Monday, October 25, 2010

More Re Gawad Kalinga's Activities

(I'm reprinting a letter from Benita Delfin about Gawad Kalinga. The first time I had heard about Gawad Kalinga was from my St. Theresa's college chums who talked about how Gawad Kalinga helped poor people build homes in the Philippines - perhaps something like Carter's Habitat for Humanity.)

Good evening/morning to all of you:

Yesterday, Tony Meloto was the guest speaker at one of the Methodist Church here in Cypress CA organized by its pastor, Jose Padilla and Ernie Delfin. Ernie and I had been involved in fund raising efforts especially Ernie who is currently out of town and had known Tony for quite some time since he has been a guest at our home, at University of CA Rotaract Club and now the Methodist Church.

He is a dynamic speaker who speaks from the heart-no “notes” at all and very knowledgeable about what is happening in the Philippines and around the world. He inspires and truly cares about people. Late President Cory Aquino supported Gawad Kalinga in her administration and now is being continued by her son, current President Noynoy Aquino. Tony has been offered government position but declined and wanted to work only as an “ordinary person”. He has a book called “ Builder of Dreams”. Please read more at

Tony Meloto is such a powerful speaker and very positive and has a “can do” attitude that is influencing not only the poor, rich, middle class people in the Philippines, Canada and Europe that have been around him but also those local government units(LGUs) leaders (Mayor, Vice Mayor) including people that have been corrupt like Imelda Marcos and ex President Joseph Estrada. His goal is to change the mindset of people starting with themselves by having strong moral values, by caring (kalinga) and by sharing (bayanihan). He realizes the weaknesses and strengths of Filipinos and humble enough to share his beginnings as being poor and lucky enough to have scholarships that brought him to the United States where he finished his high school and Ateneo where he got his Masters. He is very visionary and I made a comment to him that he is such an inspiring leader and model and wished him good health and stamina to be able to continue his work and to handle all the challenges he has to deal with. I also said he talks like an architect - building from scratch to finish since my background includes knowledge in architecture. He talks about building, sustainability, preserving the environment –the basic tenets of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and how Gawad Kalinga houses adopt to the location where they are going to be built such as some houses will be have to be on stilts because of existing water condition. Gawad Kalinga also teaches and makes the families proud and work for what they have such as making their own houses clean and beautiful and planting vegetables to help support themselves.

Observing him he doesn’t want people to be “in awe” with him as a person - very low key as far as his dress code as opposed to his projects - the Gawad Kalinga houses - the colors chosen are upbeat colors that attract people’s attention immediately! And I believe the reason is …. people will have the pride of ownership of having a home they never had or will never have if not for Gawad Kalinga’s supporters. Tony Meloto receives the Social Enterpreneur Award very recently and is very happy about it because he can participate in the World Entrepreneurs Sessions. With his work cut out for him he has to be a Master Enterpreneur! Gawad Kalinga is now involved on building roads and bridges with the local government units.

In the afternoon, Cely Adamo, a Rotarian and active Gawad Kalinga supporter and I went to a very beautiful home in La Canada, CA for “A Special Tea and Inspiration” event. This event is also to support Gawad Kalinga projects and at the same time meet Filipino Authors and their books sponsored by Philippine Expressions owned by our friends Linda Nietes and Bob. Tony Meloto spoke to the big crowd with his inspiring talk. I had also the opportunity to meet and bought their autographed books…Cecilia Manguerra Brainard - Growing Up as a Filipino, Dr.Ludy Ongkeko - Forty Years of Writing in America and Carina Montoya Forsythe – Filipinos in Hollywood and of course Tony Meloto - Builder of Dreams. We also met the parents of one of the members of Mango Quartet who performs at the White House. Met new people and old friends from different backgrounds while enjoying the music on the air (violin and piano and a lovely singer) and the food washed out by calamansi juice with spritzer prepared by one of the famous Los Angeles Filipina chef- Cecilia De Castro and her students.

It is always beautiful to be inspired and meet and enjoy the company of new and old friends. Faith in Action, Caring (Kalinga) and Sharing (Bayanihan) are words I took going home.

Please check out Gawad Kalinga’s website.

Best to all of you.


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