What do Pokwang and Cory Aquino have in common?

by Kristine Servando, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak

Posted at Dec 17 2009 10:32 PM | Updated as of Dec 18 2009 07:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Former president Corazon “Cory” Aquino was recently feted a posthumous Lifetime Achievement award by Lifestyle magazine “Working Mom.”

According to a press statement by the magazine, Aquino was awarded at the 2009 Working Mom Balance Awards as “one of the greatest working moms the country has ever known.”

The annual awards event, which started in 2003, recognize women who excelled in their respective careers but still “maintain a healthy balance in facing the demands in their personal lives.”

This is the first time that Working Mom gave a posthumous award.

Aquino’s daughters Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and Pinky Aquino Abellada accepted the award in her behalf in a tribute dinner held at the Rockwell Tent on December 9.

‘Super tindera’

Socorro Ramos, National Bookstore founder.

The magazine also honored 5 women who each won a “Balance Award” for 5 categories: Educator, Entrepreneur, Health and Well-being, Public Service and Corporate.

One of the winners is National Bookstore founder Socorro Ramos who led the country’s largest bookstore chain while taking care of her two sons and daughter.

Ramos started out selling school supplies during the Japanese Occupation in the 1940s.

From there, she was able to build her book store empire selling reprinted foreign textbooks at cheaper prices and printing Hallmark Greeting cards locally.

Now, National Bookstore has 2,500 employees and 108 branches nationwide and in select countries abroad. Its sister company is specialty bookstore chain Powerbooks.

Education, health advocates

Mary Joy Canon-Abaquin, founder of Multiple Intelligence School, bagged the Educator category award.

Annalisa Aquino Dee of L.A.T.C.H.

Abaquin, a psychology graduate, first founded the Child’s Place pre-school before founding the country’s first multiple intelligence school.

Among her school’s programs are entrepreneurship training for children and school-wide awareness for environmental issues.

Public Service awardee Anna Lisa Dee, meanwhile, was honored for her breastfeeding advocacy as co-founder of the non profit group Lactation Attachment Training Counseling and Help (L.A.T.C.H.).

She works as a breastfeeding counselor, resource speaker and contributing writer to various “mom and baby” publications and web sites.

Dee is also a loving wife to her high school sweetheart Dudu and a doting mother to her children.

Business savvy

Margarita Fores of CIBO.

Grace Galindez-Gupana, company founder of ABS Gen Herbs International, won the Health and Well-being category.

Gupana, a self-made millionaire, actually started out with a string of businesses that would first succeed then fail, in what she calls a “boom and bust cycle.”

She was a millionaire in the 1980s but went bankrupt after prematurely giving birth to twins.

Instead of quitting, the former “sago at gulaman vendor” and handmade crafts hawker decided to learn from her failures and start her successful herbal medicines company.

Gupana is also a Guinness World Record holder for making the world’s largest flag.

Meanwhile, CIBO restaurant president Margarita Fores won for the Entrepreneur category.

Though a certified public accountant by training, she followed her passion for food and became the head of popular restaurants like Café Bola, Pepato and the Sonstanza Health Line.

She has catered numerous high-profile events, including the wedding reception of her cousin, Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas.

Special awards

Nini Veloso, founder of the Sunshine Club.

The “Balance Awards” also included special category winners chosen by the magazine’s readers.

A “Self for Others” award was given to Nini Veloso, founder of the “Sunshine Club”, a small outreach and feeding program for little children.

Every day, Veloso packs a meals of juice paired with either biscuits, cupcakes or sandwiches and feeds over 60 children so that they do not go to school hungry.

Veloso said she started her outreach program after she and her husband lost their 13 year old adopted child.

Lastly, comedienne Pokwang (Marietta Subong in real life) was awarded the “Triumph Over Tragedy” award.

Born to a poor family, Pokwang—the 9th of 12 children-- worked hard to earn a living. She worked abroad and there gave birth to a child.

However, her child died from a brain tumor at age 6.

Pokwang, who now has a daughter, embarked on a celebrity career after winning “Clown in a Million.”

“Women from different walks of life who work hard to make a difference and raise loving families are the reason behind the balance awards,” said “Working Mom” editor in chief Dedet Reyes-Panabi in a press statement.

Previous winners of the Balance Awards include Museo Pambata Foundation CEO Nina Lim Yuson, socialite Tessa Prieto, Goldilocks marketing manager Pinky Yee, and cancer survivor Pinky Tobiano. Photos courtesy of Katherine Solis, ABS-CBN Corporate Public Relations.