Rommel Arellano is not your average person. At the age of 1, he was stricken with poliomyelitis. Since then, his only means of walking and moving about were his arms and hands covered with slippers. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Rommel brushed off discrimination and determined to accomplish feats even able-bodied people would find challenging. This included becoming successful in different jobs—from selling insurance, disc jockey, emcee, singer and musician, to being a call center agent, resource speaker and school guidance counselor.
But these accomplishments pale in comparison to the greatest achievement Rommel has so far done—help other people despite his condition, influencing them to be optimistic despite problems and infecting them with a positive attitude and a profound sense of happiness. This feat has won for Rommel the Search for the Happiest Pinoy award in 2012 and the grand prize of P250,000 cash.
Rommel Arellano with General Manager of Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions Jonathan Batangan
The Search for the Happiest Pinoy is a flagship campaign of Cebuana Lhuillier which aims to find and recognize the country’s most optimistic and resilient Filipinos despite life’s challenges in the hopes of inspiring other people to do the same.
Rommel Arellano during his acceptance speech at the 2nd Happiest Pinoy awards
Still happy to make people happy. Rommel is thankful for being recognized by Cebuana Lhuillier as the Happiest Pinoy two years ago and shares that nowadays, his loved ones and endeavours are what keeps him inspired, thankful and happy in life. “My family, friends, and my organization are truly the things that I am thankful for. These are the things that keep me doing and loving what I do.”
Today, the 37-year-old native of Limay, Bataan still works as a counsellor at the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, providing guidance and advice for abused, neglected, battered, and disabled people. He is also the president of the Organization of Persons with Disability in his community. “I still make people happy by sharing my life’s struggles and victory. Every time I talk to people, and I see them smile, I know that I have somehow eased their burden and that smile could be a sign of hope.”
With the upcoming Cebuana Lhuiller’s Search for the Happiest Pinoy 2014, Rommel believes there will never be a shortage of nominees to the country’s happiest competition. “Filipinos are known for being survivors despite various circumstances. We also have an unwavering faith in God that lets us move mountains. These are enough inspiration to make us happy.”