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Luxury with philanthropy—a winning combination

By: - Columnist
/ 12:19 AM August 14, 2011

Many philanthropic deeds happen every day that go unnoticed. In our often times brutally competitive world, these wonderful acts make a positive impact in creating a better tomorrow, and yet are unheralded.

The official launching of PGA Cars’ Audi Global City showroom last week was an excellent example of bringing in a charitable angle into a commercial event. As the handsome cars were revealed to all in the gleaming showroom, PGA Cars chair Robert Coyiuto Jr. took the floor to pre-empt the luxury with a bit of philanthropy.


Robert announced a P10-million donation from the Coyiuto Foundation to the Don Bosco Technical Institute. DBTI operates Don Bosco Manpower and Skills Training Center, which trains underprivileged out-of-school youth in various technical skills, allowing them to pursue full and rewarding careers.

What a way to launch Audi’s third, and arguably, most impressive showroom in the country! PGA Cars/Audi managing director Benedicto Coyiuto told the guests that the showroom represents all of the hard work and dedication that the people of PGA Cars have put in over the years of their partnership with Audi.


Naturally, the event was also the chance to see some serious automotive porn, principally the new, mid-sized luxury sedan, the A6. Audi director for Asia Martin Birkner did not disappoint, regaling the packed showroom with the new car’s notable features as it was revealed.

Audi used aluminum comprehensively in the construction of the A6 in order to reduce the weight of the vehicle by 15 percent. This makes the A6 the exception to the rule that the newer generation is always bigger and heavier than the last. Reduced weight translates into fuel savings and increased power and speed!

TP’s ‘Noli Me Tangere’

Philanthropy extends beyond just the checkbook, of course. The PLDT/Smart Foundation supports many programs, and as an ambassador for Smart Infinity, I was privileged to choose one such artistic and cultural program to support. I selected Tanghalang Pilipino, the resident theater group of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

For its 25th theater season, which starts this month, the opening act is “Noli Me Tangere: The Musical,” on stage until August 28 at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino or CCP Little Theater. At opening night, Gian Magdangal as Crisostomo Ibarra and Cris Villongco as Maria Clara were exceptionally brilliant. Pop singer Mark Bautista is the alternate of Gian.

The critically acclaimed musical, adapted by Ryan Cayabyab from Rizal’s most famous work, features a libretto by national artist Bienvenido Lumbera. The work is restaged under the direction of theater luminary Audie Gemora. Costume and set design are by national artist Salvador Bernal.

This musical revival also commemorates our national hero’s 150th birthday anniversary, just celebrated last June. To allow more audiences to experience TP productions, it has four mobile productions that are available for bookings by schools and groups. Call CCP at tel. 832-8661 or visit


Slim’s Fashion School is also supporting this production and helped with the display of vintage Filipiniana outfits. Generous jeweler Hans Brumann also showcased his beautiful pieces, and auctioned off a stunning bracelet won by Tessie Luz, wife of national artist Arturo Luz, who claimed the highest bid.

Limited-edition bags

The beauty of philanthropy is how many diverse areas it covers. From arts and culture, we can move to underprivileged children, and from there to the environment. And size of wallet hardly matters. What counts is wanting to count.

At the anniversary party of Beabi, a fun and functional bag and bag accessories shop, three celebrities were tapped to design a special-edition designer bag for various charitable programs. Beabi Shop owners Willin Chan and sister Winnie Go created the Limited Artist Edition 2011 tote bag and bag organizer for the benefit of ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bantay Bata and Bantay Kalikasan and Pacman Partnerships for the Poor.

Beabi collaborated with Rajo Laurel, Kim Chiu and Manny Pacquiao to come up with stylish, functional and fashion-forward bags. Aside from their donation, the young entrepreneurs also held an auction of personally signed bags. An additional donation was also given to Johnny Litton for the EJ Litton Foundation, Inc.

Social transformation project

On an even more personal note, Rosan Cruz, my Baclaran novena buddy, has pioneered “I Dive Culion,” a social transformation project to assist the former leper colony in northern Palawan.

As Rosan put it, “Why have a birthday party when I can get my friends to support the Isla Culion, Hotel Maya social entrepreneurship program of Fr. Xavier Alpasa, SJ?” She calls it personal social responsibility, and the aim is to open a dive center on the island by December. Check out if you want to help.

For artist Karen Fabie Concepcion, her 17th one-woman painting exhibition, “Celebration,” added a philanthropic side. Karen is contributing to the Educational Fund of the Catholic Women’s League, Sanctuario de San Antonio, for the economically marginalized high school and college students of Makati.

Karen’s art pieces of Japanese landscapes will be displayed from August 16-29 at the Artist Space of Ayala Museum. Karen is supported by SMEG, a leading Italian appliance brand. SMEG is a true patron of the arts in Italy, and hopes to do the same in our country.

3-day art fair

For all the art lovers out there, the much-awaited ManilART11 starts August 25 at the NBC Tent at The Fort. This three-day art fair brings together 24 of the country’s top art galleries for the third year. Art fair director Delan Robillos promises that each gallery will mount unique art exhibits.

One such exhibit, “Rumors,” will be presented by Gallery BiG. BiG’s managing partner Sarah Evangelista tells me her artists include Jun Balasbas, Monica Barretto, Xander Calceta, Jaime Gubaton, Sarah Gaugler, Anthony Palo, Edi Santillan, Kate Santos, Kelly Sonio, Camille Ver and more.

For inquiries, call ManilART at tel. 531-6231 or Gallery BiG at tel. 666-7755.

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TAGS: Art, Culture, Lifestyle, Luxury, Philanthropy, Theater
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