Did you know that it takes around 200 teachers to help an average Filipino student achieve his or her dream career?
For their undying passion to mold young Filipinos to be at their best not just for their family but more so for the society, teachers are rightly hailed as the unsung heroes of this country.
With this in mind, a small group of like-minded executives from Filipino telecommunications company PLDT banded together in 2007 and admirably mounted an advocacy for teachers.
This seemingly simple intent gave birth to Gabay Guro and would later become the corporate social responsibility arm under the PLDT-Smart Foundation.
“Teachers are very important to us, they are like our second parents. We wouldn’t be who we are now if not for our teachers. I think people would agree that everyone passed through the help of teachers and we didn’t just learned academics from them. More importantly, our teachers have imparted values,” Chaye Cabal-Revilla, Gabay Guro chairperson and Smart’s chief financial officer, told The Sunday Times Magazine.
Considered the heart of the benevolent project, Cabal-Revilla added that the advocacy is their way of giving back to teachers.
Gabay Guro, since its inception, has championed trainings for teachers to sharpen their teaching skills and livelihood programs to prevent them from leaving the underpaid profession, as well as scholarships for students who wish to teach, among others. These programs are anchored in the now-famous Gabay Guro pillars comprised of “scholarships, trainings, housing and educational facilities, livelihood programs, broadband and computerization, and teacher’s tribute.”
Today, with the help of volunteers within and outside the telco company, Gabay Guro has clocked in impressive numbers for their works: Over 1,100 scholars in 47 partner-state colleges and universities nationwide since its inception, 300 of whom are Licensure Exam for Teachers passers, with 112 graduating as cum laudes and 25 magna cum laudes.
Not only that, they are also proud to reveal that they have so far trained over 16,000 teachers and have extended a helping hand to disaster-stricken provinces. In total, they have built and donated 40 classrooms in Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Capiz.
But if these unsung heroes were to be asked for that one annual Gabay Guro event that they all look forward to, it would be the Teacher’s Tribute.
Considered as the pinnacle of Gabay Guro’s celebration, the Teacher’s Tribute sees to it that teachers get to be treated like royalty with stellar performances from celebrity volunteers.
Pioneered by the likes of Derek Ramsay—even before he joined TV5 Network and endorsed Smart Communications—Regine Velasquez and husband Ogie Alcasid, among others, these artists have rendered their talent and waived professional fees, all for the love of teachers.
This year, the ninth tribute night promises to be Gabay Guro’s biggest tribute yet. Dubbed as “Teacher Fest 2016,” it will be held on September 25 at the Mall of Asia Arena, and will see performances from Velasquez, Alcasid, Gary Valenciano, Pops Fernandez, James Reid, Nadine Lustre, Lea Salonga and the Mega Star herself, Sharon Cuneta. Michael Pangilinan, Jaya, Janno Gibbs, Jonnalyn Viray and The Voice Kids Season 2 finalists will also join the festivity. Confirmation from other artists is expected in the lead up to the big night.
“We have a lot of artists who have volunteered to perform for our teachers, as part of their tribute—a thank you for everything that they’ve done. It’s their way of paying it forward,” Cabal-Revilla continued.
In the tradition of previous tribute nights, the Teacher Fest will also generously raffle off grand prizes, the most staggering of which are a house and lot, vehicle showcases and livelihood opportunities.
Truly, the Teacher’s Fest is a valuable annual event to remind educators of their invaluable presence in every student’s life.
The PLDT Gabay Guro grand tribute event is exclusive for teachers only. Admission is free. Visit gabayguro.com for more details.