My journey with UNICEF

 

 

 

This was the surprise video shown at my contract-signing event for UNICEF. The team put together this compilation of some of the work I’ve done with them the past three years. I didn’t realize we had been to so many places in a short time.

Last August I renewed my contract as Special Advocate for Children of UNICEF Philippines. It has been three years since I started my work with UNICEF. So much has happened since. We had a formal signing ceremony with UNICEF Representative Tomoo Hozumi. It was one of those moments that made me feel so proud because I am given a chance to do good work with this very important UN children’s agency.

At the event, the team talked about what it means to be chosen to work with UNICEF. The media release reads, “UNICEF celebrities are luminaries from various fields who all share dedication to improving the lives of children worldwide. Daphne joins the ranks of famous personalities such as David Beckham, Jackie Chan, Mia Farrow, Queen Rania of Jordan, Shakira, and UNICEF Philippines National Goodwill Ambassador Gary Valenciano in lending a strong voice that will draw attention to children’s issues.”

They showed us a video of Sir Roger Moore’s 20th year with UNICEF and it brought me to tears when he said “Unicef means doing something decent for the rest of my life…” Then right after, they showed my video.

 

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Renewing my contract as Special Advocate for Children. With UNICEF Representative Tomoo Hozumi.

 

I began my journey with UNICEF in early 2010 as a breastfeeding advocate. I went to a few sites around the country to speak about the many challenges faced by breastfeeding mothers and the support they needed to successfully breastfeed their babies. As part of my duties as Special Advocate, I’ve also been able to bring attention to important children’s issues such as early childhood care, clean water, malnutrition and armed conflict. I visited Ondoy-affected mothers in Laguna, mothers and infants in Sarangani, malnourished children in the ARMM/Maguindanao, frontline breastfeeding workers in Taguig and families displaced by Typhoon Pablo in Davao Oriental.

Now, in addition to the humanitarian work I do, I am also involved with fundraising. Not many people know that UNICEF is funded entirely from donations. In 2011, they allowed me to come up with an online art and design auction. We just finished the third Auction for Action — another success. Proceeds from the art auction will continue to benefit many children, giving them to access early childhood care and education programs.

I am brought back to my last big trip with UNICEF last March 2013, 100 days after Typhoon Pablo hit Davao Oriental. It was one of the biggest storms that hit our country. Three months after the emergency, UNICEF and other international organizations were still on site working to get things back to normal for the thousands of children affected by the storm. This was one of the most emotional trips I took with UNICEF — the people I met from humanitarian workers to the families who needed assistance touched me deeply. And I promised to tell their stories.

 

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The magnitude and scale of the damage was something I’d never seen. Three months after the storm, many international agencies were still on site trying to restore a sense of normalcy.

 

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We drove for hours from Davao International Airport and saw this common scene of fallen and naked trees. What made relief work complicated then was the inaccessibility and distance of the damaged areas from the city.

 

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With the team leader of the American Catholic Relief group at one of the “tent cities” supported by UNICEF.

 

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Some of the professionals had been in Davao Oriental for three months then. I was there for a few days and left with life-changing lessons.

 

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A daycare centre in Purok Sampaguita at Poblacion Daycare Center in Boston, Davao Oriental where Teacher Jocelyn was helping little kids cope with their fear of nature by introducing rain-themed song and dances. Most of these children witnessed great loss including death during Typhoon Pablo.

 

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Also at Purok Sampaguita, Poblacion Daycare Center, this young boy recounts what he witnessed during the storm. Photo by Kat Palasi

 

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At Dapnan Elementary School in Baganga, Davao Oriental where almost every school building was destroyed.

 

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This young boy runs through the ruins of the old school’s main building which was originally built during the American colonial period.

 

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There were only two classrooms left untouched by the storm at Dapnan Elementary School. Kids were back to regular schedule then (100 days after the storm).

 

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Most levels were integrated and classrooms were shared.

 

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Some kids were still in tents then.

 

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One of the fifth-graders shared with me her diary about the events. She was among the students who hid in the main building which eventually was completely blown away by the storm.

 

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I don’t often get to go on these humanitarian missions. In the few times I’ve gone, I’ve had to think more than twice about leaving my own kids for a few days. I wish that kids don’t have to be exposed to so much danger and distress. Unfortunately this is the reality of living in our country. We are right in the Pacific “Ring of Fire” – where earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and storms are common. The key is for local governments and individuals to be prepared.

 

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A very sweet older brother.

 

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I will never forget this mother. She was recalling the moments when Typhoon Pablo struck and how they are coping three months after. She said that every time her little daughter would hear thunder or strong winds, she’d curl up and cry. She told me that as a mother the only thing she could do now is to hold her daughter tightly so she’d feel safe. Photo by Kat Palasi.

 

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Former gym Purok Sampaguita, Poblacion Daycare Center,Boston,Davao Oriental. Photo by Kat Palasi

 

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Fallen coconut trees. This was the scenery we saw driving through Davao Oriental for hours. Photo by Kat Palasi.

 

I often get asked by readers and viewers about how they, too, can be part of UNICEF. The easiest and fastest way to make a difference is by making a donation… especially at this time, with the many emergencies in our country.

Help BOHOL

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake last October 15, 2013 brought massive destruction to the province of Bohol. An estimated 380,000 people are now without homes or living in makeshift tents in open spaces or by the roadside. Children need safe drinking water, hygiene kits, toilets, adequate nutrition, shelter, and a safe learning environment to recover from this emergency.

 

 

 

Legacy of Luscara

 

 

I hosted an event for Ayala Land Premier a few weeks ago. They had a creative way of introducing their newest project with a tie-up with Lifestyle Asia magazine. We’ve seen numerous real estate projects come up but very few have interesting new concepts. Luscara at Nuvali is different.

Luscara is a 50-hectare residential community “that is geared to uphold a living experience that will nurture a family for generations.” Think along the lines of a family compound – but one that is created in a picturesque environment.

Those of us who are in the market for real estate investments always think of the future. We buy in the hopes that the property will remain beautiful and safe until the time we either move into it, build a house on it or pass it on to our children – like a legacy. At least that’s how I think.

At the Ayala Land Premier event at the Ayala Museum, three distinguished families were honoured for   keeping their family legacies alive — Wellington, Marc, and Jason Soong of Autostrada Motore Inc.—one of the country’s biggest distributors of luxury vehicles; renowned engineer and owner of Multi Development and Construction Corporation (MDCC) Pablito “Pabling,” and Architectural Design Consultant of MDCC Carlo Calma; and founder of the legendary radio station DZRJ and owner of RJ Guitar Center, Bistro RJ and Jacinto Color businesses Ramon “RJ” Jacinto, his business and life partner Frannie, and daughter Natalia.

 

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Selected heirlooms from their family lineage, which have all played significant roles in their lives, were displayed during the event. This is a replica of a family portrait by Fernando Amorsolo from 1960 depicting Fernando Jacinto and Vina Pereyra with their eight children.

 

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Natalia Jacinto represented her family.

 

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When Carlo Calma—architectural design consultant and son of Pabling—first laid his eyes upon Salvador Dali’s Melting Clock Sculpture five years ago in Singapore, he didn’t think twice about getting the piece for his home. Aside from being a huge fan of the distinguished Spanish virtuoso, Carlo’s inclination towards surrealism and his quirky and progressive taste when it comes to designs are clearly emanated by one of Dali’s many exquisite sculptures that he was lucky to have.

 

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After the show with Carlo Calma, Maribel Calma, Natalia Jacinto, Cheryl Tiu, Jose Juan Jugo, Willie Soong, Marc Soong and Jason Soong.

 

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Head of Ayala Land Premier Jose Juan Jugo with his team. “It is a perfect timing for us to work together and celebrate with some of the country’s most reputable families that have not only built legacies, but also inspired us to continue our task of developing distinctive communities that complement their lifestyles,” notes Mr Jugo.

 

Luscara Courtyard

 

Luscara in NUVALI will have 36 pocket neighborhoods — each living enclave will offer a sense of place and space for its residents. Every home will be provided with their own garden courtyards which can serve as personal recreation areas ideal for family cookouts, gardening, or simply a private haven where they can sit and relax with their loved ones.

 

Various amenities catering to different activities are also incorporated in Luscara’s overall blueprint—a social hall, a multi-purpose court, a fitness gym, and a swimming pool, to name a few, encouraging community engagement with others. To ensure ease of traffic and secure pedestrian safety, Luscara has designed road networks to provide lanes for cars, bikes, and sidewalks for residents and guests.

The development is conveniently located near the urban activities of NUVALI, where greeneries also abound. Easily accessible via the South Luzon Expressway through the Mamplasan or Sta. Rosa exit, Luscara provides quick access to schools, leisure centers, and other establishments in the burgeoning township, as well as to the business districts of Alabang and Makati.

A testament to Ayala Land’s long-standing commitment to enriching lives through enhancing land, Luscara stands as a fulfilled promise for families of today and well into the future.

 

To know more about Luscara, please call (02) 908-3908 or visit www.ayalalandpremier.com

 

Sweet Cocktales

 

 

I’ve been getting a few emails and comments asking if I’ve moved to Canada for good. The answer is no. We are simply on a summer vacation. My husband was with us for the first three weeks but he went back to work in Manila right after.

I am doing absolutely nothing here in Toronto but enjoying sweet time with my siblings, parents, niece, nephews and my three lovely daughters. Every day is a mix of nothingness and everythingness. I hope I get time to write about this special summer.

Before I left in March, we taped advanced episodes of Cocktales. Those episodes have ran out and the show has been going on without me the past few weeks .

Today I got this photo from my Cocktales family. They are the sweetest.

 

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I miss you too!

 

I will be back soon to resume shooting the show. Fully recharged and inspired. Here are some highlights from the interesting people we’ve met in Cocktales…

 

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With Messy Bessy’s Krie Lopez

 

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Janina and Candy Dizon of Jul B. Dizon jewelry

 

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My first day of taping with Vic Agustin and Cita Revilla, May 2012.

 

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With Ruffy Biazon, BoC Commissioner

 

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New senator Bam Aquino

 

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Cristalle Belo Henares

 

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Kenneth Cobonpue

 

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Midas Marquez

 

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Marco Lobregat

 

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Sen. Bongbong Marcos

 

We had Atty Leni Robredo and daughters Aika, Trisha and Jillian on as guests in Cocktales today.
Leni Robredo (now Congresswoman) and her daughters’ first TV appearance together.

 

 

Shaw’s Crab House

 

 

I spent a couple of nights in Chicago a few weeks ago. So sorry for the late posts. Been so busy living real life that I get too tired to blog at night. Notice, I haven’t even written anything about Toronto and we’ve been here since March! Yikes.

Chicago. Beautiful city. After three nights in New Orleans, the Kohler Co. team brought us to Chicago to see their design showroom and meet Rachel Kohler at her house. Everything was lovely. I shall post separately.

For now, another one of our unforgettable meals.

P4235387 Had dinner at Shaw’s Crab House. While waiting for our table at the dining room, we had cocktails at the Oyster Bar.

 

P4235382 The Bloody Mary that was so good, it almost tasted like a Bloody Caesar (Canadian version). It must have been the dill pickle and the fact that they used celery salt instead of the usual salt. Mmmm.

 

P4235393 What I had for dinner! Surf & Turf. 8oz Maine lobster tail and 6oz fillet mignon, Oscar-style (with additional blue crab and that crabmeat topping on the lobster). It was insane!

 

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P4235397 Thank you Kohler Co. Yum.

 

More Chicago stories coming up. What are your favourite restaurants in Chicago?

 

 

Another ad in Elle Decoration Philippines

 

 

I forgot to post this a few weeks ago. My full page ad in Elle Decoration April 2013 came out nicely (in terms of position in the magazine). Thrilled. It never gets old.

 

Elle Decoration April 2013

 

Elle Decoration April 2013