by Evelyn Zaragoza
Via Marquez Hoffman: loving, affectionate, has a good sense of humor and most of all with a golden heart. Via is very passionate in giving back her blessings to the community through her charity works.
I jokingly told her that I will title this interview, ‘Modelling to remodelling,’ since one of the charity works she does through ASK Foundation involve in helping young children who have been perceived by their families with deformities.
Via was an international model.
At the age of 14, she was discovered by Conchita Sunico and joined her international modelling group..”KARILAGAN”..They modeled in Manila at the prestigious Hilton Hotel and were also oftentimes sent overseas to represent the Philippines to internationat audiences that includesd royalties and head of states. She was awarded one of the top 12 models of the Phililppines.
In early 70’s she then joined Bighani International models under socialite Chito Madrigal.
From 1981 to ‘86, she wrote 7 stories which were produced by her own production company “VH films”. To name a few, she worked with superstars Vilma Santos “Tagos ng Dugo which won best picture, Maricel Soriano “Kaya Kong Abutin ang Langit”, Snooky Serna and Christopher de Leon “Kapag napagod ang Puso”, Charo Santos, Albert Martinez and an all star cast in “Hindi Mo Ako Kayang Tapakan”, Rita Gomez, William Martinez “Gamitin mo ako”. VH films not only produced movies which she wrote but also released films acquired from Hollywood. It also rented movie equipments to other independent production companies.
Stars Joey Marquez (her brother), Richard Gomez & Anjo Yllana were discovered by Vh Films c/o Douglas Quijano.
Via is the daughter of the well-known Philippine film director Artemio Marquez.
In the late 1986, she decided to fold VH Films to settle in Australia with husband German businessman Uli Hoffmann and 2 children, John & Kristina.
In Australia, she became a director partner of Salvatorre Ferragamo & Celine for 3 years.
Not only a good leader but a hard worker, too. She is determined and makes sure that what has been started, be finished in a proper and orderly way. That is making almost everyone - patients and doctors happy, at the end of the day.
The thing that is admirable with the group is that it is non-political and they personally manage ASK Foundation. They not only donate their time, expertise and other services but also donate funds to the mission.
“Whatever donations we receive, every cent goes to the mission and that we have no administrative cost, Via said.
The ASK ladies have produced concerts, dancing, bingo, polo by the sea and was able to invite stars from GMA 7 who paid their own way to help raise funds,” Via said.
“For 13 years now, I and a group of PinoyAussie girlfriends set up ASK Foundation based in the Phillippines and have been involve with “ORH” Operation Restore Hope International Medical Mission headed by Tristan de Chalain of New Zealand & Christopher Wachsmuth of Germany. ORH founder is Dr.Daryll Hodgkinson of Australia.
ASK directors are: Sokee Wescot, Wilma Warta, Cecile Modolo, Ver Nemeth, Mila Jalandoni, Ahl Diroy, Fe Cabactulan, Marita Waugh, Janet Rose, Evelyn Zaragoza, Sally Ibanez, Des Eito, Dr. Leigh Obed, and Ann Morgia.
Our mission is to make less fortunate Filipino children/adult with congenital cleft lip palate & burn constrictures who would otherwise be marginalized from correction of these deformities due to repressive cost of operation achieve the opportunity to develop comunnication skills in turn foster self confidence and personal growth,” Via said.
The Foundation has its primary objective of raising funds that will enable underprivilege filipino children/adult with congenital deformities achieve a better futture.
A ‘Dinner for a Cause” where the ASK group will work as master chefs. will be held at her house in Mosman. For inquiries, please ring Sokee Wescot 041 394 593.
ASK Foundation’s Goals are:
1) To provide assistance to ORH International organization in their objective of providing high quality surgical services for free to less fortunate children of the Phillippines.
2) Form meaningful liasons with the local government of host city in the undertaking of the project
3) Provide financial assistance to the mission information dissemination, securing special permits for the foreign surgeons, transportations, accomodations and food for the team whilst in the hospital.
4) ASK does the recruitment of patients with special assistance of the local DSWD & local govt.
5) Conduct screening of qualified beneficiaries in cooperation of the hospital paramedical staff
6) Collaborate with the community barangays/staff in providing support services to low income constituents to help them access this health program
7) Promote full transparency & efficiency in order to achieve the largest possible impact on the donors and beneficiaries.
It is never a dull moment with Via, she is a delight to everyone around her.
Here are comments from some of her friends:
“As a friend, Via is like no other. She delights in your joys and shares your sorrows.
I can always count on her. She is also fun to be with. A natural story teller, she amuses all with her musings and antics!
A perfectionist, her attention to detail is unbelievable. We have all been recipient of her countless lunches and dinners that have been so well thought of...
ASK Foundation is very close to her heart. Her energy and commitment are the driving force behind the continuous success of our missions to date”. CECILE MODOLO
“Via does everything in absolute perfection especially in her home and fashion!!!!
She is a living saint in many ways especially if we consider her unconditional love to our Filipino children!!!
This is my own personal feelings of Via Hoffman....a woman with a most beautiful golden heart that shines to everyone.” VER NEMETH
“Via is a true friend who can love you without judgement and conditions.
She’s the most caring, lovable, thoughtful, beautiful, whom I can share my feelings, thoughts, dreams and fears. She’s a Friend for a life time
As a Leader, Via is an Executive, Action-Oriented Leader. Very well organized, makes plans, sets measurable goals, coordinates work of different people, takes tireless actions, produces results and Manages Resources (She can be a PM or a President and our place will be in a better condition!),” JANNETTE ROSE
“She’s got everything a friend could ask for with unbelievable HUMOR I could just sit in front of her the whole day and listen and watch her, she is capable of making everyone laugh and enjoy her great humor I love her dearly. She’s a woman of Substance and a Lovable human being!,” AHL
“In a nutshell...Via is a women’s woman...she ticks all the right boxes,” ANNIE MORGIA
"Via is loving and generous," SALUD IBANEZ
“Ditto to everything our lovely sisters have said. Via is the person we all like to emulate and wish we could be. Basta ako, in my 2nd life, I want to come back as Via!!!” SOKEE WESCOTT
"My thoughts about Via as a friend is exactly how Ces and Jannette put it. May I add, Via in her unique way, can make us all feel "SPECIAL". Her generosity and thoughtfulness is truly one of a kind. The children of ASK Foundation are very lucky to have her come into their lives and making their dreams come true... An Angel in Hermes and Dior with a golden heart and humble spirit." WILMA WARTA