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MANILA, Philippines - A unit at DMCI Homes’ Vista de Lago in Taguig City not only nurtures a growing family but also charity. For Ramil Sumangil and his family, the generous pockets of spaces in their two-level unit at one of the seven buildings in the resort-themed condominium community makes it possible to conduct a book donation drive that provides free educational books to students who can’t afford them.
Sumangil and his wife, Lynn, bought a four-bedroom unit at the Mediterranean-style residence built in 2002, so it would be easier for them to travel to their workplaces.
The unit fits the family well as four upstairs bedrooms accommodated everyone. Sumangil, a book lover, enjoys the part of the living room, where a custom-built shelf housing his big collection of books covers an entire wall.
At any DMCI Homes residential condo, units have generous sizes. So it’s no wonder Sumangil’s Books For A Cause (BFAC) had its roots at Vista de Lago. The personal outreach project involves collecting books from donors and passing them to students who have no textbooks or schools and communities that have no library.
Sumangil started BFAC in 2011 to help his Nueva Ecija alma mater put up its own library. He called on the public to donate textbooks and he received an overwhelming response. Donated books kept coming in that soon, the space under the stairs, a toilet/bathroom, and part of an upstairs bedroom were filled with books. There was no more room to accommodate 220 boxes containing more than 20,000 textbooks donated by Rex Publishing in 2012 that Sumangil had to rent a space in the maintenance personnel barracks of Vista de Lago as extension storage and sorting areas.
Sumangil picks up donations every week and beneficiaries visit to get the books they need every month. Neighbors donated books to him when he held a book drive in 2013 and 2014. He gave away storybooks to children of other Vista de Lago homeowners whenever the kids visit him. He had to quit his day job at a leading publishing company to go full time with BFAC activities that include the distribution of books to beneficiaries in remote and depressed areas, when his time permits, in picking up and receiving donated books, attending to visitors looking for textbooks and supervising student volunteers in sorting books.
Sumangil says the piles of books have become a fixture in their home and the family got used to the clutter. But he hopes that someone would donate a warehouse where he could store all donated books, do the sorting and even set up a free public library. While waiting for that BFAC warehouse to become a reality, the sense of home is not lost for the Sumangils. The generous space inherent in DMCI Homes condo units allowed for the enjoyment of family life and a noble charitable cause at the same time.
“In the first place, home is us,” says Mrs. Sumangil, referring to the family. “There are some sacrifices. Our mobility inside the house suffers, but when we see where the books go and those who receive them, it feels rewarding. It’s not a reward of money but a reward that there are people who benefit from what we do.”
Books For A Cause (BFAC) is an advocacy that aims to provide precious knowledge to every Filipino and increase literacy through continuous learning. To donate books, call Ramil Sumangil at (+63) 9177963382, email him at email@example.com, or visit https://www.booksforacause.net.
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