FOR the past 23 years, the Philippines Foundation Inc. (PFI) has been conferring the Perlas Awards to Valuable Filipinos, people who somehow have made a difference in the community, and/or in the lives of others. The organization has also recognized valuable institutions, and given citations to deserving individuals. Yes, the Perlas Hall of Fame counts names from different sectors of society, and the list is long.

This year’s Perlas Awards saluted four "Valuable Filipinos" during a simple afternoon affair at SM Theatre One. PFI president Fr. Ernesto Javier S.J. handed out the awards with the assistance of past presidents Hernan Streegan, Enrique Benedicto, Ben Yapjoco and Nestor Chua.

THE PFI MAINSTAYS. Past presidents Enrique Benedicto, Mila Espina, Ben Yapjoco and Nestor Chua.

One was a posthumous award for Ernesto Aboitiz who was honored as a "Valuable Filipino" for his exemplary service to the community, particularly in human resources, social welfare, and the environment. His son Antonio received the award.

Apolinario Ocaba Leyson was named "Valuable Scout Master" for his scouting leadership skills that have contributed to youth development.

Dr. Jose Gullas was recognized as a "Valuable Educator & Conservator of Cebuano Classics." He is credited with working hard for the preservatiopn of Cebuano Music through Halad 2010 and with the establishment of the Gullas Museum honoring Cebuano composers.

Julita Urbina, the only woman among the awardees, got recognition as a "Valuable Entrepreneur" for her leadership and diligence which has helped in the development of the local culinary scene.

The "Valuable Institution" award went to the Cebu Puericulture Center and Maternity House Inc. for its efforts in providing maternal and child care through affordable services all these years. Also commended was its high training standards in the field of midwifery.

Special citations were given to dedicated postman Aproniano Magalona and physically-challenged eight-year-old boy Adonis Dave Baraclan who, inspite of his disability and young age, is self-reliant.