. She is also an entrepreneur, and a mother to her friends and her employees.

The awardees received hand-sculpted trophies from Ifugao polished by furniture designer Rica dela Merced, cash prizes, gift packs and gift certificates. 

This year’s Best Nanay Awards was made possible by volunteers and partners: Astoria Plaza, M.E. Sicat Construction, Rhodora “Tita Doray” Morales, Alcatel, Hanabishi Appliances, McDonald’s, Anytime Fitness, Blow Blo Dry Bar, Cakes By Myx, ChemWorld, Jollibee, DentaCare, DonJar Burgers, Dream Cakes by Chef Chris, Light Skin Philippines, Light Water, Mama Green PH, Urban Smiles, Asia’s Lashes, The Veg Mom PH, Aficionado Germany Perfume, ChemWorld Fragrance Factory, Hukad Restaurant by Golden Cowrie, Great Image, Eurotel Hotel, GoodAh!!, Orange Blush Salon, Efficascent Oil, Hotel Sogo, Aqueous Entertainment and Asian Artists Agency, Inc.

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