(L-R) Rene “Tatay Ete” Vendiola, Ramon Aboitiz Awardee for Exemplary Individual, and Manuel
Margate who serve as client service department manager of Negros Women for Tomorrow
Foundation (NWTF) that was declared Eduardo Aboitiz Awardee for Outstanding Institution,
raised the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. Triennial Awards trophies during the award ceremony
last March 22 at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.
Preserving the environment does not need a high educational attainment but it requires
a high degree of passion and love for nature.
These characteristics are manifested by self-made environmentalist, Rene “Tatay Ete”
Vendiola, who is a high school dropout and former kaingin farmer but managed to set up a
Liptong woodland that preserves local fauna and species of plants and native trees.
For his effort in biodiversity conservation and forestation in Bacong, Negros Oriental,
Vendiola was awarded with the Ramon Aboitiz Award for Exemplary Individual during the 5th
Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) Triennial Awards last March 22 at Marco Polo Plaza
For Vendiola, he was not competing with the other four finalists—two priests, a peace
promoter in Mindanao, and a former Boy Scout master.
“Ang RAFI nangita og tukog sa lukay nga hugpungon aron mahimong silhig. Gihimo
mi sa RAFI og silhig. Sa among pagkasilhig, kami ang mogamit sa among nahibaw-an aron
makatabang sa atong komunidad (RAFI is looking for ribs out of coconut leaves so that when
grouped together, they form a broom. We the finalists are formed by RAFI into a ‘broom’ so that
together, we can use our knowledge and help our community),” he said.
Vendiola shared over Pagtuki last March 24 that when declared awardee of the RAFI
Triennial Awards for the individual category, he felt like crying because it was his first time to get
an award. Pagtuki is the official radio program of RAFI every Saturday over dyLA from 10-11
As the awardee, he received a trophy and a cash prize of Php 440,000, which he said
he will use to build his dream endemic trees nursery.
On the other hand, the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) bagged the
recognition as the Eduardo Aboitiz Awardee for Outstanding Institution for their efforts to uplift
the lives of many women.
NWTF, an organization that provides capital to poor women to start in small scale
business, has been providing livelihood opportunities through its program called “Project
Dungganon” (dungganon is Hilagaynon or honorable).
Its executive director, Dr. Cecilia del Castillo, was sent to India to learn the Grameen
Credit system, on which the program is based.
“We did not publicize our work. We just did our jobs. The people we helped are those
who have little opportunities in life. They are the ones who really need our help,” said Manuel
Margate, NWTF client service department manager, said in Bisaya.
He said NWTF will use the Php 440,000 cash prize received during the RAFI Triennial
Awards to expand and improve Project Dungganon so that the organization can uplift the lives
of more poor people.
The RAFI Triennial Awards was launched in Dec. 6, 1996 during the 39th anniversary
of the foundation to commemorate the philanthropic, humanitarian, and holistic ideals of RAFI
founders Don Ramon Aboitiz and his son Don Eduardo Aboitiz. The awards program is now on
its 15th year this year, which is also the 45th year of RAFI.
It is one of the awards capabilities of RAFI, recognizing individuals and institutions that
go the extra mile in bringing about positive change and in uplifting the quality of life of
For more information about the RAFI Triennial Awards, please contact (032) 418-7234
loc. 105 and look for Cathy Margate, or visit www.rafi.org.ph or www.facebook.com/rafi.org.ph.