Gawad Kalinga's 'Paraiso' Conquers Los Angeles

Manila Bulletin, April 28, 2007 | Go to article overview

Gawad Kalinga's 'Paraiso' Conquers Los Angeles


Byline: JOSEPH DE VEYRA

LOS ANGELES--"Less for self, more for others." This is one of the guiding principles of Gawad Kalinga (GK), a movement that currently unifies the country for the poor. Now it has traveled to the United States with the premiere of "Paraiso: Tatlong Kuwento ng Pag-Asa" at Wadsworth Theater in Brentwood last March 31.

The exclusive black-tie event was attended by various groups from the Filipino-American community. From community leaders to celebrities, it was definitely the fusion of charity and glamour.

Some of the notable personalities present were producer Butch Jimenez, Menardo Jimenez immediate past president of GMA Network, acting consul Maria Helen Barber, Carson City Mayor Pro Tempore Elito M. Santarina, actress Giselle Toengi, broadcaster Jannelle So and of course, Diamond Star Maricel Soriano. Together with GK partners, donors, volunteers, and supporters, they were introduced to the LA audience that packed the 1,500 seater as they entered the theater.

Lilibeth Reyes, the event chair, said that GK not only builds homes but it also helps people rebuild their lives. "GK was initiated by the Couples for Christ with the main goal bringing something back," she said. Its main goal is to build 700,000 homes in 7,000 in seven years (2003-2010).

Light amidst tragedy

One of the highlights of the night was the inspirational speech of Jimenez where he talked about the power of the cinema to effect social change. Jimenez cited as examples, three movies he has produced that have created a strong impact on Philippine society. These include Jose Rizal, Muro Ami and Death Row.

Jimenez gave credit to the people that participated in the film as they contributed their time and their talent to get the movie done. He also lauded the volunteers as the true heroes of the cause." The real heroes are the GK volunteers that work day in and day out to help rebuild the lives of our less fortunate countrymen."

Soriano also delivered a sincere speech about her involvement with GK. Like Jimenez, the award-winning actress flew in from the Philippines just to grace the premiere. "In my 36 years in the industry, this project gave new meaning in my work," she said with emotion in her voice. She waived her fee (which is one of the highest in the industry) for Paraiso. She also said it was an honor to be part if this great cause.

Soriano and Jimenez have truly exemplified the true essence of GK: serving others both by example and sacrifice. …

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