The human capacity to hope is extraordinary. Amidst all the wars, diseases, and economic hardships that we experience, people still find the strength to move forward – to go on with our lives. Austrian poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke said it best in his letter “Requiem for Friend.” 

A passage in the tribute reads: “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. / Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

Rilke tells us that love and hope can conquer fear and hatred – despite all the negative things happening around us. He assures us that all things will pass; we just need to keep faith, and good things will come with the passage of time.

Uplifting stories bring us hope, and hope brings us relief from that pain which threatens to overwhelm us. This is why we chose to highlight stories that raise the Filipino spirit. To honor those who gave us hope and good news, to put the spotlight back to these stories – this is UPLIFT.

Now in its second year, UPLIFT 2023 is an affirmation of our commitment to highlight stories that inspire and enliven the Filipino spirit. Done are the days where sensational and violent stories are front and center in news stories – “if it bleeds, it leads,” according to the colloquial journalism phrase.

Indeed, uplifting stories are the news people want to read, as we discovered in the latest gathering of media practitioners in Singapore last November 2022. The global trend now is to champion uplifting stories, as well as news regarding sustainability and the environment. People want good news, and UPLIFT was ahead of the curve in this regard.


This year, UPLIFT has 10 distinct categories: Public Service; Big Business; MSMEs; Sports; Arts, Culture, and Education; Entertainment; Agriculture; Science and Technology; e-Commerce, and Healthcare.

With these categories in mind, Manila Bulletin editors then sought out deserving stories that fit and exemplify the values of our UPLIFT acronym: to Unite, to Perform, to Lead, to Inspire, to bring Focus, and to Trend.

From the editors’ desks, the list of nominees then moved to an Arbitration Committee composed of the Manila Bulletin’s publisher and senior editors. Then, a Board of Judges, chaired by our President Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, joined by Atty. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, Dr. Jaime Laya, Philip Cu-Unjieng, and David Guerrero, then decided on the final list of awardees.

This year’s UPLIFT awardees give us hope, and are paragons of what we see as good news that are worthy to be brought front and center to our readers across the islands.

In the next coming days, we’ll be featuring the awardees across the 10 categories. There’s a government agency that helps displaced, seasonal, and unemployed workers; an initiative by a state university to preserve endangered native tree species in the Philippines; and a local government unit that gave importance to digitization, to the benefit of its constituents.

There’s also an actor that made waves across the globe for her strong portrayal of a Filipina in a desperate situation; a chef that trumpets unique local cuisine to the world; a scientist that seeks to provide livelihood to hundreds of farmers; and an athlete who is the pride and joy of our nation.

The SM Group also provides an uplifting story for us, with their “United for Climate: Sustainability Forum,” which gathered business owners, partner suppliers, policymakers, and civil society organizations in a multi-sectoral dialogue to share insights, best practices, and other information that could form the foundation of a practical climate action plan in the industry.

Apart from big business, there’s also good news in the world of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). Zennor Hydroponics Farm in Palauig, Zambales presents a new way of growing food – soilless farming. And for health, we have Lifeline 16-911 Medical Inc., with their ubiquitous blue and white ambulances, often seen across the metro, zipping through traffic and saving lives.

For UPLIFT 2023, here’s the full list of awardees: TUPAD Program of the Department of Labor and Employment (Public Service); The SM Group (Big Business); Zennor Hydroponics Farm (MSMEs); Dolly de Leon (Entertainment); Carlos Yulo (Sports); Development of Clonal Propagation Protocols for Native Forest and Fruit-Bearing Tree Species of Quirino and Nearby Provinces by Quirino State University (Science and Technology); City Government of Lapu Lapu (E-Commerce by Gcash, Excellence in Adoption to Government Initiatives); Jocelyn Mamar (Agriculture); Chef Rafael Jadaleza Jr. (Arts, Culture, and Education); and Lifeline 16-911 Medical Inc. (Healthcare).

In these uncertain times where conflict abroad, economic inflation, and the lingering threat of the virus, is still very much apparent; it is the stories that uplift and give hope that help us break through despair and give us the strength to move forward with our lives. — Feliciano Rodriguez III

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