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EXCLUSIVE! 5 Questions with Asia’s First Apprentice

We tasked the final challenge of a quick interview to Jonathan Allen Yabut, the first-ever winner of The Apprentice Asia, just hours after being hired by Tony Fernandes.

1) You’ve made your nation proud! What Pinoy values/upbringing/flavour do you think you’ll be bringing to the table in your new role?


Filipinos are known for being emotional people (in fact Gallup ranks us as the most emotional in the world). I strongly believe it’s ok to be one, especially when it comes to leadership—you need to be always compassionate and sensitive to your people and their needs. I would like more leaders to adopt this management style especially those who can’t feel anymore how it is to be in the rank and file because they’re way above the corporate ladder.  

2) At which moment of the show you knew for sure that you will emerge a winner of The Apprentice Asia? Why do you think you deserve to win?

When I was delivering my speech in the charity ball about the AirAsia Foundation, I was telling myself: I love so much what I’m doing now for the AirAsia Foundation..I got this…I know I can nail this down!

     Why do I think I deserve it? I think I’m the most passionate to learn from Mr. Fernandes, and the most driven to contribute to his business knowing that I’m enabling every Asian to fly. I love, love traveling and when your job is in the travel industry, it doesn’t feel like it’s a job at all!  

3) If you can bring three fellow contestants to work under you in AirAsia (or any of Tony’s businesses), who would you hire and why?

Celina — Passionate, go-getter attitude, never gives up

Alex — Driven, great leader, strategist

Andrea — Decisive, sharp, simply brilliant in anything she does 

4) Is there anything about you that viewers couldn’t see on TV but you wish they knew? Do you think the TV show portrayed you accurately?

I don’t drag down people nor my team when I fail or my team fails. I did that a lot in the show because IT IS what the show asks for, otherwise you will get fired. I’ve always believed that leadership starts with building bridges with people, not burning them. I can only hope that people would see me beyond how I played the game. There are many things in the Apprentice Asia that are very different from what happen in the corporate world—such as getting fired immediately. We all get second, third or even fourth chances when we make mistakes…we don’t get fired right on the spot! 

5) Which AirAsia destinations do you want to fly to, once you can get a break from the high-profile job, and why? 

Osaka and Seoul! Always been fascinated with Korean and Japanese cultures! Have to cross that out this year from my bucket list! 

How do you think Jon performed in his final task here? Did he deserve to be the BIG WINNER? Sound off in Comment section below!

  • Paolaus

    He danced brilliantly in the finale…

    • nirmala

      congrats u deserve to win

      • http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty Travel 3Sixty

        Yep, congrats to Jon!

    • http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty Travel 3Sixty

      Yup, quite a dancer he is. :)

  • Jaime

    Yes, he deserved it~~!!

    • http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty Travel 3Sixty

      Yep, congrats to Jonathan!

  • B Sensible

    he nailed it! yeah with his emotional & passion guided personalities, he’ll take airasia to greater heights!

    • http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty Travel 3Sixty

      We hope so too! Can’t wait to see what he can bring to the table here at AirAsia. :)

  • eko salvinus

    congratulations to Jonathan, he deserved to win

    • http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty Travel 3Sixty

      Cheers to both candidates and big congrats to Jonathan!

  • Chlorine

    A bit disappointed about the finale, coz Jon is a too clear winner! Congratulations.

    • http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty Travel 3Sixty

      Andrea was a pretty strong candidate too but yup, Jon really deserves to be Asia’s first Apprentice. :)

  • Jhonny

    I saw Tony ‘s eyes were moved while listening to Jonathan’s speech from heart and he was able to grab the CEO’s heart. That’s very impressive! Congratulations to Jonathan, may God bless you & your new endeavor, you’re an example of a true Filipino !

    • http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty Travel 3Sixty

      Jonathan has made the Philippines proud! :)

  • Evelyn

    Congrats! Jonathan. You deserve to be the winner. I was a big fan of you from the beginning. A big “Syabas” to Mr. Tony Fernandez for choosing Jonathan as his apprentice. May GOD Bless you.

    • http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty Travel 3Sixty

      We wish Tony and Jonathan all the best in taking AirAsia to greater heights! :)

  • roselin

    I can see a sincere face when i see one and i can see that in u Jonathan.Congratulations!Keep up d good work.

    • http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty Travel 3Sixty

      The passion and sincerity was among the many criteria that made him ideal for the job. Congratulations to Jonathan.