"It's a time of celebration and pride for us. Haping-happy ako kasi all of our partners are here," said ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. (AFI) managing director Regina Paz "Gina" Lopez on seeing the big crowd that attended the Foundation's 20th anniversary presentation last July 3, at the Meralco Theater in Pasig City.
Ms. Gina Lopez thanked the various groups and companies that have consistently supported the Foundation—"From Bantay Bata to E-Media to Bantay Kalikasan, and now, the Pasig River to Bayan [Microfinance], marami, e. We have done all of these kasi everybody worked together."
She also encouraged everyone to start creating a better world for Filipinos. "Whatever happens, if every individual commits to work together in service, in compassion, in passion, whatever happens we'll still make a difference in this country," said the sister of Gabby Lopez, ABS-CBN Chairman and CEO.
PASIG RIVER CLEANUP. Since its inception in 1989, ABS-CBN Foundation has been serving the needs of Filipinos through its projects—E-Media, Bantay Bata, Bayan Microfinance, Bantay Kalikasan, Sagip Kapamilya, Bayanijuan, and Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig, which is the latest undertaking.
"The project is very, very big. And if we're able to accomplish it, grabe talaga ang... I mean, the effect in the country would be amazing. I'm very, very passionate about the Kapit-Bisig. I wanna clean the river, e," she enthused.
Elaborating on the river project, Gina discussed the extent of their cleanup. "We are relocating 20 [residents] every week from Estero de Paco. By December, we wanna totally clean up the Estero de Paco. And we will be able to do it. That's why when you say, 'Wow! It looks so dirty now,' it includes working with the market vendors. The mayor is fully behind us and the two water companies," Gina related.
And this is just the beginning. Gina hopes that the effort will have a domino effect on the other rivers.
She said, "I feel that if we clean the Pasig river—there are 400 river system in the country—we show all other ways for the other systems. I have five community projects in Puerto Princesa, we are going to Sagada and to Bicol. We're still have all over the country, not just Metro Manila."
Again she enjoined everyone to participate. "Let's work together, let's make a difference, and let's make a commitment to this good life."
20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION. The presence of ABS-CBN President Charo Santos-Concio onstage signaled the start of the two-hour celebration cum concert. In her short speech, she recognized the efforts of all the people behind the ABS-CBN Foundation. She said, "Let us honor and pay gratitude to the selfless and dedicated men and women of ABS-CBN Foundation, to all volunteers, staffers, and the entire ABS-CBN community profile."
Before she officially opened the show, Ms. Charo dedicated it to the Filipinos who have been supportive of the projects of Kapamilya network's socio-civic arm. "At sa lahat ng mga Kapamilya natin sa buong mundo na walang tigil na sumusuporta sa mga proyekto ng ABS-CBN Foundation, salapi man o oras o anumang kabutihang inyong binibigay, maraming, maraming, maraming salamat po," said Ms. Charo.
And then Mr. Ryan Cayabyab sat in front of his piano and played for Lea Salonga, who rendered her version of Leo Valdez's "Magsimula Ka," and Rachelle Ann Go, who performed Smokey Mountain's "Anak ng Pasig," back-to-back with opera singer Rachelle Gerodias, who also sang the '50s song "Mutya ng Pasig."
Theater actors Audie Gemora, Robert Seña, Michael William, Menchu Launchengco, Isay Alvarez, Bituin Escalante, and Ana Fegi did a beautiful medley that included "I Say A Little Prayer For You," a track from My Best Friend's Wedding.
Gary Valenciano and Kuh Ledesma also shared the stage with their daughters Kiana and Isabella, respectively, in a very stirring number.
Other performers that night included Erik Santos (with Goin' Bulilit graduates Hopia Legaspi, Kristel Fulgar, and Eliza Pineda), Jett Pangan, Little Big Stars alumni Makisig Morales, Rhap Salazar, and Amy Nobleza, and Pinoy Dream Academy Season 2 scholars Sen Nichols, Liezel Garcia, Van Pojas, Chivas Malunda, and Cris Pastor.
The last spot was given to international singing sensation Charice who gave her rendition of "Note to God" with the Ryan Cayabyab Singers—Poppert Bernadas, Kyla Rivera, Irra Cenina, Jaime Barcelona, Katherine Tiuseco, Vincent Evangelista, and Anezka Alvarez.
In between each number, prime Kapamilya stars such as Willie Revillame, Ai-Ai delas Alas, John Lloyd Cruz, Piolo Pascual, Anne Curtis, Zaijan Jaranilla, and celebrity couple Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo related through a video presentation the accomplishments of the seven projects of AFI.
Just before the show ended, the Dolphy left a short, meaningful message: "Ang hangad namin ay makapag-iwan lang ng magandang halimbawa, magandang aral o mabuting asal sa mga kabataan ngayon. Higit sa pera, sa jokes o pagpapatawa, o kasikatan, ang nais natin ay 'yong mabuting asal," he said.
The program wrapped up with "Heal the World," a popular song of the late King of Pop Michael Jackson.
Edu Manzano, Karen Davila, and Atom Araullo served as the program hosts.