Ginebra Ako Awards Year 4 honors heroes of courage

Photo caption: GINEBRA AKO AWARDS YEAR 4 AWARDEES (clockwise) Fernando Amorsolo Art Foundation executive director Fernando Amorsolo Lazo, Rural Rising Philippines founders Ace and Andie Estrada, Gawad Kalinga executive director Dan Bercasio, and Courage to be Kind Foundation founders Drs. Glenda and George Canlas.

 

Ginebra San Miguel Inc. (GSMI) shines the spotlight on a new breed of heroes who showed a new kind of courage in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic in “Ginebra Ako Awards Year 4: Tumitindi ang Bagong Tapang ng One Ginebra Nation.”

The Ginebra Ako Awards Year 4 awardees are Fernando C. Amorsolo Art Foundation for uplifting the Filipino spirit through the arts, Gawad Kalinga for responding to the immediate needs of affected communities, Rural Rising Philippines for helping sustain the livelihood of farmers, and Courage to Be Kind Foundation for providing proper means of transportation to workers.

Ginebra San Miguel’s latest marketing campaign “Bagong Tapang” inspired this year’s edition of Ginebra Ako Awards. The winners were revealed via a mini-documentary series on CNN Philippines that retells their stories of courage and “malasakit” during the COVID-19 pandemic. The awardees each received ₱25,000 and a trophy.

Since 2018, the Ginebra Ako Awards have honored exemplary organizations or individuals who have shown “malasakit” and went beyond their call of duty to serve their countrymen.

As one of the oldest consumer brands that is still in the market today, Ginebra San Miguel has evolved from a liquor beverage to a symbol of the Filipino’s courage and never-say-die spirit – values that this year’s Ginebra Ako Awards winners personified.

 

UPLIFTING THE FILIPINO SPIRIT

Dedicated to preserving the legacy of the first National Artist, the Fernando C. Amorsolo Art Foundation was conceptualized and formed by the Amorsolo children in 2003. Among its goals is to promote Amorsolo’s unique style and the spread of his artistic vision, which is to immortalize Filipino culture through visual arts.

Amorsolo created the iconic Ginebra San Miguel bottle label in 1917, the “St. Michael Archangel Vanquishing Lucifer,” which remains as one of the most recognizable brand identities to this day. 

During the pandemic, the Foundation’s Bayanihan Art Workshop shifted to online classes to help people battle depression and stress. The free workshop had participants from all walks of life – from students to persons with disability (PWDs), senior citizens, and cancer patients.

“Isa sa aming mga estudyante ay mga PWD. Malaking bagay din ito na makilala sila, na kahit sila ay kaya nilang gumuhit o mag-pinta. Nakakatuwa dahil pag natapos ang isang session, makikita mo ang iba’t-ibang mga trabaho nila na hindi mo akalain na magagawa nila. Kailangan natin tumulong every day. Hindi porke’t may pandemic lang. Itong ginagawa namin na pagtuturo ng art ay malaking bagay,” says Fernando Amorsolo Lazo, Fernando Amorsolo Art Foundation executive director.

 

PLANTING THE SEED OF HOPE

The husband-and-wife tandem of Ace and Andie Estrada, through their social enterprise Rural Rising Philippines, have helped local farmers sell their vegetables at the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns when they were prevented from getting their products out of their farms.

The couple launched a vegetable rescue initiative through an online platform where customers could purchase various types of crops and other produce in bulk from farmers in Baguio, Pangasinan, Aurora, and Zamboanga. Rural Rising Philippines is also dedicated to harnessing the potential of the countryside and fostering rural prosperity through agri-entrepreneurship.

“In going to the farms, we noticed that the farming sector is the most underserved or most ignored sector of society. Nakakasakit ng loob na ‘yung nagpo-produce ng ating pagkain ay ‘yung most ignored sector ng society. As an ordinary person parang ayaw mong may nakikitang nasasayang at ang daming nagugutom. ‘Yun ang nagtulak sa amin na magbuo nito. Ipinapakita namin na ang mga ganito kahit payak lang, ay kayang gawin ng kahit sino,” says Ace Estrada.

 

BUILDING BETTER LIVES

Known to develop poor communities by building houses, Gawad Kalinga (GK) also launched the Barangay Walang Iwanan Program to promote localized bayanihan efforts that help improve the lives of some 100,000 communities. Through its vast network of partners and volunteers, GK was able to deliver assistance where and when it is needed, most especially in this pandemic.

This year, GSMI forged a partnership with GK for this program through the “Bagong Tapang Jersey and Cap Collection Promo.” GSMI gave consumers a platform to help out as part of the proceeds of every jersey or cap purchased go to the farmers in Sariaya, Quezon, and fishermen in Barangay Bagumbayan, Pililla in Rizal.

“Sa bansa, kailangan ‘yung pagkakalinga at ‘yung maipadama sa ating mga kababayan na hindi sila napag-iiwan. Kaya sa Barangay Walang Iwanan, ang hangarin ay paano natin malo-localize ‘yung solutions. We hope to create this on-ground platform and connect them to online solidarity. Kaya habang nilalabanan natin ‘yung challenges ng pandemic, huwag nating kalilimutan na tulungan din ‘yung ibang mahihirap na maitawid ang kanilang buhay,” says Dan Bercasio, Gawad Kalinga executive director.

 

TOWARDS A KINDER WORLD

A year after Benjamin Canlas died at the age of 17, his love of helping others lives on through a foundation established by his parents, Dr. Glenda Canlas, and husband, Dr. George Canlas. The Courage to be Kind Foundation was created to honor him and his kindness. Benjamin used his savings to have a food seller’s bike fixed.

As public transportation has been severely restricted during the pandemic, people must walk for hours to get to their jobs. To help out, Benjamin’s parents gave away bikes to deserving individuals nominated by their friends, family members, or co-workers. They have also given several bicycles to construction workers, security guards, and store clerks who struggle to get to work and make a living because they do not have a proper means of transportation.

“Everybody who met Ben always said that he was an old soul in a young boy’s body. He was very kind. When he passed away, that’s when we realized that he had helped so many people. It was Ben’s passing that brought us to this mission. We came together to do something that would be significant in a time of a pandemic. Let’s be kind to people who are not seen. Kindness is possible. Kindness is the way forward for everyone,” says Dr. Glenda Canlas, Courage to be Kind Foundation founder.