MEG ETEVE

Meg Eteve jug­gles work and life, and finds bal­ance in know­ing that ev­ery­thing she does is in the ser­vice of oth­ers

Cebu Living - - Front Page - By DAVID JONES CUA Im­ages by EDRIC CHEN of AT EAST JED ROOT

Spear­heads lo­cal phi­lantropic in­sti­tu­tion to pro­vide aid in dis­as­ter­stricken ar­eas in­side and be­yond Cebu

In the course of know­ing Meg Eteve for nearly a decade, I’ve come to know the mul­ti­ple hats she has worn: the prover­bial ‘ It’ girl, a ti­tle she ve­he­mently de­tests; the mother, whom I ran into dur­ing the hol­i­days, car­ry­ing a tote bag stocked with vi­ta­mins C,D, E, and fish oil. “This one’s good for your joints,” I re­mem­ber her telling me as I shame­lessly joined the line of her chil­dren wait­ing for their daily dosage. I’ve even worked with the stern, level- headed ex­ec­u­tive who veers from the cor­po­rate chaff.

Most re­cently, she has donned the role of ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of HopeNow Philip­pines Foun­da­tion, Inc., a pro­ject en­vi­sioned and spear­headed by her ty­coon fa­ther Manny Os­meña and aimed at help­ing ad­dress the un­met health needs of dis­as­ter vic­tims and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple. While watch­ing news re­ports of su­per typhoon Yolanda and the 7.2 MW earth­quake in Bo­hol that pre­ceded it, Os­meña was struck with deep frus­tra­tion for the in­sur­mount­able amount of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ef­forts that still needs to be done de­spite gen­er­ous in­ter­na­tional aid.

“I think he came to the re­al­iza­tion that there’s so much of life that’s out of our con­trol, which then led him to ques­tion, ‘ What are we here for?’” Eteve in­ti­mates. The foun­da­tion re­gards this as its mis­sion: to pro­vide hope for ev­ery Filipino who has lost theirs due to cir­cum­stances out­side their con­trol.

Eteve has worked closely with her fa­ther for a sig­nif­i­cant part of her adult life. “While tak­ing up Po­lit­i­cal Science in De La Salle Univer­sity, I got preg­nant and needed a job,” she shares bluntly. She moved back to Cebu and was as­signed to over­see the en­gi­neer­ing and mar­ket­ing de­part­ments dur­ing the con­struc­tion of what was then the Hil­ton Cebu Re­sort and Spa. Upon the struc­ture’s com­ple­tion, she was moved to the fi­nance depart­ment of the ho­tel, her hus­band Pazu to pur­chas­ing.

Three sons later, the long hours were tak­ing her time away from her kids, and Eteve soon re­signed from her post. For five years, she worked as a free­lancer and a sec­tion editor of the Cebu Daily News even as she delved into wed­ding plan­ning and events co­or­di­na­tion with her friend Boni Al­men­dras. Though money was hard to come by dur­ing those years, “it was one of the best times: I got to shuf­fle my kids to and from school. I love be­ing a mom.” Eteve also worked in the ad­min­is­tra­tive depart­ment of B. R. I. G. H. T. Academy, where her kids at­tended.

It was a dif­fer­ent plot and set­ting from her com­ing- of- age years: busi­ness talk dom­i­nated the din­ner ta­ble con­ver­sa­tion, and lit­tle by lit­tle, she grew to re­sent it. Alas, we all grow up some­day, Eteve ad­mits, and she re­turned to work for her fa­ther when most of her kids were in their for­ma­tive years al­ready.

Guided by her fa­ther’s vi­sion, she dove right into this new role with scarce knowl­edge of run­ning a foun­da­tion. Work­ing on HopeNow Philip­pines has brought the fa­ther- daugh­ter tan­dem much closer to­gether, al­low­ing Eteve to see her dad in a new light. She shares one of the lessons he has im­parted to her: “‘ My kids never used to like me very much be­cause I was all about busi­ness. Now, I’ve de­cided that, re­ally, I’m not meant to just amass wealth but be able to share it.’”

HopeNow Philip­pines started with a seed money of half a mil­lion US dol­lars, do­nated by her fa­ther. In Septem­ber of last year, the foun­da­tion held the Bibu­lus ’ 07 Vintage Char­ity Auc­tion, which raised P16.8M, in­clud­ing Os­meña’s matched con­tri­bu­tion, in a mat­ter of hours. The di­vi­sions of the hold­ing com­pany are now slowly be­ing set up to fun­nel a

HOPENOW PHILIP­PINES FOUN­DA­TION, INC. BE­LIEVES THAT GIV­ING WHAT YOU THINK THEY NEED IS COUN­TER­PRO­DUC­TIVE. THE GROUP MAKES IT A POINT TO KNOW THE SPE­CIFIC NEEDS OF PEO­PLE FROM DIS­AS­TER­STRICKEN AR­EAS BE­FORE TAK­ING AC­TION. PAT­TERNED SHIFT DRESS, P3,495, PRO­MOD, SM CITY CEBU.

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