Social conscience and responsibility

It is only expected that those here in Manila, used to a life of ever-increasing expenditures, are clueless as to what the amounts — usually very considerable — they spend for food, grooming, clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, home, entertainment, travel, etc. can actually buy in terms of life-changing equipment for our fellow Filipinos in the far-flung provinces of our country.

On the tenth day of our trip, 14 September 2009, Monday, Tess Lopez brought upcoming Silaynon artist Carlos Ruiz and I to the Vallehermoso central school to conduct an art workshop for the grade school children;  the art works would be used for Christmas greeting cards to raise badly-needed funds for the Saint Francis of Assisi parish church of Vallehermoso and its parochial school which burned to the ground a week before we arrived.

And while the Vallehermoso central school was a perfectly charming place [ an old “Gabaldon”-type school building designed for tropical Philippine weather set on commodious grounds ] with perfectly charming students and noble and concerned teachers, I came face to face with the reality [ for the umpteenth time ] that much of the resources that we take for granted in Manila could go a looong way for the children, happy and content as they are, in this distant provincial town…

And so one thinks of the affluent life that has always seemed normal, even ordinary for the fortunate ones:  endless dinners at “Lolo Dad’s,”  “Le Souffle,”  “Aubergine,” and “Antonio’s” [ and lunches in similar places ];  regular salon and spa treatments at the Shangri-La and Mandarin hotels, Emphasis Rockwell, and at BeloMed;  European couture dresses and British and American bespoke suits;  French and Italian leather shoes and bags from Hermes, Blahnik, Vuitton, Ferragamo, Tod’s;  all the modern Italian furniture and interiors;  theater seasons in London and New York, the casinos in Las Vegas and Macau;  the safari trips to Kenya and the larks to Morocco;  etc., etc..  Imagine all the real needs that all those luxurious wants can buy!!!

Someone did tell me, long ago, that the excess resources one has should not be used for one’s pleasures, but should instead be used to help others.

I countered that “It’s so much more fun to make messes of ourselves!!!”  *winks*



  1. November 29, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Hi Carlos!

    Nice to see you here! I hope everything is well with you. God willing, I may be able to see you guys in early February 2010…


    Toto Gonzalez 🙂

  2. November 27, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Hi Tito Toto,

    Finally read the blog. Thanks for the laughter. I miss the way you mimic ** ( you know who he is ). Hope to enjoy your company once more. TC.

  3. October 11, 2009 at 7:19 pm


    I should be the one to thank you for that wonderful experience of a lifetime!!!


    Toto Gonzalez

  4. Tess Lopez said,

    October 11, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Toto! Thanks for the days of laughter and sharing! You just don’t know that in the ten days you were there, you really lit up the lives of many people with your humor and of course your lessons on the historical values on the houses we visited. Brother Andrew was probably proud to see you mixing paints for the kids in the school! Pat yourself on the back! Well, we should this more often. Beats any rejuvenating spas! Take care, my friend!

  5. Steve Betts said,

    October 8, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Yes, a few outings at these ritzy restaurants should be okay. Taking guests and visiting relatives there would be okay. But endless? when one bill can give 3 classrooms txtbooks and school supplies for month. I think this is where the gawad kalinga spirit kicks in.

    idea here…in many provinces where there is not much to see, maybe the school admin could setup a hospitable eating space near the public schools. Am sure the balikbayans would love to visit, have a banquet and be charged like P15k for the meals (peanuts for many, a single Lolo Dad bill). But the money goes to rebuilding the school, books and supplies for the kids. Then a tour around the school after the meal. Win win for everyone!

  6. Diego Jurado said,

    September 26, 2009 at 12:27 am

    “It’s a gift if you’re a friend; it’s charity when I don’t know and/or like you…” from a John Sandford novel

  7. Babblefish said,

    September 23, 2009 at 3:59 am

    OK I’m officially disappointed with Nokia’s local team. Bryanboy? Please.

  8. larry leviste said,

    September 23, 2009 at 3:36 am

    Don’t talk CHARITY till you know the greatest gain comes from GIVING.

    We don’t get what we pray nor nor what we pay for nor what we desire or need or WANT.

    WE GET only WHEN we GIVE AWAY.

    Without fanfare and media, without name or self.

    I speak from grave experience.

  9. Paz Atienza said,

    September 23, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Let’s not go too far.. remember that GMA got all the flack for eating at expensive restaurants during her recent foreign trips. Talk about social conscience and responsibility. Hers was the height of (pardon the pun) no conscience at all and irresponsibility…

  10. Jules said,

    September 22, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    That reminded me of the
    “World Vision” tarpaulin ad
    whilst strolling in TRIangle NOrth MAll
    when this Kapuso female broadcaster
    had an endorsement shot
    with an indigent child
    apparently (noticeably)
    wearing a Tank Française,
    guess that is the Acme of Hypocrisy…

    Tsk… :/


  11. Myles Garcia said,

    September 22, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    As IRM would say [ ala Marie Antoinette ]:

    “Let them eat dilis and bagoong!!!”

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