Filipino finalist wins ‘Apprentice Asia’


11:45 PM July 31st, 2013

By: Oliver M. Pulumbarit, July 31st, 2013 11:45 PM

Jonathan Yabut with Celina Le Neindre

MANILA, Philippines—After competing for 11 weeks on “The Apprentice Asia,” Filipino product manager Jonathan Allen Yabut is hired.

Manila-based Yabut, 27, a University of the Philippines graduate, bested 11 other hopefuls from the region, concluding the debut season of the show inspired by the US reality program starring business luminary Donald Trump.

Declared the winner of an apprenticeship under AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes, the show’s version of Trump, Yabut competed with contestants from China, Singapore, and Malaysia, among others. He and entrepreneur-model Celina Le Neindre were the Filipino contenders. Le Neindre was “fired” in the seventh episode.

At a viewing event for the press earlier this month, Yabut recalled enjoying household chores behind the scenes, and described sharing food and appliances with other “The Apprentice” contenders similar to life in college.

As part of his strategy in the early episodes, he kept himself visible and competitive. “I did [verbalize] that I wanted to be project manager but it was edited out,” he said.

FILIPINO ASIA’S BEST Marketing executive Jonathan Allen Yabut, one of two Filipino contenders—the other being entrepreneur-model Celina Le Neindre, right—in “The Apprentice Asia,” won in the show’s debut season. He bested 11 other contenders from seven countries. RIZALINO PULUMBARIT

Yabut was the recipient of Mansmith Young Market Masters Award in 2012, recognized as one of the top seven Filipino marketers below 35.

In episode 11, Yabut was chosen over Andrea Loh Ern-Yu, a litigation lawyer from Singapore.

“I think I deserve it,” he said in the final episode before he was hired by Fernandes.

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