It was a night of giving at the Habitat for Humanity 35th anniversary dinner, which raised funds to continue its mission of providing affordable housing to Filipino families.
This is a story from Lifestyle Asia’s November 2023 Issue.
It was indeed a special night as Habitat for Humanity celebrated its 35th anniversary with a fundraising dinner by Michelin Star chef Walter Manzke, Joris Rycken, and James Beard awardee for Outstanding pastry Chef 2023, Margarita Manzke who came from Los Angeles for the one time event at Shangri-La The Fort, Manila. It was a purposeful night of thanksgiving, entertainment, and gastronomic experience to help raise funds to build homes and hope for future generations of Filipino families in need of decent affordable homes.
ENTERTAINMENT WITH A MISSION
The event started with an invocation by talented couple and theater artists Gian Magdangal and Lara Maigue who sang “The Prayer.” In the opening remark of gala committee chair Ana Lorenzana De Ocampo, she shared that Habitat for Humanity Philippines’ impact goes beyond bricks and mortar because it is restoring dignity, igniting potential, and creating a sense of belonging for the many lives it has changed. De Ocampo said in her speech, “Thirty-five years of accomplishments, let us also look ahead with a renewed sense of compassion and resolve. May we be inspired by the heart-tugging stories shared tonight and channel this into real action and change. We must continue to build not just houses, but futures filled with promise and opportunities for our fellow countrymen.”
She added that Habitat has supported over 4.3 million Filipinos to build or improve the place they call home: helped over 150,000 families through house repair and construction, built over 200 community infrastructures from multipurpose and livelihood centers, health centers, schools, classrooms, libraries, and daycare centers and facilitated access to housing finance to 934,120 households for home improvement. It has also mobilized over five million local and international volunteers to build homes and communities.
After Lorenzana-de Ocampo’s welcome remarks, a performance by Nicole Asensio and live guitarist, Gabe entertained the crowd, followed by a song number by Ayen Laurel. Heartfelt testimonials were heard from Engineer Christian Seso who is a homeowner and a video testimonial by Claudette Fernandez was also shown to show the audience two among the many who Habitat has helped with their living conditions. A call for support was made by Fernando Zobel de Ayala of Ayala Land, a platinum sponsor of the gala night. The program ended with a jovial rendition of “Umagang kay Ganda” led by Ayen and Franco Laurel together with the committee members, Board of Trustees, the Zobel de Ayalas, and homeowners.
A MICHELIN STAR EXPERIENCE
For starters, Manzke prepared a cauliflower panna cotta with laminated brioche, Rudolphe Le Meunier Normandy creamy butter, paired with Gosset Grand Reserve Brut Champagne. A wild European dover sole with a side of roasted sunchoke, oven dried red flame grapes, black truffle, hazelnut, paired with Louis Michel Montmain 2020 followed.
A dish of wagyu medallion with king oyster, asparagus, was served with an Emilion Grand Cru. Dacquoise with layers of almond meringue and unique kaffir lime whipped ganache, passionfruit and mango sorbet provided a sweet ending to a successful dinner gala that raised a total of Php15 million from table sponsorships, donations, and pledges from the event itself. The fundraising dinner left hearts and stomachs full and illuminated a brighter future for the Filipino families Habitat promised to support.
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Photos by Chito Cleofas, Daniel Tan, and Ramon Mangila.