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Top Gear Philippines

This was the team of very knowledgeable car enthusiasts that won our first-ever quiz night held in Bonifacio High Street during the recent "Wheels & Grills" Father's Day weekend event. Now, how is this related to this story?

Well, the guy holding up the team's answer to one of our questions is a dude named Mick Santi. Just like you and us, he's a true car fan. He is, in fact, a member of the prestigious Manila Sports Car Club.

What's it to you, then?

Well, see, a great tragedy has struck Mick, his family and some 120 workers in his employ. You may read the detailed narration here, but here's the gist in Mick's own words (in italics):

We've been making class rings, pins, badges and the like for 120 years. On the 9th of July, our family business in Cavite, which had been operating since 1896, was destroyed by a fire. The business was not only our sole source of income, but also our home, and we have literally been left with nothing but the clothes on our backs. Even our dog seems to have perished in the blaze.

Mick was in such dire straits that he personally called people begging for clothes. He likewise appealed on social media asking for people's kind help.

Why is this our problem? Misfortune hits folks all the time. Why should we be paying special attention to this one that befell a well-off guy in the first place?

Again, in his words:

Having literally lost everything and with no insurance in place to help, it has become clear very quickly that we won’t be able to do this on our own. Not only did the fire have a devastating effect on the livelihood of my family, but also on the over 100 people on our payroll, most of them skilled ring makers, engravers and artisans who learned their craft from their fathers, and their fathers' fathers. I am determined to rebuild the business as fast as I can, but I need your kind help for this.

Yep. More than a hundred breadwinners were left without a job because of the conflagration. And so we are being asked to extend a helping hand. Make no mistake: Mick himself is exhausting whatever resources he has left just to rebuild his family's business. As we write this, his two classic Jaguars have already been reserved by buyers. Which could subsequently disqualify him from MSCC, because of course you can't be a member of a car club without a car.

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Generous friends and people have been pitching in. Right now, the online fundraising account Mick set up has already raised $17,000 out of the $50,000 he needs to rebuild his business. God bless even the strangers who have donated whatever amount to the cause.

Thankfully, the automotive community is just teeming with good souls--people like Car Porn Racing founder Angie Mead King and Jaguar/Ferrari distributor Marc Soong. The pair immediately agreed when we threw them the idea for a fundraising event for Mick Santi's family and workers.

This Saturday, July 16, Angie and Marc are inviting kindhearted car lovers to go to the Jaguar/Ferrari showroom in Bonifacio Global City, from 8am to 12nn, and donate stuff to Mick.

You may give cash, obviously, but other supplies are also welcome. In particular, Mick says he'd appreciate clothes, rice and canned goods. "I'm thinking of doing a soup kitchen kind of thing in our temporary makeshift shop," Mick tells us. "Like maybe spend P2,000 a day for the next 30 days--cheap ulam just to subsidize the workers' food."

Now, here's the best part: Both Angie and Marc have committed nice cars to give short joyrides to those who will donate at least P1,000. Angie is bringing her McLaren 12C and a couple of RWB Porsches. Marc, meanwhile, is making available the Jaguar F-Type and possibly even the Ferrari 488.

Angie and Marc will happily drive guys around a few blocks in these nice automobiles--all for a good cause. Needless to say, you may hang out with these industry icons and discover a thing or two about the world of high-end motoring. This would also be a good opportunity for friends to meet Angie publicly for the first time since the recent whirlwind of events that encroached upon her privacy.

Mick, for his part, will be attending with his family and a handful of workers. He has also agreed to give an inspirational talk about what a car guy like him can learn from life's worst adversities.

If you're not doing anything this Saturday morning, we invite you to drop by and be a part of something special.

"Your donations will be used to try and salvage some of the machines and refurbish some of the equipment from the destroyed workshop," Mick explains. "I am planning to put up a new, smaller workshop so we can get going again and minimize the impact this terrible event has had, not only on my wife and kids, but on my parents, my sister, and perhaps more importantly, our 120 or so employees whose families depend on our business. It's not gonna be as big as the old shop, but it's a start. I know I am asking much, but I am a 38-year-old, fourth-generation craftsman who knows no other trade, and rebuilding our livelihood is the biggest challenge I have ever faced in my life. I hope you can help us get back on our feet."

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Photos from Jam Ramos and Angie Mead King

 

Vernon B. Sarne
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Angelina Mead King Angie Mead King Bonifacio Global City Ferrari fundraising Ian King Jaguar Land Rover Marc Soong Maserati McLaren 12C McLaren MP4-12C Mick Santi RWB Porsche Car Porn Racing
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