The 27-year-old Filipino Senior Product Manager beat Singaporean lawyer Andrea Loh in the popular reality show.
As Tony Fernandes' newest apprentice, Yabut gets a one year contract with the AirAsia group, with a salary of at least $100,000.
The best in Asia
The first-ever winner of “The Apprentice Asia” feels proud to have represented the Philippines in the field of business and marketing.
“This is for the Philippines. It’s a win not about me. And finally pagdating sa kompetisyon na pagalingan sa utak, pagalingan sa business and marketing, the Filipino has finally spoken that we are the best in Asia,” Jonathan told the press during the live viewing of AXN’s “The Apprentice Asia” at the Hyve in Bonifacio Global City on Wednesday, July 31.
Jonathan survived 10 boardroom trials and eventually got ‘hired’ by aviation tycoon Tony Fernandes after beating 11 other contestants across Asia. Jonathan competed with Singaporean lawyer Andrea Loh during the final task, where they organized a charity auction for AirAsia Foundation.
“Definitely nahirapan. The best in Asia are out there. The fact that the Philippines has stood out, I’m just so proud and happy to prove it. I’m very happy for her (Andrea). I know there are more opportunities for her, as well,” Jonathan said.
While he admits the competition was challenging, Jonathan states that he had always hoped to bag the title. That’s why he wore a brought a Barong Tagalog during the final task. He also wears a Philippine flag pin, which he said was like his lucky charm.
“I’ve always aspired for it kaya dala ko ang Barong Tagalog ko kasi I told myself na if I’m gonna be at the final two, I’ll wear it and I did. Every time I get scared, I touch it (pin). It reminds me of the people back home, reminds me that this is not for you but for the people rooting for you back home.”
What was his winning strategy?
“Just be yourself,” Jonathan replied.
Jonathan was also praised for being consistent and intense, yet calm and in control during the competition.
“It’s so cliché, but if you feel that you are the best, it will always shine. Always bring out the best in people. You’re not there to put people down, you’re there to bring out the best in them. As long as you show that to Mr. Tony, because he’s that kind of guy, he will like you. And he will bring you to the final two.”
Jonathan is also grateful to fellow Pinoy contestant Celina Le Neindre, whom he chose as part of his team in the final task.
“There’s always teamwork, synergy and secret connivance. I think it’s very Pinoy, we always root for each other.”
Jonathan will be working as AirAsia’s chief of staff starting August 15 and will report directly to Fernandes. While Jonathan is excited for the “opportunities and mentorship” he will get from the aviation tycoon, he also feels nervous about the big responsibility he will have as an ‘apprentice’, now that they’re outside the boardroom.
“I’m very excited and a bit scared. Pero that’s how life is. It’s always about change and I’m ready to take on the challenge. It’s more of business development. I’m very nervous. You have to prove to Mr. Tony why you are the apprentice outside the boardroom. In the end, when you’re nervous that’s a good thing because that means you’re being fueled to do your best.”
Must watch: Why Tony Fernandes chose Jonathan