On August 11, we called upon our readers as well as the automotive industry to come together and donate relief goods for the recent flooding victims all over Metro Manila. The response was overwhelming, especially if you took into account the fact that this project had been announced at the last minute.
Drop-off point was JT's Manukan inside the Ortigas Home Depot compound in Pasig City. From there, the goods were driven via hard-working pickup trucks to the Philippine National Red Cross office on Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong. We reckon we must have transported more than a dozen cargo beds' worth of relief items.
Allow us now to give special mention to the five car companies that lent us their capable pickups for this noble cause:
* Chevrolet Philippines (for the Colorado);
* Isuzu Philippines Corporation (for the D-Max);
* Mitsubishi Motors Philippines (for the single-cab Strada);
* Toyota Motor Philippines (for the Hilux); and
* Universal Motors Corporation (for the Nissan Navara)
The original idea was to invite just our readers to donate, but then executives and employees of the car industry once again outdid themselves by not only bringing relief goods but also assisting in packing and transporting the items. These included Asian Carmakers Corporation (BMW) president Maricar Parco, Columbian Autocar Corporation (Kia) president Ginia Domingo, CATS Motors (Mercedes-Benz) senior marketing manager Andros Villaraza, Honda Cars Philippines public relations manager Mitch Malto, Chevrolet Philippines senior marketing manager Bel Laureola, Lexus Manila marketing services officer Carlo Chungunco, Mazda (Berjaya) brand manager Kristoff Arcega, and the industry's young and energetic set of PR and marketing staffers (Toyota Motor Philippines' Miko Hernandez and Jade Marie Sison, ACC's Pauline Gonzales, CAC's Precious Casao, Motor Image Pilipinas's Ann Santibańez, and Hyundai Asia Resources' Richelle Manalad).
We have to give extra props to Manalad for actively inviting various Hyundai car club members to pass by and drop off their donations. This was on top of personally overseeing the sacks of rice and boxes of bottled water that her company generously provided.
Even former industry friends--like Grace Enriquez (formerly of CATS Motors), Missy de Rivera (formerly of Toyota and now of 3M Philippines) and Allen Cortez (formerly of Honda)--came to lend their support. So did friends from the industry's peripheral or aftermarket sector, including Wheel Gallery (Concept One) managing director Sam Liuson, Wuerth Philippines managing director Ariel de Jesus, Atoy Customs proprietor Atoy Llave, Red Rock Travel owners William Herrera and Gaia Lopez, Smart Communications' Jacqueline Bocalan, artist Reg Yuson, PRC's Air and Lhara Urquiola, and Ogilvy & Mather's Lhen Hasal.
There were also colleagues and fellow journalists who dropped by, including Top Gear's very own Mikko David, Robby Consunji, Beeboy Bargas and Jason dela Cruz, FHM's Allan Madrilejos, Men's Health's Wayne Tulio, Philippine Daily Inquirer's Alvin Uy, The Philippine Star's Jeff Reyes, BusinessWorld's Arnold Belleza (who came with wife Edna and their two sons), TravelBook.ph's Chris Chua, and C!'s James Deakin. Needless to say, Top Gear's full-time editorial staff was there, as well as our publisher Chad Rosario and assistant publisher Aeus Reyes. Top Gear columnist Al Mendoza donated a box of goods in absentia.
The above-mentioned folks do not really need the roll call. In fact, some of them even asked us not to take their photos anymore. These are people who just wanted to help our unfortunate countrymen. God bless them.
Now, as for the many other people who went to the event and lent their time and resources--some of them car club members, many of them readers of Top Gear--we have the photos below to thank them on behalf of the flood victims that they were able to help. We've basically posted these pictures on our Facebook wall, but we promised to also put these images here on our website.
To all our friends and readers who took part in this donation drive, thank you. You have no idea what your little acts of kindness meant to others. To all those who missed this but wanted to contribute their share, there will always be another opportunity to lend a helping hand to the needy. Hopefully, there will be more of us next time.