Nearing the end of a year provides for a good opportunity to reflect on a period that is about to end. Almost two years have passed since I joined the board of APC and it has been a truly rewarding experience to be part of this Group at a broader and deeper level.
When Laurence first mentioned that venn2018 was to be held in Manila, with the request that we co-host, I had no firm concept of what a programme would look like, as Hazel and I have attended the conference once only, in Jakarta. I did of course welcome the opportunity to showcase Filipino hospitality. I do hope that everyone who attended the venn2018 left with good memories.
The exchanges over the two-day period were open and insightful, with great introductions into many personal journeys in philanthropy. The visit to Tuloy on the first day moved many hearts. For me it was the first time to visit the site, even though at foundation level there is familiarity with Father Rocky and his good work.
Manila House is a relatively new City Club, but it is very distinct with its interior design and it often features Filipino art. It was identified as an ideal venue, as it is an important addition to social life in town. The performances from CENTEX, Ang Misyon Symphony and at Tuloy too hopefully gave our members a good snapshot of cultural life in Manila.
Beyond the sharing of programmes and models on education and healthcare, what I appreciated were the opportunities to get to know each other better. I was paired up with Peggy Moh from China and heard for the first time about Peggy’s advocacy with focus on eye care and a broader engagement in healthcare. The energy in the room was palpable and that is probably one of the reasons why we all agree to be part of APC – our wish to be part of the dynamics that help address the many inequities: and APC can give us the platform.
My wife is a natural when it comes to being a host, remembering the many details that can make an event more successful. I do owe her a big thank you for being a tremendous support, leading up to the conference. We are a team and I have to admit that, given my organisational skills in such matters, I very much depend on her. Nevertheless, I endeavoured to share with everyone our goals in Philanthropy, along with some of the lessons we at the foundation learnt along the way. I truly hope that everyone benefited from this event and that expectations for the venn2019 are as high, if not even more pronounced.
In the Philippines Christmas preparations start from September onward. Given that it is the most prominent holiday, the time leading up to the actual celebration sees many activities in the country, which is a time for gathering and sharing. With less than a month to go, I wish everyone Happy Holidays.