Following the November 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, The Peninsula Hotels began a program to build Gawad Kalinga Village for those left homeless following the destruction. Some US$900,000 later, residents are now moving in, and on January 27, 2016, the village will be complete and house 75 families from the coastal town of San Roque.
The Peninsula Manila General Manager Sonja Vodusek is the mastermind behind this initiative with funding for construction of the houses shared as part of a “Hope for the Philippines” campaign initiative across Asia and the United States. Each Peninsula hotel donated US$5 for each night’s stay per guest between November 2013 and January 2014. The hotels also generated funds from the sales of a special Philippines-themed tea, dessert and Christmas ornaments.
The village welcomed its first 50 residents on December 8 with the next 25 houses scheduled for completion by the New Year on January 27. Peninsula is looking to add 25 houses with more fundraising.
As part of the fundraising effort, Peninsula tapped into its annual “Trees of Hope” Christmas ornament campaign, where Christmas trees are prominently displayed in each hotel’s lobby. Guests are encouraged to purchase an ornament to hang on the trees, the proceeds of which benefit various charity organizations around the globe. In 2013, the “Trees of Hope” campaign saw proceeds raised donated to the Philippines project.