~CNN Hero of the Year and Miss Earth 2009~

MANILA  – For bringing education to poor Filipino children through his “Kariton Klassroom,” Filipino Efren Peñaflorida has been awarded the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year at the conclusion of "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday night.

According to CNN Web site, Peñaflorida has been selected after getting the highest number of online votes. More than 2.75 million votes were cast for 7 weeks.

He bested nine other contenders from different countries. Hollywood star Eva Mendes presented the award to him.

The Filipino received $100,000 to continue his work with his group, Dynamic Teen Company, according to CNN. The $100,000 cash prize is on top of the $25,000 he got after his name was included on the top 10 CNN Heroes.

In his acceptance speech delivered before 3,000 people, Peñaflorida encouraged the crowd to unleash the “hero in you.”

"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," Peñaflorida said. "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.”

He also urged them to “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," he added.

During the gala night, the top 10 CNN Heroes, chosen by a blue-ribbon panel from an initial pool of more than 9,000 viewer nominations, were each honored with a documentary tribute and introduced by a celebrity presenter, according to the Web site. Each of the top 10 Heroes received $25,000. [ source : abs-cbn news ]

Read CNN"s full story here.

Stayed up late to watch Miss Earth 2009 :

Miss Earth 2009 Results: BRAZIL WINS

Miss Brazil is the winner of MISS EARTH 2009

-Miss Air (1st Runner-up): Philippines
-Miss Water (2nd Runner-up): Venezuela
-Miss Fire (3rd Runner-up): Spain

Congratulations!

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