“Ace” as FEED Ambassador. CEO of Aspen wants “to plant forever…”

ACE.png26 September 2017, Makati.   It’s no wonder that Marcelina T. Itchon is more readily known to family, friends and colleagues as “Ace”.  Her name says it all; days and weekends – whether at work or at play – merge into a seamless flow of energy abundance, positive vibes and much appreciation of life, love and fulfillment. And the best part? She does it for others.

IMG_2777_resultIn her second planting with FEED in July, Ace’s contribution during the technical talk –  about climate change and why the urgent need to plant Philippine native trees – was so accurately captured that the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Forester Reynaldo Lorida said with a huge grin on his face: “I think you are more than capable of carrying out my presentation Mam Ace, you are most welcome to next round!”

Says FEED’s VP of Operations, Diane Penales: “When I first met Ace at our monthly Students and Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE) event in Siniloan last June*, I asked her: What made you do this Mam Ace – to spend a restful weekend, instead, in the forest with leaches planting during Habagat?” Ace replied: “I just want to plant forever, to be near and to protect Mother Earth for future generations.  So, where can we help next?” Boom. Next Ambassador.


Ace has been President, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Aspen Philippines Inc.,  the first South African pharmaceutical company in the country, from September 2011 to date.  She set up Aspen Philippines from the ground up in October 2011 in an 8sqm room with 1 employee, to its now 110 headcount and over  850sqm of office space. Aspen is ranked 30th in the IMS Top 100 Ethical Pharma Corporations and 20th in the OTC Pharma ranking, growing in size and value from US$1.34M to US$20M in 5 years, and from 12 brands to 27 as of September 2017.  Accomplished by organic growth, local and global acquisitions, and partnerships. Led by Ace.


Asia CEO Awards Ace.jpgIn her capacity, she also garnered Aspen-related awards inside and outside the organization:

  • Global Aspen Awards:
    • Exemplary Leadership by a Female Employee (2014)
    • Chairman’s Award for Community Involvement (2014)
  • Regional Awards:
    • Leader of the Year (2015 and 2016)
    • Chairman’s Award for Women Empowerment (2015)
    • Executive of the Year (2016)
  • Outside of Aspen:
    • Ace was bestowed the honors of being one of Global Filipina Women’s Network (FWN) 100 Most Influential Filipina Women (2015 and 2016)
    • Recently bestowed the honors as a modern day local hero for excellence in own field of expertise and for meaningful social services and community involvement. (Malolos, Bulacan, City Government 2017)


If you manage to catch Ace on any of her packed days, she works around the clock (those times she replied to a Viber text at 2am; or a Facebook post at 3 am).

Ace4Training with her regional sales crews; driving herself across two provinces to all three of the back-to-back meetings she charges to before her lunch date; tree-planting or organizing such events with local government; traveling from South Africa straight into a Baguio-based team meeting with Aspen; or catching up with her FWN co-awardees over karaoke….she aces it all, of course.

Ace in the forest.jpgOne thing that stood out in all our dealings with Ace was her determined desire and drive to plant.  Since her first planting with FEED last June, Ace continued another four* times with us in the Sierra Madre mountains and along the Northern Luzon EXpressway (NLEX), whilst she’s also planning additional projects this year in her home province Bulacan – focused on mangroves for fluvial and coastal flood protection, disaster resilience and enhancing alternative community livelihoods.

Ace accepted FEED’s Ambassadorship this September 2017, to represent and stand tall for the environment, not only for or with FEED, but also with different public, private, NGO or other organizations and individuals who aim to help rehabilitate some of the Philippines’ critical climate change challenges: watershed protection, fresh water supply, pollution prevention/control, food security, malnutrition, fluvial and coastal flooding affecting everyone’s health, care and lives.

“Ace excels at whatever she sets her heart, mind, body and spirit to – she is so aligned with Mother Nature’s call for help, and she responds to that call with action on the ground.  We acknowledge her passion with this FEED Ambassadorship, and all those who join her, to show Ace and others like her, that the reason for our (FEED’s) continued existence is in large part thanks to their/your stewardship – all the spirited individuals and organizations that transcend life’s other challenges in order to help restore our planet to a healthier state such that future generations may also thrive.”
– FEED President, Ofelia Bakker-Mananquil

*Related Articles

Contact FEED

FEED runs various SAVE; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); Mangrove Plantings for coastal protection; One Child, One Tree; Bio-Intensive Gardens (BIG) in Public Elementary Schools; and other environmental interventions for those interested in contributing to climate change adaptation efforts and the greening of critical areas such as watersheds, ridges, and reefs requiring rehabilitation.

Contact us at FEED for more details, to join our regular activities or to design your own:  email info@feed.org.ph or call/text +63 (0)917 552 4722.

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