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Cagayan de Oro artist Rustie Quintana who’s life has been featured in ABS-CBN’s Maalaala Mo Kaya, was recently named as among the ten finalists for this year’s Cebuana Lhuillier’s search for the Happiest Pinoy.

The awarding was held last September 10 at the Solaire Grand Ballroom. Rustie’s recognition was significant since the search received over 280,000 nominations for this year, which is the most in the campaign’s three-year history.

Photo below shows the plaque of recognition.

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Read the brief description on Rustie’s life story below.

RUSTIE QUINTANA (25), Artist
Cagayan De Oro City

Life was rough for Rustie as he was once one of the kids roaming the streets of Plaza Divisoria in Cagayan De Oro City. When his brother was arrested for an alleged involvement in illegal drugs, Rustie had to make a living washing cars, selling newspapers and plastic bags, and working for the Cogon Market. For a time, he also resorted to ingesting harmful substance to suppress hunger.

One day, while perched on a tree, it dawned on him how life can be painful for a lot of people. That’s when he made a vow to himself, swearing he will not let life’s cruelty ruin him and take away his dreams.

Eager to learn, Rustie was admitted to the Department of Education’s ALS program for free. Around the same time, he also discovered his talent in the arts. Selling his artworks allowed him to send his other siblings to school.

Rustie garnered achievements, being the recipient of multiple awards including one from the British Council’s I am a Changemaker program in 2005. In 2012, his organization was a recipient of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations Award. Rustie recently earned his degree in Development Communication in Xavier University – Ateneo De Cagayan. Often times, he would visit the kids of Plaza Divisoria and teach them about numbers and letters in an effort to inspire them to do better in life.

Photo below shows Rustie (standing 2nd from left) together with the other finalists and the eventual winner Richardson Navor (in wheel chair 1st from left). Full story HERE.

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photos from Anne Corominas, Happiest Pinoy

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