New upstarts once again dominated this year’s YAMAN Awards, General Santos City’s own brand of recognition for exceptional and outstanding local entrepreneurs, which is now on its 4th year.

In a formal black tie dinner hosted by the city government at the KCC Convention Center, seven companies took home trophies and cash awards amounting to a little over half a million pesos in prizes.

Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 Chito Bugayong of Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki with Vice Mayor Flor Congson

For two years in a row now, Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki again got one of the top citations, the Entrepreneur of the Year (individual category) Award.   The guy who filipinized the Japanese snack delicacy  tacoyaki, my PREX kuya, Chito Bugayong, received the award himself and announced during his acceptance speech that they now have 79 outlets all over the country and that they are aiming to reach the 100-mark by the end of 2008.

Entrepreneur of the Year (Juridical Category) AMA-CLC represented by Atty. Rey Cartojano with Mayor Jun Acharon

The other awardee in the juridical category is 4-year old AMA Computer Learning Center (Skep-Tron Ventures, Inc.), represented by my dashing friend and family lawyer Atty. Rey Cartojano.  The young lawyer-entrepreneur revealed to the audience that the award gives them more reason to develop the city into the becoming the south’s Animation Capital considering the impressive number of digital artists-graduates who have received offers to work in international firms.

The rest of the winners, with their corresponding cash awards are:

  • Local Taxpayer of the Year – Cargill Philippines, Inc.; Cash Prize- P50,000
  • Loyal Entrepreneur of the Year – Sarangani Rural Bank; Cash Prize- P50,000
  • Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year – KM Foods; Cash Prize- P50,000
  • Product Innovator of the Year – KM Foods; Cash Prize- P80,000
  • Employer of the Year – Allied Pacific Packaging Solution Corp.;  Cash Prize- P80,000
  • Entrepreneur of the Year (individual category) – Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki;  Cash Prize- P100,000
  • Entrepreneur of the Year (juridical category) – AMA CLC (SKEP-TRON Ventures, Inc.); Cash: P100,000

Mayor Jun Acharon with 2008 YAMAN AWARDEES (L-R) Cargill Phils, Inc (Local Taxpayer of the Year); Sarangani Rural Bank (Loyal Entrepreneur of the Year); KM Foods (Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year); Allied Pacific Packaging Solution, Inc. (Employer of the Year); KM Foods (Product Innovator of the Year); Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki and AMA-CLC.

The two-hour program directed by Egai Cadiente and stage-managed by Bing Cariño, unfolded in a breathtaking five-part spectacle of lights, images, dance and song; each part embodied in the following ideals: DREAM, BELIEVE, SURVIVE, ASPIRE and EXCEL.

Making sure that each segment segues beautifully into the next and that each VIP’s name was called on stage accordingly are veteran and amiable program hosts Joana Grace Banting-Lapore, Atty. Elvie Albano and Glenville Gonzales (of the government talk show, TODAY WITH THE GENERALS).

The minimalist set design was a product of the minds of Egai, Bing and Architect Michael Ang while doing its magic on the backdrop are the combined forces of ABS-CBN, Leonard Pe and Jun Pilapil.

The Genrythmics Band with GenSan Pop Idols

A colorful mix of talents made up the list of performing artists.  These are:

  • Genrythmics Band
  • GSC Government Employees Performing Arts Company (Choir and Dance Divisions)
  • RMMC Teatro Ambahanon Contemporaryo
  • RRMC Gymnastics Team
  • Extreme Boyz and Renegade 360
  • Street Fire
  • Karen Maye Martin
  • Sam Salih
  • GSC Dance Sports Council
  • Serafin Villodres
  • Gensan Pop Idols:  Mia Rocacorba, Cris Lyn Rotor, Theresa Villas, Rodney Valencia
  • Empress of the Milky Way and Diva Millicent Hope Kaindoy

Lending their presence is the CEMCDO Staff headed by Ms. Coralynn Gacal-Espinosa who happens to be the show’s producer, together with the SMED Council (headed by Ms. Tess Pacheco) and the Office of the City Mayor.

Executive Producer of course is GenSan City Mayor Jun Acharon who went out of his way to thank the lady who started it all, four summers ago, DTI-ARD Doris Delima.

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