TOYM 2024

Leading with Excellence entails embodying high standards, competence, and effectiveness, guiding others with initiative, informed decisions, and a commitment to continuous improvement. It involves setting a positive example, inspiring confidence, and striving for excellence in all endeavors.

Serving with Purpose emphasizes service driven by a clear sense of meaning and dedication to others. It entails making a difference, contributing to the greater good, and addressing the needs of individuals or communities with empathy, compassion, and a genuine desire to create positive impact.

Together, “Leading with Excellence, Serving with Purpose” encapsulates the ethos of leadership and service. The theme underscores the importance of combining effective leadership with a purpose-driven commitment to serving others for the betterment of society.
JCI Sen. Alfredo “Jun” Mondiguing Jr.
National Chairman – The Outstanding Young Men
JCI Philippines

About TOYM

“The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM)” award, formerly known as the “The Outstanding Young Filipinos (TOYF)” from 1996 to 1999, is an annual national recognition awarded to Filipinos between 18 and 40 years of age who have made significant contributions to their field or community. The award is organized yearly by JCI Philippines with the support of the TOYM Foundation, as well as other partners and stakeholders.

The TOYM was established on October 15, 1959, during the 11th JCI Philippines National Convention held in Baguio City, adopting the award instituted months earlier by JCI Manila. This recognition program however traces its origins to the Ten Outstanding Young Persons program developed by JCI USA in 1930. In 1984, JCI Philippines started giving women the recognition. From 1996 to 1999, the recognition was known as “The Outstanding Young Filipinos” (TOYF) award. The name was reverted to “The Outstanding Young Men” but women remained eligible for the award with the JCI contending that the word “men” does not “distinguish the difference in gender”.

Over the years, the TOYM has become an institution, having developed a reputation for its selectiveness of outstanding young men and women, whose selfless dedication to their profession or vocation has resulted in significant contributions to the welfare of their countrymen, as well as to the advancement of their fields of endeavor.

By recognizing outstanding young Filipinos, the TOYM hopes to highlight inspiring examples that will motivate the younger generations to attain greater heights of personal achievement and professional accomplishment, in the spirit of selfless service to humanity.

About TOYM Foundation

The TOYM Foundation was organized on October 22, 1990, by past TOYM honorees and JCI national officers, with the objective of providing support and ensuring the continuity and integrity of the awards program. It works closely with JCI Philippines in generating financial and other material resources, in engaging community support to the program and in choosing the members of the screening jury and the board of judges.


  • Kenneth Isaiah Abante

    Socio Civic and Voluntary Leadership
    Kenneth Isaiah Ibasco Abante (Ken) is a policy researcher, teacher, organizer, and public servant who believes in the power of ordinary people to push for systemic change. Born from a family of Bicolanos in Canaman, Iriga and Naga, Camarines Sur, he graduated top of his class from grade school to graduate school: valedictorian in Naga Parochial School in 2004, valedictorian at Ateneo de Naga University High School in 2008, valedictorian at Ateneo de Manila University in 2012. In 2019, he finished his Masters in
    Public Administration in International Development from Harvard Kennedy School where he was awarded the class' two top distinctions: the Raymond Vernon Award for Commitment to International Development and Academic Excellence and the Outstanding Second Year Policy Analysis Award for "Minimizing Smuggling and Restoring Public Trust in the Philippine Bureau of Customs".

    From 2012 to 2016, he served in the Department of Finance in various roles covering tax, customs, local finance, budget, economic policy and strategy, and the leadership transition. He worked with collective action movements to pass the Sin Tax Reform Act of 2012—to increase taxes on tobacco and alcohol to fund universal health care despite the outsize political influence of the strongest tobacco lobby in Asia and the largest publicly listed food and beverage company in Southeast Asia. The team’s contributions to
    public service was recognized with an Aguinaldo Service Award.

    Ken has engaged in policy research and organizes with social movements attempting to address the biggest public issues of our time. He serves as the coordinator (2020-2023) and adviser (July 2023- onwards) of Move As One, a coalition of 142 organizations fighting for a P300 billion mobility solution package towards safe, humane, and inclusive public transport in the Philippines; the Citizens’ Budget Tracker and People’s Budget Coalition, for budget transparency and accountability, and Tarabangan Kontra COVID-19 to strengthen the local health emergency response of Naga City and Camarines Sur. These social movements have been recognized nationally and internationally, through awards such as the World Justice Challenge Honorable Mention, the Generation T Asia Leader of Tomorrow award “for connecting people to social good”, the Rotary Peace Advocate Award, the J. Amado Araneta Living Hero Award, the Multiple Intelligence Award for the Logical- Mathematical Category, and the UP President Edgardo J. Angara Fellow for his Education Governance and Participation Research, recognized at the Senate and the Second Congressional Education Commission on Education (EDCOM II).

    At the core of these initiatives is Ken’s deep faith in the dignity and power of ordinary citizens to fight for change and represent themselves in the power and governance structures that shape their lives.
  • Stephen Michael Co

    Food Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    Stephen Co is a visionary entrepreneur and trailblazer in the field of food innovation. As the founder and CEO of Worth The Health Foods (WTH Foods), a pioneering plant-based
    alternative protein startup in the Philippines, Stephen has exemplified ingenuity, sustainability, and a deep commitment to his community.

    Stephen's impact entrepreneurial spirit took flight with the inception of WTH Foods, where he spearheads the creation of plant-based versions of beloved Southeast Asian dishes, utilizing local and sustainable ingredients. From reimagining sisig to crafting delectable crab cakes and tuna alternatives, his creations not only cater to the taste buds but also champion the cause of sustainable dining. Before his venture with WTH Foods, Stephen founded Nipa Brew Craft Beverages, an embodiment of his passion for innovative gastronomy, operating a microbrewery and taproom in Makati, Philippines.

    He is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University where he took up BS Biology. His
    undergraduate thesis entitled “Design and Construction of a Synthetic Coconut Cadang Cadang Viroid” won him first runner up in the national BPI-DOST Science Awards in 2009. On top of that he was president of the Biology Organization (BoX) and graduated as Magna Cum Laude, which gained him a finalist place at The Outstanding Students of the Philippines award in 2009.  Stephen continued his studies at the University of the Philippines - Diliman. He graduated top of his class and earned a Masters in Technology Management degree, while working as a consultant at Hybridigm Consulting, the Philippines’ first biotech consulting firm. In 2012 he earned the prestigious UK Chevening Scholarship, enabling him to pursue a Masters in Bioscience Enterprise at the University of Cambridge. He was most fond of his time in Cambridge, where he had the chance to meet the Prince of Wales, who is now King Charles III.

    Stephen is recognized as a Gen.T Leaders of Tomorrow by Tatler Asia and won the Ramon V. Del Rosario (RVR) SIKLAB Awards for impact entrepreneurship. His passions are food innovation, sustainability, and entrepreneurship. He is putting up a food innovation center to work on global food security issues. He believes that our country needs more scientists to help deliver solutions to our most pressing challenges, and he is not afraid to lead the way and serve as inspiration to a generation of science entrepreneurs.
  • Khrista Francis Desesto

    OFW Empowerment Advocate
    Hyku Desesto (Hyku) is a renowned photographer, videographer, director and an entrepreneur based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The early stages of Hyku’s life in the UAE were mostly characterized with tenacity. She worked hard to refine her skills in photography, connect with the city’s who’s who and build her capital for what’s about to be the biggest decision she would eventually make: put up her own business. As a business owner, Hyku has to wear many hats day in and day out, and her biggest weapon now is not a camera, but her charisma. More than talent, her business relies on a lot of people skills, and Hyku’s upbringing has molded her charm to cut through a multicultural environment of people from different walks of life. Working in production was a dream for Hyku, whose father was a journalist for a time. Following in his footsteps, Hyku now runs her own well-established production company that rings a loud bell in exclusive lifestyle and corporate circles and has worked with legendary personalities like Gigi Hadid, Ciara, Naomi Campbell, Lindsay Lohan, Tom Jones and Mariah Carey, and brands from Vogue, Louis Vuitton and Prada to Tommy Hilfiger. Her sustainable business has not only turned her visions to reality, but has also become an instrument of hope for other Filipinos in Dubai.

    Regional and international award-giving bodies have taken notice of Hyku’s pre-eminence, both as a photographer and an entrepreneur. Her success has also been told numerous times in esteemed international publications such as Harper's Bazaar, Emirates Woman and Cosmopolitan, and in other media engagements.

    Hyku was awarded The Filipino Times UAE Photographer of the Year 2019. She was also
    nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year 2019, the first time that the awarding panel had
    nominated an entity for two awards in one year. Hyku was also commissioned by Netflix
    Amsterdam to both produce and feature personally in the brand’s first Ramadan campaign ever, the She Rules #Girlbosses Campaign. She was the only Filipino to be featured in this campaign among Arab talent. Netflix took this step to exhibit these leading, powerful women who break the Hollywood stereotypes and are considered as heroes, revealing women as fearless, brave, strong, and relentless in their own individual way despite the struggles they go through both in the workplace and at home, characteristics that are truly embodied by the legendary Hyku.
  • Mark Gersava

    Agri - Entrepreneurship
    Mark Sultan is a multi-awarded Igorot social entrepreneur, innovator, climate change advocate, community and peace builder, international consultant on sustainability and circular economy and inspirational speaker from the Municipality of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat Province. He is the founder and executive farmer of Bambuhay, a greentech social enterprise which focuses on circular economy that innovates products that cause no harm to the people and the planet, use business to implement solutions to plastic pollution, deforestation, climate change and poverty using bamboo and technology.

    He grew up in extreme poverty in a conflict-ridden place in Southern Philippines. As the 8th among 11 children, he experienced to be homeless, lived in a classroom at the back of a church and in a 20 square meter-hut. But through hard work, he finished his college education as a working and self-supporting student. After helping his siblings and nieces finished their education, he left his full-time job in a corporate industry and founded the social enterprise, Bambuhay.

    Bambuhay aims to equip, educate and train the marginalized indigenous people, victims of conflict, former rebels, solo parents and women with the right skills, digital tools and capacitate them as Agri-preneurs to provide them with sustainable livelihood and green jobs. Bambuhay started with no production facility, a capital of Php10,000 with only one (1) personnel hired. After more than five (5) years, Bambuhay has already  established a 5,000 square-meter production facility; has automated its production process; engaged additional 5 women bamboo harvester; and has provided  employment opportunities to 31 personnel.

    With all these initiatives, Mark Sultan was awarded the Grand Winner-Startupper of the Year in Paris, France; awardee of the Developmental Social Entrepreneur Award; Most Inspiring MSME 2023; Gawad Banyuhay: Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2022;  Entrepreneur of the Year: Circle of Excellence-Asia CEO Awards; Impact Entrepreneur of  the Year 2021; Injap Sia Outstanding Young Entrepreneur 2020- Agriculture Sector; and National Leadership Award in Community Service.

    He was appointed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. as the youngest  Executive Member in the National Innovation Council representing the MSME’s/Start-up  Sector on June 30, 2023. The National Innovation Council is the Philippine government’s highest policy-making body for national innovation development.
  • Ernest John Obiena

    Global Excellence in Sports
    Ej Obiena, a Filipino Olympian pole vaulter, ranked second in the world in men's pole vault in 2023, just behind world record holder Mondo Duplantis of Sweden, according to the World Athletics Organization. He made a history by securing the Philippines' first gold medal at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou in 2023. He was the only athlete to clear 5.75 meters, solidifying his unmatched position in the field. Subsequently, Ej Obiena extended the Asian Games record to 5.90 meters, which he easily cleared on his first attempt,  demonstrating his exceptional skills and determination.

    He set the Philippine national record in pole vaulting with a record-breaking of 5.55 meters in 2016 at the 78th Singapore Open Championships. Notably, he broke the Asian Athletics Championships record by clearing 5.71 meters, earning a coveted gold medal in Doha, Qatar, in 2019. Ej Obiena is the first Filipino athlete to receive a scholarship from  the International Athletic Association Federation (IAAF). With his exceptional achievements, dedication to his sport, and international recognition as a pole vaulter, he has consistently raised the bar for Filipino athletes, becoming a symbol of excellence in pole vaulting on the global stage.
  • Ma. Regaele Olarte

    Education Leadership
    Ma. Regaele A. Olarte is an ongoing Doctor of Philosophy in education major in Physics from the University of the Philippines. She Graduated with Honors in Master of Development Management from the development academy of the Philippines, also a graduate in Master of Public Management, Major in Policy and Program Administration from the University of the Philippines.

    She’s an Academic Awardee in Development Academy of the Philippines. She received the 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize Laureate in ABU DHABI UAE and the Grand Champion in the SEAMO- BIOTROP SEA Creative Camp for Urban Agriculture in Indonesia. She’s also the Top Honoree of the Gawad Kagitingan ng Lahing Kayumanggi 2017 and many more awards in the receiver many more awards in the past years.

    As an Educator, her approach is “attitude of stewardship” she may not be the owner but merely the steward of everything that God has entrusted to her--- Talents, abilities, time, finances, family and work. And the more she remains faithful in stewarding, the more abundantly she’s blessed with greater opportunities in Life.

    Her dream is to become the Secretary of Department of Education because she believes that nothing is impossible to those who believe.
  • John Mark Napao

    Sustainable Energy
    He is the President and Founder of Solar Hope, an NGO that aims to provide solar and sustainable solutions to marginalized communities in the Philippines. He is an active and registered member of JCI Philippines under the local chapter- JCI Antipolo Inc. He is also working as an Engineer in National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, and has expertise in the field of Rural Electrification, Renewable Energy and Community Development.

    Engr. Mark Napao has become a shining star in the field of engineering, making a significant impact through his exceptional work in social innovation and energy solutions. One of his notable achievements is winning the Social Innovation Challenge 2020, where he showcased his groundbreaking project on "Enabling Communities through Energy Innovation." Furthermore, Engr. Napao was selected as part of the prestigious iVolunteerPH 1st Cohort Incubation Program. This program offers support and guidance to emerging leaders in the social innovation space, providing them with the necessary resources to turn their ideas into impactful initiatives. In 2020, Engr. Napao's  efforts were recognized on an international scale with the New Energy Nexus Philippines Honorable Mention in the Land Category for the EWC Earth Optimism Awards: Southeast Asia. His dedication to sustainable energy solutions also earned him the distinguished East-West Center Planet Pillar Award.

    In a remarkable initiative to bring light into the lives of the underprivileged, Engr. John Mark Napao, in collaboration with various partners and organizations, launched the Tanglaw Solar Lanterns to bring light to numerous communities in the Philippines. As of  August 30, 2023, this project has successfully reached a total of 42 communities,  providing solar lighting to 2,600 homes. Additionally, their efforts have resulted in the installation of 3,500 beacons of hope, symbolizing the positive impact they are bringing to these communities. Through their work, Engr. John Mark Napao and Solar Hope are making a significant difference in improving access to sustainable and reliable energy sources for individuals and families in need.

  • Jan Carlo Punongbayan

    JC Punongbayan a PhD economist, assistant professor at the University of the Philippines School of Economics, seasoned journalist for Rappler, author of a book on economic history, thought leader, public speaker, and popularizer of economics—serve as a living embodiment of one of the JCI’s values, “Service to humanity is the best work of Life “.

    He served as a longtime instructor at the University of the Philippines school of Economics (UPSE) since 2013—a lecturer, teaching fellow and now assistance professor.  But beyond the classroom, JC extends his educational reach by regularly giving talks to civil society, including youth organizations, business groups, labor unions, advocacy groups, and political parties.

    As a writer and columnist for for more than 10 years, JC leverages the power of the written word to illuminate the societal, economic, and development issues that plague the Philippines. His articles over the past decade are not mere reports; often they are clarion calls to critical thinking, action, and meaningful economic reforms.

    Through his journalistic endeavors—amplified by his considerable social media presence—JC reaches a broad audience and is able to influence not just students and everyday citizens but also policymakers, offering them not only knowledge but also a pathway to become more thoughtful and responsible members of society.
  • Tor Sagud

    Heritage Promotion
    TOR "MASTOR" SAGUD Exemplifies passion for preserving and promoting the unique Igorot culture of the Cordilleras. Hailing from the mountainous region, He has made significant contribution as an illustrator, artist, animator and author of "IGOROTAK-AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE."

    Tor's impact on education and the creative industry is substantial. He held the role of department head of Animation at CLSDA, Inc., overseeing the development of animators who contributed to renowned productions such as Disney's Big Hero Six Series, Dragon
    Ball Z, One Piece, and many more. Today, he stands as the president of Studio Sagud, an organization focused on producing cultural and educational books, and co- chairs Gripo Comics.

    Tor Sagud has a crucial mission of connecting the local digital creative industry, which includes both registered and unregistered professionals, to local and international clients. This aims to prevent exploitation and foster the growth of the creative industry in the Cordillera region. His work as a modern illustrator is significant for its blend of traditional and contemporary elements, seeking to unite the diverse regional identities within the Cordilleras and the Philippines. His projects focus on promoting and preserving local culture, which holds historical, traditional, and customary significance. Notably, his "Igorotak Series"project aims to sell a million units while also contributing to reforestation efforts and addressing unemployment issues in the Cordillera region and the Philippines as a whole. Sagud envisions this initiative as a means to revitalize Cordillera culture and inspire artists from other regions to follow a similar path.


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Search Honoree

Rico Ancog

Business, economics, and entrepreneurship

Ariestelo A. Asilo

for Social Entrepreneurship
Awarded 2021
Business, economics, and entrepreneurship

Iloisa Romaraog-Diga

for Agricultural Entrepreneurship
Awarded 2021
Business, economics, and entrepreneurship

Eleazar Abraham “Abe” L. Orobio

for Education and Culture
Awarded 2021
Literature, Culture, and the Arts

Anna R. Oposa

for Environment Marine Conservation
Awarded 2021
Religion, Ethics, and the Environment

Maria Yzabell Angel V. Palma

for Science and Technology
Awarded 2021
Scientific and/or Technological Development

Jayeel S. Cornelio, PhD

for Education/Sociology
Awarded 2021
Education and the Academe

Dr. Jaime Alfonso M. Aherrera

for Medicine/Cardiology
Awarded 2021
Health and Medicine

Lou Sabrina S. Ongkiko

for Education/Academe
Awarded 2021
Education and the Academe

Dr. Melvin J. Sanicas

for Science/Medicine
Awarded 2021
Health and Medicine

Jaemark S. Tordecilla

for Digital Journalism
Awarded 2021
Literature, Culture, and the Arts

David L. Almirol Jr.

for Science, Technology, and Engineering
Awarded 2020
Scientific and/or Technological Development

Atty. Lesley Jeanne Y. Cordero

for Political and Social Sciences
Awarded 2020
Politics, Law, and Governance

Edgar T. Elago

for Community Development in Education
Awarded 2020
Humanitarian, Civil Society or Voluntary Leadership

George I. Royeca

for Business Entrepreneurship in Pioneering Industries
Awarded 2020
Business, economics, and entrepreneurship

Hon. Victor Ma. Regis N. Sotto

for Government Service
Awarded 2020
Politics, Law, and Governance

Dr. Raymond Francis R. Sarmiento

for Medicine
Awarded 2020
Health and Medicine

Capt. Ron T. Villarosa Jr.

for Community Development in Military Service
Awarded 2020
Politics, Law, and Governance
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