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