• MARGIE MORAN FLOIRENDO’S DAVAO

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    Although she first entered the spotlight as a beauty queen after winning the Miss Universe title in 1973, Ballet Philippines President Margie Moran-Floirendo has become better known for her work in the arts, culture, and ecology, as well as her civic projects in recent years. Ballet Philippines is the country’s premier ballet company at residence at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

    Her marriage brought her to beautiful Davao, and since that time, this Masters of Science in Managing Rural Development degree holder from the University of London has made this southern city her home.

    She takes an active part in tourism and related activities as President of the Southern Philippines Foundation for the Arts, Culture, and Ecology, which initiates various projects to perpetuate the cultural heritage of Mindanaoans, and as a publisher of coffee table books Mindanao, a Portrait and Mindanao on the Mend. As Executive Vice Chair of the Mindanao Commission on Women, she has helped spearhead a national campaign and advocacy, Mothers for Peace.

    Margie has been active in community work as Co-Chair of Friends of Habitat, and a Member of the Board of Trustees of Habitat for Humanity Philippines, Inc. She is also active in environmental projects as a Member of the Board of Trustees of the World Wildlife Fund – WWF Philippines, and as Chair Emeritus of the Save Davao Gulf Foundation and the Davao Gulf Management Council, which creates environmental projects advocacy programs in communities in 27 municipalities and 5 cities.

    She has received numerous awards for her work including the 2006 Nehemiah Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service for her contributions for Habitat for Humanity, and the Kalakbay Award given by President Fidel Ramos for Pearl Farm Beach Resort in 1995. Margie has also been conferred 2 honorary Royal Mindanao titles: Bai Putri sa Pilipinas from the Sultanate of Maranao, and Bai Putri Dalembang Da Sumagad Sa Mindawe from the Sultanate of Maguindanao. Here, she takes us on a visual tour of the city she has come to love. This is her Davao, this is her SM.

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    At Pearl Farm Marina Davao

    “What I like about Davao is that it’s a city that’s urbanized, fast growing, and yet very relaxed. There is an abundance of fruits, vegetables, and seafoods, as well as beautiful beaches and resorts. When I have guests, I bring them directly to the Pearl Farm Beach Resort.”

    Pearl Farm Davao Marina started as a docking and loading area for guests bound for the Pearl Farm Beach Resort in the Island Garden City of Samal, which can be reached by a 45-minute boat ride. This quaint hotel, which began operations in 2006, has become a hideaway for those who want peace and quiet in the midst of natural beauty and luxurious amenities.

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    At the T’boli weaving center

    “Davao gave me the opportunity to learn many things, and this enriching education prompted me to help in its tourism through events like Mindanao Culinary Festival.”

    The T’boli Weaving Center at Pearl Farm Marina in Davao City was put up through the initiative of Ms. Ma. Cristina Floirendo-Brias, Creative Director of TADECO Livelihood and Training Center. It aims to promote the culture of the T-bolis, one the Philippines’ surviving ethnic tribes, and preservation of this traditional art. Each piece sold helps uplift the tribe and preserve their craft.

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    At the Life Enrichment school for children

    “It’s not just about giving back, it’s about wanting people to have a better life. It’s also about my background and my training in Maryknoll (now Miriam College), where you cannot graduate unless you do community work. Even after you graduate, you never lose that goal, that objective.”

    The Life Enrichment School for Children in Barangay Gredu, Panabo, Davao del Norte, is one of Margie’s advocacies. Established in May 2006, it is run by the Community Welfare Lotus Foundation and provides underprivileged children with a holistic concept of education through teachers who were trained in the Waldorf Method of education which is integrated in the regular school curriculum. It not only offers subsidized education, but also aims to create livelihood opportunities for the families of students.

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    At Tadeco

    “You go through life and work, and get to an age when you just want to do something.”

    Margie checks out one of the houses to be built for Wadecor Employees and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Wearbempco) members with assistance of the Habitat for Humanity Foundation through Margie’s initiative. Habitat for Humanity sponsored the first 20 houses in the project, while the Don. Antonio O. Floirendo Foundation also sponsored 10 houses.

    As an active member of the board of Habitat for Humanity, Margie has supervised the building of 1,000 houses in Peace and Development communities in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, General Santos, Sarangani Province, and North Cotobato.

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    SM City Davao

    “SM has become a catalyst for economic development not only in Davao, but in the neighboring provinces, who all come to SM. It has spurred local tourism because people will come here, stay for the weekend, and shop at SM.

    SM has changed the landscape of Davao – it has raised the value of properties in the area. You’ll see that the place has become progressive if there is an SM.”

    SM City Davao, the first of the SM Supermalls in Mindanao, has changed the lifestyles of the region.

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    Antonio’s Grill serves Inihaw na Panga, Pinaputok na Manok, Kinilaw na Itlog na Maalat, and Crab Sotanghon

    “What makes Davao different? It’s the scenery and the food we have. We have a lot of tuna, and fruits like the durian and mangosteen. We have an abundance of tropical fruits and flowers you don’t find in most areas.”

    Margie amidst durians and pomelos at the SM Supermarket’s fruit area; and at Antonio’s Grill at SM City Davao, which serves superb Inihaw na Panga, Pinaputok na Manok, Kinilaw na Itlog na Maalat, and Crab Sotanghon.