A Call to A(u)ction

I’ve been thinking about writing a post related to this for a while, but I was having second thoughts for a couple of reasons. I think charitable giving is a deeply personal thing, and it’s easy to rub people the wrong way when talking about it. I also didn’t want to seem too preachy. But I’m writing about it now in line with a huge event for UNICEF.

I’ve always known that there was a UNICEF Philippines, but, in the last year or so, their work has been brought to my attention on a regular basis through Daphne Oseña-Paez’s blog. She has been appointed a UNICEF Special Advocate for Children about a year ago and her regular posts and tweets about her work with the organization and ways to contribute stuck with me. And UNICEF has been my go-to recipient in times of crisis (Ondoy, the Haitian earthquake) and personal offering (like when I prayed for this to happen) since.

This month, UNICEF Philippines is holding its first major public fundraising auction entitled Auction for Action. Organized by Daphne Oseña-Paez, it features furniture, sculpture, paintings, jewelry and experience packages for the public to bid on on eBay. The auction goes live on May 25, with all proceeds benefitting UNICEF Philippines.

The items you could bid on include pieces by sculptor Ramon Orlina and painters Juvenal Sanso and Dominic Rubio. Kenneth Cobonpue, the Cebu-based furniture designer to the stars is donating two pieces. Brad Pitt famously purchased his Voyage bed for himself and Angelina Jolie, the same bed featured in the video for Maroon 5’s aptly titled “Never Gonna Leave this Bed.”

You can claim that you and Brad Pitt share a furniture designer!

Also up for auction is an armchair from Daphne’s namesake line of furniture.

Event founder, host and contributor, too!

If furniture and art is not your thing, though, there are experience packages you can bid on. A foodie would definitely jump at the chance to have a meal specially created for him/her and three other friends by Chef Tonyboy Escalante of Antonio’s in Tagaytay. Antonio’s was ranked 5th in Miele Guide’s Asia’s Top 20 Restaurants, so obviously, its regular menu is already outstanding as it is. I can only imagine how wonderful a customized meal will be.

Bid your way to foodie heaven..

If I had the moolah for it, it would be a tossup between that or the Azkals experience package, where the winning bidder would get to sit in the dugout with the Philippine National Football Team at their upcoming World Cup qualifying match against Sri Lanka. Y’all know how boy football crazy I am, so you can imagine how envious I will be of the people who will not only get to watch the match live but also sit with the team on the actual bench.

A chance to be right in the thick of it! And by "it" I mean the match action, not the Younghusband brothers.

But unless the package involves actually sitting on a wooden bench and having to act as a water boy/girl and equipment manager for the team (although, you know, thinking about it I wouldn’t mi…), in all likelihood, I won’t be able to afford even the minimum bid for the Azkals package, or any of the items for that matter. That doesn’t mean I can’t help UNICEF, though.

If you’re loaded enough to be able to bid on any of the items then please invite me to join you watch the Azkals good for you and I hope you win the item you bid on. But if you’re like me (i.e. poor not wealthy enough to afford any of the items up for auction), there are still ways to do our part for the children of our country. You can make your donations for any amount at the UNICEF Philippines website. You can choose to make a one-time donation or, better yet, you can sign-up to make monthly donations and be a UNICEF Champion for Children. Any monthly amount will be accepted, and can be directly charged to your credit card. Here’s an idea of what your contributions can do:

This is what your money can do.

You can help feed and educate the children of the Philippines

And while ₱500 a month can seem like a substantial amount, I find that it helps to think of it in terms of days or purchases. ₱500 a month is only about ₱17 per day. That’s also around the cost of three Starbucks Venti Frappuccinos or four McDonald’s Quarter Pounder Value Meals. Or you can think of it this way: not only do you help children in need by forgoing a delicious but calorific blended coffee drink or a juicy but greasy hamburger, you’re also preventing the expansion of your waistline. And, as already mentioned, you can choose to donate as little as you can afford, even if it is just ₱10 a day. That’s still ₱3,600 a year which will go a long way to helping many children in need (it’s sure to send good karma along your way, too).

I hope all that didn’t sound too preachy. But if I convinced even just one person to donate even the smallest amount to the cause, then being called preachy would all be worth it. Spread the word and who knows, maybe YOU can inspire other to help this worthy cause.

Photos from Daphne’s Diary’s Auction for Action posts and screengrabs from the UNICEF Philippines donation page. Visit Daphne’s Diary for updates and details on other items up for auction.