She kept on saying, "This has nothing to do with me..."
But the concept Hope in a Bottle was Nanette Medved-Po's brainchild.
Unknown to the public, the former actress has been active in socio-civic work "since my time in show business."
Without meaning to be supercilious, Nanette recounted, "I've always found my self involved in this sort of things.
"But it was always in 'my private capacity' to maintain... I've worked with Bantay Banta and other advocacies.
"But it was never something maingay na ganito. Hindi kailangan mag-press con, di ba. And so that's why, people don't really know."
She actually didn't plan joining the media launch held at the Kenny Rogers Roasters on Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, last March 20.
"I was not supposed to be here today... But at the last minute, I was instructed that I must come."
More than a decade since her last film, the former Darna star is now happy playing her roles as a wife to business tycoon Christopher Po, a mom to her two kids, and the founder of Friends of Hope.
For the latter, she modestly threw in, "Something like that..."
Then, she pleaded, "Don't talk about me anymore. It's not about me. You guys should be the heroes because you're going to tell the public."
HOPE IN A BOTTLE. The project came about because of her desire to uplift the status of public school education.
"If you look at the private schools, they have na mga source of funding. Pero yung public schools natin, naghihirap.
"And we can't always rely on government to solve all the problems, and so we thought, rather than blaming the government for the lack of this and that...why don't we come up with a solution?' she related.
The concept is very simple: by drinking Hope in a Bottle—available at Kenny Rogers Roasters, Seattle's Best Coffee, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, The Landmark, Mini-Stop, Robinson's Supermarket, Shopwise, Rustan's Supermarket, Jamba Juice, South Supermarket, Super 8 Grocery Warehouse, SuySing, and Ultra Mega Wholesale and Retail Mart—you help build a classroom.
Making sure that every bottle meets the quality standards set for a purified drinking water is San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corporation, through Ricky Gomez, president of San Miguel Pure Foods Company (SMPFC).
Nanette recalled how Hope in a Bottle got its name.
"When I first met Ricky, I came to him with just the name project Hope. It wasn't some earth, you know, earth-shattering decision making thing. It was very simple.
"We thought from our hearts, what this is all about, and we said, this is really Hope in a Bottle."
She underscored one thing: "I don't want to take credit for all of these."
To elaborate on it, the lady who started it all said, "Ang daming involved sa project na ito.
"I mean, there are so many people who devoted their time and effort to Project Hope for free.
"And which is why, I was very hesitant to sit here and hear that this is somehow my doing.
"This project is not my doing at all.
"I was just someone who had an idea, but, this is really the project of so many people who have jobs and yet volunteers their time to make this happen."
STAR POWER. Promoting this campaign are celebrities who went to public schools. There's Joey de Leon, Boy Abunda, Jericho Rosales, Bea Alonzo, and Winnie Monsod.
The "first person to commit," according to Nanette, was Mang Dolphy, who "wasn't able to join the shoot because at that time, he was in I.C.U."
Boy was the only one invited to grace the press launch.
She explained, "I'm sure that the other endorsers will be vocal in their own way. It's just that today, we didn't want to bother everybody.
"As it is na nga, they're doing every thing for free and, you know, in the case of Echo, Bea, Winnie, all of them, they're supportive.
"So I'm sure in their own way, they will do their own ingay kumbaga.
"Pero today, it was just really Boy that we called on because he was ...His story, he's very emotional about his story. It's not that the others aren't also very emotional...
"Pag sobrang daming celebrity, baka mawala yung message, di ba."
In the middle of the interview, she suddenly remembered that she's a celebrity herself.
Smiling, she cut in, "That's why I should stop talking."
But isn't her visibility going to help in promoting the project?
"I don't think I need to be more visible. I think this should be the end of it," she replied with a laugh.
"Because I don't know if my visibility will really help anyway, di ba.
"I mean, I'm just here today because Boy and Ricky insisted that I should join the press con, you know, because they thought it would be helpful...If I think it's helpful then I'm here.
"But I don't know how helpful it will be for me to be maingay. Huwag na lang, di ba.
"Let this be the movement of every person out there who thinks it worthwhile. This shouldn't be about me or Boy or Ricky...
"[Let] this really be about whether or not we hope."
Though showbiz seems to be the farthest thing from her mind now, she's still grateful because if not for the friendships she made back then, she wouldn't have stars endorsing Hope In a Bottle.
"I have to admit it really did. It really did help because you meet a lot of people sa show business, and it helps."
After the launch, Nanette will focus on monitoring the Hope meter.
Sounding both nervous and excited, she declared, "I just realized kanina, yun pala, we can use that as a basis for how hopeful the country is. I just realized that kanina, poll na siya!
"That's why I became emotional because I realized that this, inasmuch as we had launched it, it's really out of our hand."
Again, she underscored, "This movement is owned by every single person who buys a bottle."
And just before ending our ten-minute interview with her, she repeated: "I don't want this to be about me."