Morissette, Bea Gomez, Kenneth Cobonpue, Vicki Belo among Cebu's top achievers in 2022

The Queen City of the South is famous for a lot of things–from food, beaches, historical sites to being the hometown of countless individuals that made notable strides in their respective fields. Cebu has produced homegrown talents that excelled as artists, athletes, businessmen, and leaders of government. Here are the Cebuano achievers that made it to our 2022 list:

Jomari 'Jomzay' Gil Denuro (YouTube)

Filipino-Canadian Jomari “Jomzay” Gil Denuro made waves in the international music scene when he was nominated for the 2022 FilCan Music Awards. The 28-year-old songwriter for the group 12.01 was thrilled about the nomination for he was not only representing Alberta, Canada, but also his hometown, Cebu. According to him, their next single is inspired by Cebu’s breathtaking beaches. The FilCan Music Awards recognizes talent of Filipino immigrants and of Filipino descents in Canada.

Msgr. Rodolfo Villanueva (Facebook)

Known as an icon of liturgical music and for his award-winning literary pieces, Monsignor Rodolfo “Rudy” E. Villanueva gained primary recognition for receiving literary distinctions such as the Don Carlos Palanca Awards for Literature and the 2003 Umpil Gawad Alagad ni Balagtas. Villanueva was once again recognized for receiving the Order of Rajah Humabon Award from the Cebu City Government upon the recommendation of the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission in 2022. Granted to individuals who have performed significant deeds for the public, the Order of Rajah Humabon is the highest award that the city can bestow.

Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz (Facebook)

Newly appointed Acting Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz, a Cebu native, has already broken agency targets in his first few months on the job as BOC is set to breach a one trillion revenue collection before the end of the year–a feat overshooting the agency’s original target revenue of P733 billion this year. Several economists have credited Commissioner Yogi’s revenue collection performance in BOC as a key factor in slightly narrowing down the national government’s budget deficit. Recently, Commissioner Yogi played Santa and brought Christmas early to several OFW families when he ordered loads of abandoned balikbayan boxes to be delivered to them for free. Commissioner Yogi was previously an official of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) before formally taking over the post, upon appointment of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. mid-2022.

Morissette Amon (Facebook)

 Who wouldn’t have heard of “Asia’s Phoenix,” Morissette Amon? This Filipina songstress’ name and voice should ring a bell. With a singing career dating back to when she was 14, joining several contests and musicals, Morissette became a recording artist early 2014 and released a self-titled album. Since then, she bagged awards left and right and even had her first major solo concert in 2016, which was a sold-out success. In 2022, her song “Gusto Ko Nang Bumitaw” (from the teleserye The Broken Marriage Vow) which topped music charts for several weeks, was named Best Theme Song at the Asian Academy Creative Awards and represented the Philippines in the Grand Awards in December.

Kenneth Cobonpue (Facebook)

Industrial and furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue from Cebu has consistently received international acclaim for his unique designs that incorporate Filipino raw materials, including rattan, abaca, and bamboo. He has once again gained international fame when his creation the “Dolce Bed” was proclaimed “Best in Show” under the Bedroom Category by the International Furnishings & Design Association (IFDA) Excellence in Design Awards during the High Point Market 2022.

Pearl Marie Caneda and Wilbert Aunzo (Facebook)

Cebuano dance sport pair Pearl Marie Cañeda and Wilbert Aunzo initially gained fame when they bagged three gold medals during the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in December 2019 under the slow samba, chacha, and rumba categories. During the 2022 SEA Games held in Vietnam, the duo once again brought honor to the whole country by taking home two bronze medals and one silver medal.

Vicki Belo (Facebook)

“Only Belo touches my skin,” says many Cebuanos, and Filipinos alike. While Vicki Belo is a household name, not everyone knows she was born in Cebu. She is the founder, CEO, and medical director of Belo Medical Group, which pioneered many beauty breakthroughs such as liposuction, surgical and non-surgical procedures, lasers, and more. Belo Medical Group was honored with the Beauty Industry Pioneer of the Year Award 2021 by Global Health & Pharma's Healthcare & Pharmaceutical (GHP) Awards. The clinic likewise won a Diamond Award for being the No. 1 clinic for Botox and Fillers in the Philippines at The Future of Aesthetics by Allergan Aesthetics in September 2022.

Beatrice Luigi Gomez (Facebook)

In 2021, Beatrice Luigi Gomez made history as the first openly bisexual woman crowned as Miss Universe Philippines 2021. This model, community development worker, athlete, and military sergeant proudly represented her hometown of Cebu in the national competition, and later on finished as a Top 5 finalist in the Miss Universe 2021 pageant in Israel. She is part of the Philippine Navy Reserve Unit after completing a citizens military course training. In May 2022, she was awarded a military merit medal.