This year’s Auction



We are in the process of putting together the 3rd UNICEF Auction for Action. Most of you are now familiar with what I’ve been doing for UNICEF. This year’s auction is basically the same – an online auction for one week featuring some of the best art and design pieces in the Philippines – but we have some new artists and designers. The auction is for the benefit of UNICEF programs in the Philippines.

In 2011, when UNICEF asked me what else I wanted to do in addition to the site visits and talks on breastfeeding and nutrition, we came up with this idea of an art and design auction. It had to be something relevant to my field. In my years of featuring designers and artists, I’ve developed some close friendships with them. It was very easy to get started. Everyone I asked to donate said yes. Then we took a chance and did a purely online auction with no public event, hence minimal overhead costs. We just had media previews.

In our first year we raised around P1.4 million. And last year we did over P3 million. This year, my goal is higher. And it can only be achieved with your help. Most of the bidders and buyers are readers of my site. So I ask you to please consider shopping in UNICEF’s Auction for Action in October. I promise, the items are very special – furniture, art, jewelry and some limited edition special items.

Here’s a look back at Auction for Action’s first two years ….


Our first Auction for Action in 2011 was such a huge success, it made it to the global newsletters of UNICEF goodwill ambassadors.


UNICEF Ambassadors
I couldn’t believe it. I shared the same pages other UNICEF ambassadors like David Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker, Maggie Cheung, Mia Farrow.


Last year’s auction more than doubled in terms of number of items and funds raised. This was at our media preview (I had a fever then). The photo shows the works of Ramon Orlina, Debbie Palao (the chair I’m sitting on), Juvenal Sanso, Danny Rayos del Sol, Kawayan Tech bamboo bike.


Wall gallery
Since the beginning we had the support of Kenneth Cobonpue and Vito Selma.


Sep 23 - Manila Times - B1-Magazine
We are so grateful for the support of our friends in media. The golden south sea pearls I’m wearing in the photo was part of the auction, a great contribution by Jewelmer.


Also from 2012, more scuptures. Michael Cacnio’s works are always highly anticipated. Here is Frances Amper of Topaz Horizon, taking a close shot.


In addition to furniture and art we also have fine jewelry and one of a kind accessories. I’m a big fan of Joyce Makitalo’s work. Joyce and the likes of Nicole Whisenhunt, Michelline Syjuco, Janina Dizon, Paul Syjuco, Kristine Dee, Anna Rocha and Amina Aranaz many more designers are contributing to this year’s auction in October.


Elmer Borlongan’s “Convoy” – a drawing from 2006 was sold for an amount way beyond its estimated price. This year, Elmer donates another interesting piece.


Town&Country nanna
In our 2012 auction, Rita Nazareno of SC Vizcarra donated this beautiful braided leather tote (in a different color). This year, Rita is giving another beautiful bag.


Georgia by Ito Kish
This was a major donation by Ito Kish last year. He gave his award-winning Georgia chair. I was one of the judges at Manila FAME when this piece first won. It has since gotten international awards and citation. This year, Ito participates with a few special pieces for Auction for Action.


Reg Yuson's R. Muck
In our first year, Reg Yuson donated an “R. Muck” and a mozzarella sofa. To this day I still dream of owning one of these. I’m so drawn to it.


I hope these photos give you an idea of what UNICEF’s Auction for Action is about. This year’s auction will take place in late October. I will be regularly updating here and in Twitter. In the meantime I also ask you to please visit to know the new programs in the protection of children’s rights.



ENDViolence against children



Next week we officially announce the renewal of my appointment from UNICEF as Special Advocate for Children. It’s a symbolic official renewal. In reality I have not stopped my commitment to all the causes of UNICEF and they have continued to invite me to participate. Hard to believe I am entering my fifth year with UNICEF. More than the fancy title, it is has been a real privilege and honour to serve and try to make a difference in children’s lives. It is something that I am most proud of. (I’ll save my speech for next week).

What I’ve learned from being on field and working with the UNICEF team is that anyone can make a difference. No one needs a fancy title to help protect children’s rights. When people ask me how they can “join” UNICEF, I simply direct them to UNICEF Philippines website where anyone and everyone can donate either once or regularly. Children’s causes don’t need championing just during crisis or emergencies. They continue every single day. There are silent emergencies like malnutrition and violence.

This season Liam Neeson, UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador, launched a global campaign to end violence against children.





Unicef ENDviolence


UNICEF #ENDviolence




How can you be involved? Between now and August 14, post in Instagram or Facebook – a photo, graphic, story or simply the words #ENDviolence with that particular hashtag. Also tag @unicef. You may also post it on the UNICEF Philippines Facebook page. There will be winners chosen. You may win a Tshirt and your photo/work will be featured at teh International Day of NonViolence on October 2, 2013.

While working on this post, I came across this video clip from the makers of the animated film RPG Metanoia. I’ve love this song by the APO Hiking Society, Bawa’t Bata. It was written for the International Year of the Child in 1979. Jim Paredes wrote the Tagalog version. The original was by Godiego, a Japanese group. This video summed it up. It’s full of nostalgia about the childhood I had – playing outdoors, patintero and agawan base. It is my hope that every child gets to play and have fun this way. Let’s put an end to violence at home, at school, in the community. It’s time to talk about it.



Let’s all work together to make violence against children disappear.  Click here to get involved now.

Please do me a favour and press LIKE and TWEET below. Kindly repost this and help us get the word out. Big thanks!



Remember Typhoon Pablo?



Corazon Bacalla and her children. They have been living in this tent since the typhoon displaced them from their home. ©UNICEF Philippines/2013/KPalasi


This is inside Corazon Bacalla’s tent where she lives with her young children. Her husband supports the family through farming. Typhoon Pablo damaged acres of farmland when it struck in December last year. ©UNICEF Philippines/2013/KPalasi


A few weeks before summer started, I visited Davao Oriental with UNICEF. It was, by far, the most memorable and most touching trip I’ve taken with UNICEF.

Last December a really strong typhoon hit the south eastern part of Mindanao leaving an entire region devastated and thousands of people dead. Many homes were destroyed and the damage to property and livelihood was enormous. I visited three months after the typhoon and still there were so much debris and fallen trees around. Yet despite all the damage and destruction, I saw in the eyes of many children, a lot of hope and faith. I still have so many stories to tell about the people I met and the places I saw.


We talked to partners and barangay officials about the water and sanitation situation inside the evacuation centre in Baranggay Papag. With me is the head of the American Catholic Relief group, working with UNICEF here. In photo wearing blue vest is UNICEF Philippines’ Country Representative Tomoo Hozumi.  ©UNICEF Philippines/2013/KPalasi


Dapnan Elem School
Dapnan Elementary School in Baganga, Davao Oriental. Children here hold classes in temporary shelters. All structures save for one school hall remained after Typhoon Pablo struck last year. ©UNICEF Philippines/2013/KPalasi


The Typhoon Pablo story has fallen off the front pages of the newspapers too soon. It is one of the deadliest typhoons that hit our country, and yet very little news of this came out. So much still needs to be done. At the time of my visit, all international and foreign aid agencies were still at the UN camp – each working on different aspects of restoring normalcy and rebuilding.

I am pleased to share our article published by Rappler.  I hope you take the time to read the stories and please share them in your blog, facebook and twitter.


Rappler - UNICEF in Davao Oriental 2013

Please read our story in Rappler here.


For more info on UNICEF’s emergency response and recovery efforts, visit




The auction ends



Stella and sculpture of Don Chino Roces at Casa Roces
We had a wonderful Sunday together as a family. It was a slow day and everything centred on our three daughters – their playtime, drawings and exploring of a new place. It was a beautiful day. But by 3PM I decided to cut the day short and rush home. I sent the kids to play and sat in front of my laptop. I monitored the bids. Sought out potential buyers. Flooded Twitter and Facebook. The last hour was insane. I’d never been so excited and freaked out.




Midweek, I had my doubts and panic attacks. Saturday, I said to myself, I’d be grateful if we broke P2 Million in UNICEF’s Auction for Action. The rest of the team was confident we’d sell at least P2.5 million. Auction for Action closed at 6pm yesterday with P2.85 million!!! I was just P150,000 short of hitting my P3 million target. But we’re not counting what we didn’t make.

Everything was done online. We didn’t host an event. We wanted to keep costs down so all the money raised would go to fund programs for kids. P2.85 M in seven days is a lot of money!


Barefaced with tears. Shot this on the last hour of @unicefphils #auction4action. We raised P2.85 million in 7days all online! That's USD 68,700. Wow!
My Instagram: Barefaced with tears. Shot this on the last hour of @unicefphils #auction4action. We raised P2.85 million in 7days all online! That’s USD 68,700. Wow!


I can’t say it enough — thank you to all the artists and designers who donated their work completely and in part. Thank you to the bidders. Including those who didn’t win, you did a lot to raise this money. And to all my friends who took my DMs, tweets and updates and retweeted, shared and liked them, you made it happen.

This is proof that social media and the internet can easily be used to do good stuff! And further proof that anyone can make a difference! You all made a difference!! Thank you.



Debbie Palao



We have two hours left before Unicef Auction for Action closes. I am at the edge of my seat here. It has been so wonderful! Thank you for being part of this amazing non-event. Haha. We are hitting over P2 million pesos as I type this. And we didn’t even host an event, just a press briefing. This is proof that there are boundaries for art, design and willingness to help children. It’s universal.

I can’t keep still. So I’ll just try to tell stories.

This one is about Debbie Palao, furniture designer from Cebu. Debbie generously gave two pieces again this year. She is an avid supporter of Unicef Auction for Action. Thank you Debbie.


CebuNext Furniture Expo 2011
This was Debbie’s booth at CebuNext furniture expo in 2011. She donated this red chair called Pout.


CebuNext Furniture Expo 2011
I was one of the judges of Mugna Awards then. Loved all her pieces!


CebuNext Furniture Expo 2011
Here is a version of  Pout in off white. Really awesome piece!


Debbie in Elle Decor India.


Showing you Pout at the UNICEF Auction for Action press briefing. Bid here til 6pm (Philippine time) tonight.


This is Pout. Bid here til 6pm (Philippine time) tonight. Isn’t she lovely?


There is also this bench called Crayola in the auction. Don’t let the wooden pegs fool you. This bench is cushioned. So your little tushies will be comfy when you sit. And what better symbolizes childhood play and dreams than crayons?


Bid now. Two hours left.