Filipino Bond Girl uses fame to help poor communities back home

8 November 2012 / 3 years 11 months ago

Source: InquirerOn November 1, a woman quietly took a six-hour bus ride from Quezon City to this coastal Pangasinan city.Upon her arrival, she was immediately whisked into a waiting van. The other passengers belatedly learned that she was the Bond Girl, who played a Chinese masseuse in a scene with actor Pierce Brosnan in the 2002 James Bond movie, “Die Another Day.‘She is Rachel Grant, a British-Filipino actress and model, who appeared in the spy movie as “Peaceful Fountains of Desire.‘ Grant, on her website, said her brief appearance in the movie brought her “media interest, other roles, press coverage, invitations, charitable activities and a variety of extraordinary experiences.‘Grant, born in the Philippines and raised in Nottingham, England, uses her popularity to advance her environmental and humanitarian causes in different countries, including the Philippines. She went to the western agricultural town of Bani and Alaminos City in Pangasinan, where she visited housing projects, trekked, planted mangroves trees, rode a carabao and went scuba diving.She was invited to Bani by Nelson Balmores, a town resident who works at the law office of her grandfather, Ceferino Padua, in Metro Manila. Grant’s mother is the founder of the Padua Charitable Fund (PCF), which helps look for funds for housing, education and health projects in poor communities in the country.“The PCF has extended help to villages in Mindoro and Cavite, and Balmores requested that she come to his hometown Bani and nearby Alaminos City,‘ said Josefina Eugenio, a staff member of the Bani local government who coordinated the visit.Eugenio said Grant visited the housing project Burubor-ni-Ayat (Fountain of Love) in Bani. She vowed to help look for funding for an elementary school building there. Children in the community, where victims of Typhoon “Emong‘ in 2009 are housed, need to walk for several kilometers to reach the village’s school.Grant, a supporter of Gawad Kalinga, also visited another housing project in Barangay Arwas, where she encouraged the community to plant trees.There, she planted a narra tree, which was named “Rachel Tree.‘ She also visited the Masidem Dam where she and her group planted more trees on top of a hill.In Bani, she also struck off an item in her bucket list when she rode a carabao, after observing the production of “organic soil‘ using African night worms.In Alaminos City, Grant visited the Gawad Kalinga Eco Village in Barangay Lucap where she and local officials led the ceremonial laying of bricks at the center of the four-hectare village. At least 18 housing units there are home to poor residents. More housing units are set to be built in the village. City officials said Grant wished the residents a happy and contented life, and expressed hope that the project would be replicated in other parts of the country.Grant later went scuba diving at the Hundred Islands National Park.

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