2009 CNN Hero of the Year

I've always been proud to be Filipino. I've always believed that we are a beautiful country filled with beautiful people. But it is wonderful that the rest of the world can see now what I've always felt in my heart. Thank you Efren Penaflorida for the work that you do. May you be an inspiration to our brethren that we can all rise above current circumstances and build better lives not just for ourselves but for our fellow Filipinos.

"Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, man, woman of different colors, shapes and sizes. We are one great tapestry. Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need.

So to each and every person inside this theater and for those who are watching at home, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed. Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. As I always tell to my co-volunteers ... you are the change that you dream, as I am the change that I dream, and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be." (Efren Penaflorida)