HFH Philippines Hosts More Than 100 Volunteers At Calauan Build

March 4th, 2011

Those Who Work On Housing Resettlement Project Include Businessmen, Bloggers And Media Personalities

Volunteers at HFH Philippines’ Open Build in Calauan included businessmen, artistes, bloggers and even a senator.

Fernando Zobel de Ayala welcoming the volunteers to the build.

CALAUAN, 4th March 2011: More than 100 volunteers worked at a Habitat for Humanity Philippines build in Calauan, southwest of Metro Manila, recently.

Corporate leaders, media personalities, politicians, journalists and local bloggers volunteered in the Open Build in Laguna province.

Fernando Zobel de Ayala, president and chief operating officer of the Ayala group, one of HFH Philippines’ strongest supporters, invited his friends and businessmen to join the build which will be a monthly event.

According to a Philippine Daily Inquirer report, Zobel said he desired nothing better than to change the landscape of housing in the Philippines by giving every single Filipino the dignified life they deserve through model sustainable communities.

Earlier in 2010, the Ayala group has committed to supporting house construction and providing volunteer labor to the Calauan project.

The Open Build took place at the second site of BayaniJuan sa Southville 7, a resettlement housing project for riverbank dwellers.

The resettlement housing project is part of a seven-year project – Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig – to clean up the Pasig River. The river rehabilitation project involves various groups ranging from non-governmental organizations such as HFH Philippines to the national government to the private sector.

During the Open Build, volunteers moved concrete interlocking blocks and used them to build base walls, among other tasks.

In her column for The Philippine Star newspaper, Monserrat “Mons” Romulo said she “leapt at the opportunity” to go on her first Habitat build with her son. The columnist is the daughter of the Philippines’ former Foreign Affairs Secretary, Alberto Romulo.

Romulo worked on a house together with Jim Fuentebella and his wife Mavis. Fuentebella is vice-president for corporate marketing at Max’s Restaurant, a local chain of fried chicken restaurants. His family also owns the Philippine franchise for US-headquartered donut chain Krispy Kreme.

“Building for Habitat for Humanity was fun, tiring but absolutely fulfilling,” Romulo wrote.

Jordan Tan (second from right) looks forward to continue serving the community in Calauan. He was part of the Manila Bulletin team who included board member Emilio Yap III (second from left).

Senior executives who contributed their labor included Felix Ang, president of CATS Motors and Emilio Yap III, a member of the board of Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp.

Meanwhile, volunteer Jordan Tan enjoyed stuffing the concrete interlocking blocks with grout.

“As builders for a day, I realized that young as I am, it made me very happy to know that I was able to give back to the community in my own little way,” he wrote in an article for Manila Bulletin, a local newspaper.

“We were only able to build a part of the house but this little act of ours already had a very big impact on another person’s life.”

Calling the Habitat experience “truly worthwhile and unforgettable”, Tan looked forward to returning to Calauan and continuing his service in the community.

Media personalities included Karen Davila, a news anchor and correspondent for ABS-CBN, a local broadcasting station; actress and scriptwriter Bibeth Orteza; singer/actress Emmanuelle Vera and Feli Atienza, the wife of Kim Atienza, a TV personality and goodwill ambassador for HFH Philippines.

Filipino-English actor Derek Ramsey joined the build at the invitation of Davila.

“This is my first time to volunteer for Habitat. I’m blessed with a great family. I’ve lived a comfortable life all my life. I don’t think it’s fair that these families live in the conditions they do. Knowing I’ve helped a family move and live in better conditions feels great for my soul,” Ramsey was quoted as saying in a Philippine Daily Inquirer article written by Davila.

Actor Derek Ramsey (left) is gratified that he helped a family to move and live in better conditions. Cristalle Belo Henares (right) giving him a hand.

Felix Ang, president of CATS Motors and Senator, Francis “Chiz” Escudero.

The appearance of Philippine Senator, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, attracted the attention of other volunteers. The senator took part in the build with his younger sister Bernadette, his fraternity brothers and his Senate staff.

Escudero served as the team leader, passing bricks along a human chain. “Anything that will help, your sweat, your labor. You use your own strength. Not everyone has the money to build a house,” he said.

The senator said his Habitat experience strengthened his advocacy to provide for the housing needs of police and military personnel with the help of various agencies.

Rounding up the volunteers were senior editors and writers of Manila Bulletin and staff from K-Zone children magazine, corporate volunteers from Emerson Manila and several bloggers who were first-time Habitat volunteers.

Staff members from Emerson, headquartered in St Louis, Missouri, the U.S., were on their regular Habitat build in Calauan.

To date, HFH Philippines has completed constructing 200 new houses and repaired another 800 homes on the first site of BayaniJuan sa Calauan. On the second site, Habitat has finished building 20 steel frame houses and more than 300 houses made of concrete interlocking blocks. Another nearly 160 housing units are under construction on the second site.

Over the past year, HFH Philippines has hosted about 3,700 volunteers on the second site with the majority being corporate volunteers.