"Raise funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace"


We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” That’s according to Winston Churchill who, like Mother Teresa, wants to “raise funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, and of peace.”

I presume it’s what the UP Ibalon Bicol likes to accomplish this time. It has a list of some charitable projects for this year. The goal of course is to help the needy, whether it’s gift-giving in December, back-to-school assistance in June, or a medical-dental mission in September.

The plan isn’t unlike what we’re used to remembering about Ibalon. We had projects of altruism before when our kindness was prime, pristine and pure.

Kami Minagalang.., a fund-raiser so huge and so tall, had us paying for the ultimate price—losing a generous soul, our friend, the late Rebecca (Bebeth) Espeso. Yet, in our grief, we found solace in giving to the Don Susano Rodriguez Mental Hospital in Pili Camarines Sur.

I recall how Yasmin Paje-Banzon came so early in Diliman, in her crisp white Dentistry uniform, to set-up the “Bicol Products Sale,” in CAS, another fund-raiser. With Jo Prades, Vines Nolasco, and May Magdalene Velasco in tow, the Taft People, as they were affectionately called (being residents of Taft Avenue, Manila,) carried boxes of sweet pili, sesame candies, nito bags, and abaca slippers for sale. The profit was earmarked for the Ibalon fund which mostly served for charity.

Feeling the inspiration to help make more money for a cause, Bebeth Espeso and I rushed to La Merced Pastry Shop in EDSA to fetch sans rivals, beehives, chocolate cakes, and cream puffs for the fair. Acting like expert delivery helps, we jostled through crowded JD buses to catch a ride for Diliman, before buyers swooped into our make-shift store right at covered walk. I could only guess the heavenly taste of what were sold in that fair, but I knew we were doing it for Ibalon’s charity.

In December, Nips Valenciano, Sabu Sabularse and Fems Espinas strummed the guitars pretty much like folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary, in practice for our Christmas carols. Volunteer singers like Ding Versoza, Tootsie Septimo, Caring Nasol, Eden Borja, Cora Palma, Mighty Baylon, Gods Lanuza, Floro Balce, Arnel Malaya, Andy Gimpaya and a few more (including myself,) strained our voices till our windpipes were sore.

Not thinking much of ourselves, we perservered for the cause. Our reward? A fun joyride in Manila when the crescent moon was new and the breeze was chilly and cold. T’was a good time to fall in love, but I couldn’t recall if anybody ever took notice.

We thought losing a voice as warblers of the night was worth the donations we got from the homes we visited. We were so focused to beef up our finances. In some tangible measures, we wanted to help others. Isn’t this what we aspire for with this new project, 30+ years later?

I wish UP Ibalon Bicol would help raise funds for godly donations to the poor. A step towards heaven, I think nobody gets destitute by giving.



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