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PIA fashion show benefits poor children, ‘Yolanda’ survivors

/ 08:40 AM November 30, 2013

TV journalists Lloyd Lacuesta and Diane Dwyer emcee PIA’s benefit fashion show.

Actress Joan Almedilla entertains luncheon attendees. PHOTOS BY HIL ASILO & RICHARD LAO

SAN FRANCISCO—More than 700 supporters of Philippine International Aid (PIA) flocked to the organization’s 27th annual benefit fashion show at the Grand Ballroom in the Hyatt Embarcadero on Sunday, Nov. 17.

“It brings a lot of comfort and joy knowing that disadvantaged children back home are given a chance to live a life free of violence and fear,” fashion show chair Nina Romualdez said.

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There are reportedly 1.4 million Filipino children who need classrooms. This organization has reportedly assisted over 32,000 youth by saving them from abuse and providing them an education.

“The show has drawn so many people to make contributions to provide assistance in the areas of shelter, rehabilitation, health and nutrition, education, assimilation and livelihood programs to disadvantaged Filipino youth in the Philippines as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area,” Romualdez added.

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Guests who arrived early shopped at the Christmas bazaar filled with products from local businesses. A live and silent auction also took place as guests ate lunch and watched the performance of Broadway actress Joan Almedilla. Diane Dwyer an anchor/reporter for KNTV/NBC for Channel 11 and Lloyd LaCuesta, a former broadcast journalist, hosted the show.

Charity bazaar at the Hyatt Embarcadero lobby

Mona Lisa Yuchengco, director of PIA explained, “This is our main and only fundraiser for the organization.  Education is the only chance impoverished children have for a brighter future.  It helps Filipino American youths entering college who may be experiencing financial difficulties.”

The show featured the creations of Philippine-based designer Barge Ramos, who uses native materials to create modern yet ethnic pieces, like his signature barong Tagalog.

“The event was a huge success, judging from the turn-out of guests who came to watch the fashion show, plus all the corporate sponsors that Lisa Yuchengco was able to gather to help support this year’s fundraiser,” Ramos beamed.

Philippine Airlines cosponsored the show. Other sponsors, patrons and benefactors included Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Galleria Park Hotel, Mango Tours, ANX Home Healthcare, Tancinco Law Offices, Jo Ann Kyle/ABS-CBN Foundation, INQUIRER.net among many others.

Philippine Airlines not only flew Ramos to San Francisco, but also choreographer and director Ogee Atos.  As a consultant for both local and international beauty contests,  Atos has been with the PIA organization for three years and continues to recommit because he believes in the cause sending deserving children to school.

Models show off Barge Ramos’ barong designs.

“The more than 700 attendees is an indication of the belief they put in PIA and its cause plus the fact that they get quality entertainment that showcases Filipino talents (designers, models, makeup artists, hairdressers and production crew),”  Atos said. “We all take pride in being united for a good cause. We can never go wrong with sharing our resources and talents.”

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All proceeds from the show typically go directly to help disadvantaged children in the Philippines, but this year 10 percent of the show’s earnings went to Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) recovery relief.

“The event also educates and informs the Filipino-American community about the issues face by disadvantaged children,” Yuchengco concludes. “It is one way for the community to help these children and at the same time, have fun doing it.”

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