More than just a good girl

[caption id="attachment_41515" align="alignright" width="389"]ALEXANDRA ‘Alex’ Eduque’s exceptional volunteer work at Habitat for Humanity Philippines leads her to create sustainable programs and eventually win the Most Outstanding Volunteer Award (left) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ALEXANDRA ‘Alex’ Eduque’s exceptional volunteer work at Habitat for Humanity Philippines leads her to create sustainable programs and eventually win the Most Outstanding Volunteer Award (left) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.[/caption]

It all started with her participation in a school project.

Along with fellow classmates from the International School Manila, then 15-year-old Alexandra Amanda Madrigal Eduque volunteered to help build homes for the poor at a Habitat for Humanity Philippines (HFHP) site in Cavite. The weeklong service learning experience left such an impact that she decided to continue volunteering even after her school project.

While other privileged teenagers spent their two-month summer vacation traveling the world, going shopping, and attending parties, Alex spent hers building houses for the families of Baseco in Tondo. At that time, she felt that she wasn’t just building a roof over their heads but was helping rebuild the lives of the people who were then recovering from a fire.

That meaningful interaction with the HFHP home partners further inspired Alex to get involved and share more of her time. On her 18th birthday, in lieu of gifts, she asked her friends to donate money instead. The funds she raised enabled her to build 18 houses for the poor. Alex has not left Habitat since then, creating programs as its youth ambassador, and later on, as its institutional ambassador.

Eight years later, she found herself winning an international award for her invaluable contribution to HFHP and bringing pride to her country.

[caption id="attachment_41520" align="alignleft" width="346"]INSPIRED by the warmth, and hospitality of the Habitat communities, Alex Eduque continues to organize programs for their holistic growth. At right, Alex is seen with celebrity ambassadors Nash Aguas, Yeng Constantino, and Matteo Guidicelli. INSPIRED by the warmth,
and hospitality of the Habitat communities, Alex Eduque continues to organize programs for their holistic growth. At right, Alex is seen with celebrity ambassadors Nash Aguas, Yeng Constantino, and Matteo Guidicelli.[/caption]


“I’m still in disbelief over my win. I feel like I’m walking on clouds and it’s not real. It’s because I really did not expect it all. It was just so overwhelming to have won the IFC Choice Award, not only because it was the first for the Philippines, but also it was a reassurance that you’re doing the right thing, and you actually have the seal of approval from everyone,” shares Alex, now 23. “When I got onstage, everyone in the room who voted for me was standing up and cheering me on. They did not know me prior to that night. They only knew about my story and Habitat through a two-minute video clip. I was in complete awe of their warmth, definitely one of the best moments of my life.”

Alex is the youngest and first Filipino to win the Most Outstanding Volunteer Award and the top plum, the IFC Choice Award during the 2013 Global Awards for Fundraising in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She is also the first recipient of the latter, besting 12 other finalists in the competition organized by Resource Alliance, a charity group in the United Kingdom.

The Global Awards for Fundraising is the first international awards program that brings together non-government organizations from various countries. Finalists in the categories Big Idea, Small Budget, Innovative Fundraising Campaign, The Global Fundraiser, and Outstanding Volunteer sent a video of their work in their respective organizations and were screened by a panel of judges. The top award was chosen by the 1,000 delegates in the awards ceremony, including the finalists.

According to the jury,  “Alexandra’s voluntary work, spanning advocacy and fundraising, impressed us all through laying the foundations for lasting impact. ” More than that, Alex believes that it is her age which symbolized  the promise of sustainability; and her constant evolution from her involvement with Habitat and her establishment of Foundation that made her win the awards.

“What makes this victory sweeter for me is the testament that God really has a plan, and that He makes things fall into place at the right time. With this whole hullabaloo of pork barrel scams where NGOs have become stigmatized, it’s harder to convince a donor to donate to a worthy, non-bogus NGO. But somehow, I hope I was able to restore the public trust in NGOs even in the slightest bit, and bring back prestige to our country, that no matter what it is going through right now, there are worthy causes that are doing what they are supposed to do,” she says.


While Alex grew up with a lifestyle of the rich and famous, she says that her immersion in Habitat communities made her appreciate life more and discover her capacity to serve to others.

“It was the interaction with the homeowners, and seeing how they were more than content with basic necessities. In fact, a lot of them don’t even have basic necessities. It was their warmth, hospitality, and finding it in themselves to invite you for lunch when all they can serve is one piece of tuyo for 12 children,” she relates.

At 20 years old, Alex founded the HFHP Youth Council with fellow volunteers and children from influential families, Kaye Yang, Isabel Francisco, Henny Zobel de Ayala, and her sister Michaela. Through the council, she has raised over P100 million, built 500 houses, mobilized over 8,000 volunteers, and spearheaded HFHP’s disaster response program which benefitted 28,000 families.

She continued her work in Habitat even while she was finishing her Political Science and Urban Studies degree at Columbia University in New York.

Seeing the need for holistic transformation in the Habitat sites, Alex decided to form her own organization, Foundation in November last year as a partner-in-mission of Habitat.

“Habitat’s mission is to build houses and rebuild lives. They have the building for the houses, but to rebuild lives, I really believe it takes more than housing. Housing is the first and most essential foundation but you need to go over that. One of the ways to do that is through the grassroots level, by providing education. So was founded, aiming to convert daycare centers in poor barangays into preschools so  the children will be more prepared for kindergarten,” she explains. “What gives us a distinct trademark is its multifaceted approach. We educate parents alongside through livelihood, and values formation. It’s really educating a family and moving them up one at a time.”’s pilot project is a preschool in Navotas, which caters to 50 kids.


Alex says her philanthropic endeavors were inspired by her family, especially her grandmother who has helped the underprivileged through her own organization, the Chito Madrigal Foundation.

“I’m in awe whenever people think that what I’m doing is something so extraordinary when to us, it’s something that we had to do. It was ingrained in us when we were kids. It was our duty to give back. Now, what’s extraordinary is the amount of time I’ve chosen to give back, and how much of my life I’ve chosen to devote to giving back. I think everyone should do good for the greater good. It’s everyone’s duty,” she says.

Through her own advocacies, Alex hopes to make a name for herself, and achieve beyond what her family has already accomplished.

“For someone who’s born with fortune and blessings, you’re born with that pressure to have to live up to your family name. You can’t disappoint. Any wrong thing you do, someone’s going to pick it up and just stigmatize it forever,” she adds.

Alex calls on fellow youth like her to find ways to share their blessings and help build a better country.

“To the youth out there, find your passion and strike a balance. Start small. All great things start from small beginnings. It doesn’t have to be monetary, you can share your time. Doing good is not just a fad, doing good will never go out of fashion. Even something as small as putting a smile on someone’s face will go a long way. And it doesn’t really matter how much you help out, it’s you actually helping out that matters,” she says.

(This month, Kenneth Cobonpue’s  lamps are being sold for 20 percent off, the proceeds will go to’s programs.)  


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippine economic growth slows to three-year low
    Philippine economic growth slows to three-year low

    Philippine economic growth in the first quarter slowed to a three-year low of 5.2 percent, well below forecasts, due to lethargic government spending and weak exports, officials said Thursday. "While growth in the private sector remains robust, the slower than programmed pace of public spending, particularly the decline in public construction, has slowed down the overall growth of the economy," Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters. "Exports were the other source of the …

  • EM ASIA FX-Won near 2-month low on plunging yen, peso pares gains as growth weakens

    * S.Korea intervention spotted, won hits 7-year high vs yen * Philippine peso briefly weaker after Q1 growth disappoints (Adds text, updates prices) By Jongwoo Cheon SEOUL, May 28 (Reuters) - South Korea's ... …

  • Britain's tied visa rules fuel abuse of live-in maids, nannies

    By Katie Nguyen LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Susi, a single mother from the Philippines, left for a job in Qatar, she convinced herself it was a sacrifice worth making for her children at home. For more than a year, Susi's sacrifice involved waking before dawn and working past midnight, cooking, cleaning and looking after a Qatari family. Conditions deteriorated when Susi was brought to Britain by her boss. …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Philippines at four-month low after Q1 GDP miss

    BANGKOK, May 28 (Reuters) - Philippine shares hit a more than four-month low on Thursday after economic growth in the first quarter was slower than expected, while Thai stocks retreated after disappointing ... …

  • Philippine economic growth slows to 5.2 percent in 1Q

    Sluggish government spending slowed Philippine economic growth in the first quarter of this year, officials said Thursday. The country's gross domestic product grew by 5.2 percent in the first quarter, ... …

  • PSE to sell Makati and Ortigas offices
    PSE to sell Makati and Ortigas offices

    Set to move to a unified headquarters in Bonifacio Global City in 2016, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has issued plans to sell their offices in Makati and Ortigas. PSE President Hans Sicat issued that PSE means to sell the offices, but that they may also opt to rent them out instead. …

  • ‘Inland areas could be exposed to tsunami-like waves’
    ‘Inland areas could be exposed to tsunami-like waves’

    While strong earthquakes cause tsunamis in coastal areas, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned that inland areas could also be exposed to tsunami-like waves, or seiche, if located near or around bodies of water. In a recent earthquake awareness seminar in Muntinlupa, Phivolcs supervising science research specialist Joan Salcedo explained that a seiche is a large wave similar to a tsunami, triggered by strong ground shaking from an earthquake or volcanic …

  • China gives ‘gentle reminder’ to Phl, warns small nations
    China gives ‘gentle reminder’ to Phl, warns small nations

    China gave the Philippines a “gentle reminder” last Tuesday that Beijing will not bully small countries but warned these nations not to make trouble willfully and endlessly. “Here is a gentle reminder to the Philippines: China will not bully small countries, meanwhile, small countries shall not make trouble willfully and endlessly. The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said that China would continue to build other civilian facilities on relevant maritime features in the disputed Spratly Islands …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options