AGOH banner

A Gathering of Heroes: an evening of inspiration and friendship

Thank you for letting us join the GK journey." - guest

It didn’t require much effort for Gawad Kalinga Canada to come up with a name for an event that they were organizing to honour the many people who have donated their money, time, talents and skills to GK, for it to fulfill its vision of ending poverty in the Philippines by 2024.

“A Gathering of Heroes” came to Event Coordinator Nilda Exmundo’s mind as if by divine intervention. It sounds generic but so apt.  Calling it a gathering instead of a “gala” suggests a casual convergence. And heroes, how else can one call the honourees but such? They are modern-day, living heroes.

More than 300 attended the affair. They came from corporations, community organizations, families and social circles.

Luis Oquinena, GK Executive Director, flew from the Philippines to lend his support. Young but full of experience, Luis was with GK since the beginning. The Canadian team learned a lot from him during the short time that he was in the country.

The guest speaker was Tony Olaes, chief executive officer of GK-USA, who inspired his audience with the story of his transformation from a raised-in-America immigrant who stereotyped the poor and the Third World to a firm believer in the Filipino spirit and an advocate for the poor.

Twenty partners who have donated houses and other infrastructures to GK villages were called in front to be recognized. Others were acknowledged for their contributions through rolling credits on screen.

The evening also unveiled the two-year campaign, One Canada GK, which seeks to raise the resources to complete the villages sponsored by Canadian groups and corporations in the vicinity of the Batasan and upgrade some villages to what GK calls “model status”.

A major fundraising and friendraising project of OCV is “Race to the Summit”, a virtual race leading to the 2012 GK Global Summit to be held in Toronto on June 8-9 at the Allstream Centre at Exhibition Place.

At the end of the evening, 21 team captains have registered their teams. More people are encouraged to form their teams and register them online at  Each team will have a page on the website where they can accept donations and monitor their progress. The first level will be Base Camp I and the last is of course the Summit.

Dr. Francis Rementilla and Renee Siao, the Lead Expeditionists, are optimistic that several teams will reach the Summit.

“If you looked at each person's heart in the huge gathering, you'd see a heart that's been opened to give and to care.”- Guest

(Photos by Rene Sevilla and Cheryl Cantonjos)