A Palaweño salon owner and entrepreneur is set to receive a World Class Excellence Japan Awards (WCEJA) on October 28 in Fukuoka, Japan.
Edgardo “Bong” Villanueva, a hairdresser and beauty professional with over 20 years of experience, will be acknowledged by the award giving body for his advocacy in providing free services to less fortunate individuals.
Villanueva said his award came as a surprise, stating he did not apply for it and was only notified by the WCEJA in September.
The award-giving body also recognizes celebrities, influencers, and philanthropists, who have made an impact in their communities. The WCEJA was founded by Filipina Emma Cordero and is now at the eight-year of honoring individuals in Japan.
“Inisip ko na lang kasi ako, ginagawa ito para magpaganda ng tao– gusto ko i-enhance. Unexpected talaga, nagulat ako,” he said.
“Siguro ‘yong dedication ko as a beautician, hairdresser or makeup artist, talagang nandon ‘yon sa trabaho. Mahal na mahal ko ‘yong work. Kahit ano ang profession mo at minahal mo– kapag may gawa ako at may hindi na-satisfy, iniisip ko ‘yon palagi,”he added.
As a established hairdresser for decades, Villanueva always views beauty as a total package that comes from the inside. He thinks that the standard he set in services also contributed to his selection for the particular category.
He runs four branches in Puerto Princesa where some are located inside the malls after becoming a professional beautician and hairdresser in the early 2000s.
As someone who experienced poverty as a child, giving back to less fortunate individuals through his free services is not something new to him.
“Tumutulong talaga ako lalo na sa less fortunate na bigyan sila ng pansin– ako naman nagsimula sa mahirap, naghirap din ako. Nararamdaman ko ‘yong mga tao na walang magpapaganda pero they want to– gusto nila akong gumawa sa kanila, parang binabalik ko ‘yong serbisyo don sa mga tao na di makayanan ang serbisyo ko,” he said.
Villanueva recalled how his dream as a child pushed him to pursue his profession. Despite the challenges he experienced in his journey, Villanueva believes that poverty should not hinder a dreamer to succeed.
“Ako dati nagbebenta lang ng pandesal at bananacue kaya kapag may naglalako sa salon, binibilhan ko kasi naalala ko ‘yong the days na naging bata ako. Lagi kong shini-share na hindi hadlang ang kahirapan para abutan natin ang pangarap,” he added.
It is his second overseas-based award-giving body after the Gawad Amerika which also recognized his work in the field. He believes that these recognitions will also inspire him and his staff to continuously give the satisfaction of services to their customers regardless of living status.
“Gagawin ko itong inspirasyon para pagandahin pa lalo. Sa akin kasi continuous pa rin ang process, nanaliksik pa rin ako. Ang edukasyon when it comes sa beauty, dapat talaga continuous ang pag-aaral mo. Hindi ka dapat matinag o ma-stop,” he said.