Books for the Barrios: Greg B. Macabenta Library

My father, Greg B. Macabenta, was a huge supporter of Books for the Barrios, a non-profit that collects school textbooks, educational learning aids and devices from schools, publishers and schoolchildren in the United States and delivers them to remote barrio public schools throughout the Philippines.

Despite a lack of a formal education, Greg's talents and determination left an indelible mark in the world of marketing, communications, journalism, media and entertainment.

Born in Tacloban City, Greg's journey took him to Manila, where he became a radio talent at a young age. He excelled in acting on Manila TV during the medium’s early infancy, worked as a reporter and magazine associate director at just 16, and went on to write a blockbuster Tagalog movie at 17 – the first of many others to come. For many years, he was also a regular columnist and contributor in Philippine and American newspapers, writing insightful commentary on world events and personalities.

Beyond the fourth estate and the silver screen, his creative genius extended to advertising, where he later became the President and CEO of Advertising Marketing Associates (AMA), then one of the largest advertising agencies in the Philippines and forerunner of DDB Group Philippines, where he crafted what many in today’s industry consider as marketing classics.

This eventually led him immigrate to the United States, where he later started his own ad agency, and where he soon became a believer of the importance of the role of the Filipino-American community. He co-founded and chaired the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), the biggest Filipino community organization in the U.S. For this advocacy, he received two Presidential Awards and numerous commendations.

He is survived by his loving wife: Gigi; their children: Ringo, Christina, Paolo, and Jinx; their spouses: Rosana, Jack, Anne, and Kathy, respectively; and grandchildren: Mocha, Lawson, Max, Sofia, Vegas, and Cerise.

Greg leaves behind a void that perhaps can never be filled, but his legacy will continue to inspire generations to come. To honor all that he has created, we are going to build the Greg B. Macabenta Memorial Library in his hometown of Tacloban, Leyte. We can't find a more fitting tribute.

The library will be a learning and creative center with books for preschoolers to 5th grade, along with educational toys and art supplies. It will also house a few of Papa's memorabilia, movie posters, and plaques to inspire the next generation of writers.

We are thrilled to be working with BOOKS for the BARRIOS to make this happen. Our goal is modest: (1) Send 10 boxes of children's books and art/school supplies to Tacloban, Leyte and (2) renovate a dilapidated school library before October 11, 2024, Papa’s 1 year death anniversary.

To make this happen, we are specifically looking for:
• Children’s books (Filipino authors a bonus)
• Large format picture books (art, science, nature)
• Complete board games for kids
• Educational and sensory toys
• Educational books - math, phonics, reading, writing, art, and science
• Children's dictionaries
• Art supplies - crayons, markers, pencils, erasers, coloring books
• Donations - it costs $160 to ship 1 box of books and supplies

In-kind donations can be dropped off or mailed to Books for the Barrios, 1125 Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek, CA 94598-4355.
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Donations (36)

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  • Yan Heim
    • $200 
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  • Elaine Serina
    • $100 
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  • Thomas Gitto
    • $160 
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  • Jacqueline Escobar
    • $25 (Offline)
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Christina Dunham
Raised $6,005 from 28 donations
Reno, NV
Esther Chavez
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Nancy Harrington
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