In the thrilling finale last night (July 31) which aired on AXN, Jonathan Yabut wins over Andrea Loh in The Apprentice Asia season 1. I was privileged to have witnessed the Filipino contender’s victory during the live viewing party held at the Hyve in Bonifacio Global City. Aside from Jonathan, the equally capable opponent Andrea Loh of Singapore was there along with the other contestants who were eliminated. Among them were Nik Aisyah Amirah Binti Mansor and Nazril Idrus from Malaysia, Celina Le Neindre also from the Philippines, Dussadee Oeawpanich from Thailand and Samuel Rufus Nallaraj from India. When the time came to watch the finale where Andrea and Jonathan were seen in their final challenge where they organized a black tie charity fund-raising event for AirAsia Foundation, everyone was seated and cheering on the Filipino contestant. Both finalist were able to keep up with the task ably assisted by the other contestants who were already fired but asked to return for this particular episode. Though successful, the two contenders were not without their shortcomings. Andrea, for instance, had difficulty commanding a strong presence when she had to address the guests with her speech. She was also unable to keep up with the numbers when the auction started. The use of too many negative words and acquiring projects for bids of low value was our kababayan‘s flaws.
When the event ended, Andrea was asked to enter the boardroom with her team – Dian Krishna Mukti from Indonesia, Ningku Lachungpa from India and Alexis Lothar Bauduin from China. Jonathan also went in with Nazril, Celina and Sam. The moment Mr. Fernandes joined Advisors Mark Lankester and Kat Tan, the grilling started. The project managers were asked about their strategies in choosing their team members, while members of the respective teams were asked how their leader was. Eventually, only Andrea and Jonathan were left for more questioning as the rest of the team members were asked to leave. The AirAsia CEO tried to get the most of the two contenders with interview questions that prompted Jonathan and Andrea to fight for their spot as the first Apprentice Asia. They reasoned why they are the worthy apprentice and not the other, they defended themselves as stones were cast at each of them. Asked who they think is worth becoming the apprentice, Expedia Asia CEO Kat favored Jonathan for his people skills while Tune Hotel CEO Mark Lankester favored Andrea for humility and potential. After a brief consultation with the advisers, Mr. Tony Fernandes announced “You’re hired!” at Jonathan Yabut. Everyone at Hyve was jubilant upon hearing the result. I myself was very happy because I was really rooting for Jonathan to win. The 27-year-old senior product manager beat 11 other contestants who successfully made it to the reality show from thousands of applicants across Asia.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Jonathan to work at one of the businesses owned by Mr. Tony Fernandes, the aviation tycoon who was Forbes Asia’s 2010 “Asia Businessman of the Year.” The UP Economics graduate’s soon-to-be boss is known for turning AirAsia around within a year of taking over. Throughout the 11 episodes, I witnessed how passionate and competent Jonathan was when they were given challenge to test their skills in sales, negotiation, creativity, management, marketing and leadership. At the boardroom during the finale, one can see how skilled, experienced and mature Jonathan is in the way he explained himself. Watch the video of his speech.