About Mano Amiga

Mano Amiga Philippines provides education opportunities that serve as a catalyst for community transformation and inclusive growth. Our programs include affordable high-quality K-12 education, skills training, and culinary employment for disadvantaged women, values and spiritual formation for families, and advocacy campaigns for social change. Mano Amiga uplifts low-income communities through increased student learning outcomes, increased sustainable livelihood opportunities, and improved health and well-being for families.

Our Background

Our Leadership

Where We Started

By providing scholarships and sustainable livelihood, we empower low-income families to break out of poverty.

Our Founding Story

Originating from Mexico, the Mano Amiga school system began in 1963 and has grown to 40 schools all over the world over the last 50 years. The success of the Mano Amiga model is evident through the students who graduate. 97% of scholars around the world are able to finish high school and pursue higher levels of education. Their alumni go on to achieve careers in medicine, law, business, finance, engineering, and education.

In the Philippines

The first Mano Amiga school started in 2008 at a small temporary campus in Taguig City. Currently it caters to students from kindergarten to 5th grade, with the intention of growing a new level every year. Mano Amiga is currently raising funds to build its first permanent campus which will enable them to provide education and livelihood to at least 1,200 families. Mano Amiga also aims to replicate the school model in 15 new locations by 2025.

Our Innovation Approach

In Mano Amiga, students have produced various innovative initiatives and output through PROJECT-BASED LEARNING (PBL) where there is an immediate application of what they learned in the classroom through a multi-disciplinary approach. Through PBL, students are able to solve real-life problems using the skills they have acquired in class while also being able to present their solutions to their immediate community, families, school, or even other stakeholders such as government officials. Mano Amiga’s ACTIVE LEARNING APPROACH or the method wherein the teachers are in-charge of the classroom facilitation while the students are responsible for their own learning serves as a key role in ensuring students’ maximum potential.

Our Leadership

There are always great people behind an even greater cause.

Eleanor Pinugu

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Eleanor Pinugu serves as the co-founder and executive director of Mano Amiga Academy. She discovered the Mano Amiga school model during her trip to Mexico, and was inspired to bring the school to the Philippine shores. Her vision for the country is for all children to have access to quality education and integral formation, no matter what their socio-economic background is. More than just a school, Mano Amiga also serves as a development center providing the students and their families all other support they need to help them build a better life.

In 2010, Eleanor also founded a social enterprise that would generate a steady income for Mano Amiga, and at the same time give employment opportunities to the mothers of the students. The resulting venture is Bistro 3846, which serves Philippine school lunchrooms with healthy, age-appropriate meals; 100% of its profits are donated to the Mano Amiga scholarship fund.

She was heralded as a Global Shaper, and had been chosen to represent the Philippines in the 2012 World Economic Forum Annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. She has received several awards for social entrepreneurship including being one of the youngest recipients of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS).

Revelyn Siasoyco

School Principal

After practicing dentistry for eight years, Revelyn Siasoyco or Teacher Rev to all, decided to pursue her authentic dream of working with children and becoming a teacher. Her first role was that of a pioneer pre-school teacher and director for the St. Louis University in Cebu. She took on the role of becoming the first pre-school teacher of Mano Amiga in 2008 and eventually, its principal in 2010.

The heart for volunteerism and the interest for helping the underprivileged is what inspired Teacher Rev to join Mano Amiga. Since opening its doors, she has seen the children bloom in terms of their character, values and spirituality and has seen the increase in active participation and support in the community’s parents.

Board of Trustees

Virgilio L. Peña

President and Chairman of the Board

Former Chairman of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) in 2006. Former Undersecretary for ICT of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). Former President of IBM Philippines, a company he worked with for 30 years. Former Senior Vice President, San Miguel Corporation. Former President and Managing Director, San Miguel Brewing International, Hong Kong.
Currently President and Chairman of the Board of Mano Amiga Academy, trustee of the Everest Academy Board, President of Altius Philippines, and a trustee of non-profit foundations and professional organizations.

Carmelino P. Alvendia, Jr.

Vice President and Treasurer

Former Senior Vice President for Marketing and Sales of Philippine Appliance Corporation, manufacturer of General Electric and White- Westinghouse in the Philippines.
Currently Vice President and Treasurer of Mano Amiga Academy and trustee of Everest Academy Board. Chairman and member of other corporations involved in education, real estate, and food operations. Involved in foundations for the underprivileged in the areas of housing, education and care for children in need.

Amanda Barretto Lim



Rafael M. Cacho

Board Member

Current owner and Chairman of the Board of large and premiere construction firm, CACHO CONSTRUCTIONS, INC. He currently sits as a member of the Board of Trustees of Mano Amiga Academy, Inc.

Dr. Lydia B. Echauz

Board Member

Former president (2002-2012) of Far Eastern University from 2002 to 2012, Dean of the De La Salle Graduate School of Business, and the Executive Director of the Jaime V. Ongpin Institute of Business and Government from 1989 to 1994.
She has also been actively involved as a Corporate Affairs Consultant of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of various organizations such as the FEU-East Asia College, FEU-FERN College, FERN Realty Corporation, Nicanor Reyes Sr. Memorial Foundation, Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities, Association of Women Presidents/Chancellors of Private Colleges and Universities, and Expitar.
She currently sits on the Board of Trustees of Mano Amiga Academy.

Antonio Ma. J. Guerrero

Board Member

Former President of Eveready Philippines, Inc., a company he worked with for 37 years. Experience in manufacturing, marketing and general management, including overseas experience in Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore.
Currently a trustee in the Board of Directors of Mano Amiga Academy, Chairman of the Everest Academy Board since 2012, Director of Iligan Light and Power Inc., and Director Emeritus of Energizer Philippines. Leadership positions in various socio-civic organizations.

Martin Antonio G. Zamora

Board Member

Currently a Director and the Senior Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Planning of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) and serves as a Director of all its subsidiaries. He is also the President of Geogen Corporation and a Senior Vice President of Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. and Hinatuan Mining Corp., subsidiaries engaged in nickel mining.
Prior to joining NAC in 2007, Mr. Zamora was the Philippine Country Manager and a Director of UPC Renewables, a global developer, owner and operator of wind farms and solar facilities. Prior to that, he worked for 10 years in the corporate finance or investment banking departments of CLSA, Robert Fleming & Co. (UK), Jardine Fleming, and SGV & Co.
He currently sits on the Board of Trustees of Mano Amiga Academy.

Antonino T. Aquino

Board Member

Serves as the Chairman of the Board and President of Makati Property Ventures, Inc. and President of Aurora Properties, Inc., Ayala Hotels, Inc., Enjay Hotels, Inc., Roxas Land Corporation and Vesta Property Holdings, Inc. He is a Member of the board of trustees at Ayala Foundation, Inc. and Manila Water Foundation. He was named Co-Management Man of the Year 2009 by the Management Association of the Philippines for his leadership role in a very successful waterworks privatization and public-private sector partnership. He currently sits on the Board of Trustees of Mano Amiga Academy.