ABS-CBN holds benefit to raise money for Bayanijuan
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Members of the Bay Area’s Filipino American community helped raise money for the philanthropic efforts of the ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bayanijuan program at ABS-CBN Studio 154 on Saturday night.
Described as an “ambitious collaborative effort” by the program’s spokesperson Keesa Ocampo, Bayanijuan is a non-profit aimed at promoting self-sustainability in poverty-stricken areas of the Philippines.
“We’re rehabilitating the poorest communities in the Philippines one village at a time,” said Ocampo.
Bayanijuan, a name combining the Tagalog words bayan or community, bayani or hero, and juan or Juan de la Cruz, a reference to all Filipinos, has four missions: rescuing victims of child abuse, bringing visual media into poor public schools, micro-financing small businesses and protecting the environment.
Bayanijuan has garnered tremendous support from the Filipino American community, including celebrity endorsers like actor Rob Schneider, musician Apl.de.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas, actor Reggie Lee (of Tropic Thunder), American Idol’s David Hernandez and award-winning Filipino actor Raymond Bagatasing, who was present that night.
Richard Pio Roda, a member of the host committee, conducted the live auction, taking bids for items such as dinner with Apl.de.Ap (which sold for $650), a restaurant touring package ($800) and a beautiful dress made by Filipino American designer Genes Sotto ($450).
All proceeds went directly to Bayanijuan, which has its roots in the Philippines, but receives 90 percent of its funding from the United States. Bayanijuan decides which Philippine projects American cities can adopt, and each city then holds fundraisers to help sustain these endeavors.
San Francisco’s adopted effort is the Pasig River, which connects Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay.
“It used to be gorgeous, but right now it’s severely polluted because of all the people squatting along its riverbanks,” Ocampo said. “A nation’s lifeline is its water and if the water is bad, the nation suffers.”