Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Share Thy Blessings

     Christmas has just ended and New year is fast approaching. I believe that most of you guys are happy celebrating these two events because of some perks included like: 13th month pay, Christmas bonus, Christmas parties, shopping, and tons of nice gifts to expect. But before we fully celebrate these two very special occasions, let me first leave you with some thoughts to ponder. These thoughts were actually taken from my tweets last December 21, 2010. Here it goes:

"GIVING should not lead us to EXPECTING... expecting for something in return."

"Becoming a blessing to others is greater than asking, counting and expecting for your own blessings."

"SHARING to other people all the blessings that we have received is the best way to thank GOD."

     May this season be a reminder for all of us that we can be a blessing to anyone especially to those in dire need. We don't really need to wait for us to have "a lot" before we can start helping other people; all we need is just to have "enough" - enough blessings to be shared with other people. Go on... be a blessing! c",)

Happy holidays guys!!! 

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wave of Memories

     He is sitting beside a tree, which stands tall along Roxas Blvd., while gazing at the beautiful play of atmosphere that the bay has to offer. The sky looks so warm caused by the expiring sun while the air feels so cold brought by the graceful but forceful waves. Yes, the atmosphere is a mixture of warm and cold. And it is such a poetic feeling for him to experience this kind of atmosphere as he reminisces his long lost moments with Madeline.

     Madeline is such a sweet girl with a very sweet sense of personality and with a little touch of weakness. She can be likened to a flawed diamond that can be appreciated by few people like him. To him, she’s a flawed diamond that continues to shine prettily amidst its mild discrepancy – a kind of brilliance that can only be owned by chosen people. Yes, he’s one of those chosen people capable of appreciating this kind of diamond. For him, she’s such a priceless treasure that only he may have noticed. Indeed, a very rare beauty, which perfectly complements him as a person. That is why longing for her presence is such a great remorse.

     Flashbacks came as the cool weather continues to ease his warm feeling with overflowing sadness, which was exhumed from his joyful moments. It is such an irony to explain how a once happy story can easily ignite his silent tears.

     He still remembers how Madeline grips his hand tightly as if she would never let go no matter what would happen; he still remembers the nicely-carved shape of her eyes every time she smiles; he still remembers how she laughs at every joke he shares with her; and, he still remembers how her sweet voice captivates every beat of his heart. Those memories are his life’s priceless treasures. They cost nothing but great amount of value, which were carefully stored not in his humble mind but in his untainted heart.

     His eyes turned teary as he continues to reminisce his unforgettable past. Those gentle waves are giving him the feeling of intense longing as he hears the rushing sound of it. To him, it is a sound of a silent melody that produces sadness – intense sadness that is. A melody that is composed of beautiful notes; each musical note deserves a heart-warming tear; each tear deserves a memory to remember; and each memory deserves an everlasting value.

     He does this everyday. Not even once that he failed to remember her. For him, temporary is just a mere fiction that has been produced by man’s fabricated reality. For him, it is always about permanence - permanence that can be found in his undying love for her... a love that can never be separated by time; and only death can permanently separate him from the love that he feels for Madeline. It is a kind of love that can be likened to the irreplaceable truth of reality – the coming and the leaving of the mighty sun.

     As the sun bids goodbye to the sky of Roxas Blvd., his longing for Madeline continues to grow stronger. The atmosphere showed its lovely interplay - a sudden turn of color - as it welcomes the reign of a beautiful night. The end of the sun’s term reminds him of how his relationship has been put to an end - an end that reminds him of a much anticipated comeback. Yes, another sunset has to end.

     He wipes his warm tears and walks away. Leaving his intense memory imprints and promises to return again for him to reminisce his touching moments to the sweet calling of the mighty wave that has greeted the mighty expiring sun.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Young Achievers: TIP's Heroes

     What happens when you fill the room with young achievers? It is a blast! A blast of hopes, inspirations, and a picture of a very bright future.

     Last November 26, 2010, I was invited by the school's admin to attend the TIP Achiever's Day, which was held at the Casal Seminar Room of the Technological Institute of the Philippines - Manila (TIP-Manila), for me to be recognized for my recent achievement. The entire event is being done yearly by the school in order to recognize achievers (students and alumni who were able to bring the  banner of the school at the highest possible spot).

     The whole afternoon was filled with inspirations and hopes as each one of us delivers our own speech. One of those memorable speeches that I can recall is the one being given by a student, who was a champion of different accountancy-related cup. Everyone was astonished as he said "We will give them (other schools) a very good fight". It is such a powerful phrase that brings hope to a much higher level as he tries to project his goal - to [again] put the flag of TIP a foot higher than the rest of the flags.

     The highlight of the event took place when President Elizabeth Q. Lahoz gave her closing remarks. It was a very meaty speech that was filled with challenges for us achievers as she said "You are TIP's heroes.... You should help other students become heroes like you". 

     If being one of those achievers guarantees us of being a hero, then I would have to agree with her. We really need to help others to become a hero just like us. True heroes are being measured by their act of kindness as they try to pursue excellence not for themselves alone, but for the excellence of everyone. One should need to help others become heroes just like him without putting in mind that that person may eventually share the same limelight with him. Being a hero is a matter of being selfless, instead of being selfish. Why? because heroes always do good deeds in order to provide an outcome that can be benefited by everyone and not by him.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Beast Culture

     Love, a very common topic and a universally-acceptable element. But what if love becomes too broad and too complex from what it supposed to be? It becomes an abomination. Let me share to you an international-based group in Deviantart called "Zeta-Union". Don't get me wrong. I'm not promoting their endeavor. All I want is to open the minds of my readers that certain group of artists are really advocating abominated love and their mission is to get this type of love become acceptable  to everyone.

---[Taken from Zeta-Union's Page]---

     Welcome to the group "Zeta - Union of Zoophiles" (or we will call it simply "Zeta"), the place dedicated to people who are able to love someone although it's not human. For everyone who can love deeply sincerely and fully for personal qualities, not only for gender or species. It's a group dedicated for people that others call zoophiles.

Main purposes of this group are tho share and promote artworks, to chat and to discuss..

     We would be happy if this group will help to break illogical prejudice and dogmas that makes too many people blind and hateful (ideally, not only in the case of misunderstanding zoosexuality/zoophilia).

     Hundred years ago, homosexuality was illegal, immoral and heretical and only discussions and understanding changed this situation. That's what we hope this group will help to do now, too - because zoophilia is now seen in the very similar way.

    Why this comparison to homosexuality? Because both, homosexuality and zoophilia, are about love between individuals that together can't give birth to a baby, so their relation doesn't have a reproductive purpose (partly because of this fact, both aspirations were supposed as some kind of "immoral sodomy") - nevertheless, both are fulfillments of an emotional connection in very similar way as "usual" relationships.


     The above group has one goal - to be accepted by people. What their doing is not just a simple social group. What their doing is already a movement that would alter the minds of each and everyone of us through the use of their influences.  For my readers, I'm asking you to be aware of this kind of topic that we shouldn't just set aside. The issue is so strong that one of us may be tempted to accept them and to become one of them. And as for the parents, I'm asking you to take good care of your children and I want you to  fully educate them with the right logical thinking and the right values for them to become a better person with well-regulated attitude. By doing so, we may be able to prevent and defeat this abominated love - zoophilia - that these artists are promoting. Let's not multiply zoophiles. Love... the right way, the human way, the Divine way!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Featuring: Tribal Art

     What kind or type of art would reflect my personality? The answer is simple. Tribal art. Yes, tribal art would be the closest type of art that reflects my entire character. Its (tribal art) component is very simple yet looks sophisticated and unbelievable. Just like me, I'm a simple person but loaded with creatively weird stuff. Yes, you read it right! Well, enough with the introduction before it leads us to a different topic. The introduction didn't give justice to what I'm suppose to share. (laughs).

     My agendum for this post is to announce to my readers that I've finally made it to the point of converting my tribal arts into its digital form. As a little background, I usually draw tribal art on scratch papers then throw it away after I'm done. If you're a fan of tribal art, you would definitely say without any hesitation that I'm totally insane! You may be correct after all! (laughs) The conversion of my tribal works (from traditional paper to its digital form) began when a friend of mine discovered my talent in making and breaking this kind of intellectual treasures. And that's it, I've started making and sharing them to people across the globe through facebook, twitter, and deviantart. Today would be your chance to take a look at some of my works as I'm about to reveal it here in this post. Ready? Here you go!

     Do you think that some of these tribal art designs are better when printed in mugs, magnets, and other souvenir items? Then, you should visit this link: [BUY] for purchase! 

     Want a design intended just for you? You may let me know by leaving a message [HERE].  Thank you very much and God bless you! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blog Images

     I'm currently doing my very own personal website, which will be a venue of things that I truly love. In short, it's all about my personal character as an artist, cause-advocate blogger, photo manipulator, experimental photographer, and etc. Yes, I do have a lot of things to incorporate in that website before it will finally be launched. And as of the moment, I have just finished and included the introductory image of each blog.  

Here they are: 

Whisper Of My Heart (this blog)
(my 1st blog)

(my second blog)

(my 3rd blog)

     As you can see, all three images have distinct character that would easily tell the nature of the blog that they're representing. In this way, visitors of my website can easilly be informed on the type of blog that these three has to offer. Well, that's all for now. Sorry if I still can't give you the URL of my website because it's still half-complete and I'm not yet satisfied with its content. c",)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Petal of Sorrow

     I am in deep sorrow as I stare at the last petal that fell on the ground. That last petal reminds me of her and the many memories that we have shared with each other. I must say that I, still, can’t recover from losing her. My mind is being occupied by questions, which lead to my confusion. I am so confused right now. Yes, I am very confused.

     When shall I begin rebuilding a life that says nothing about you? Where shall I start this quest of healing a heart that still longs for you? How shall I end the feeling of deprivation for my self every time I’m missing you? Where shall I start? And where shall I end?

     These are questions that I need to answer for my own and for my own alone. It is such a melancholy for me to respond to questions that linger within my mind while untangling strange emotions that have remained within my heart. My entire being has been disturbed by her nothingness. Oh yes, too much of her nothingness.

     I need to say goodbye, but still hoping to say hello. I want to forget her death and try to remember her fruitful life as it went. I want to have clarity and yet, all I got is confusion; confusion for my entirety.

     What life shall I look forward to when part of this life has been taken away from me? What future shall I see when my entire vision has been buried six feet under me? What love shall I take when my heart has been taken away from me? What tomorrow shall I seek when my past is still haunting me?

     There are so many realizations that I need to ponder. But right now, the only realization that I’m considering are these two simple thoughts: “It’s easy to say hello, yet so hard to say goodbye”; and, “Happiness can come anytime, but sorrow comes as a surprise”. Yes, these two alone are the only truth that I can think of. These two reflects the entire identity of the last petal, which has been detached from its own body. It is the only petal that reminds me of how my love for you went through. Yes, my love for you gave me joy for myself, but provided sorrow as your presence slowly fades. It’s such a sad feeling for me to know that I was able to love you for a lifetime but, in the end, it turns out that you only came to spend your life with me for such a very short period of time; a very short period of time that, for me, it is already for a lifetime.

An All Soul's Day Special

Friday, October 29, 2010

White But Evil

     Good versus bad, gods versus evils, protagonists versus antagonists. We always see these kinds of conflicts being included in television shows, books, theatrical plays, and even in different forms of artworks. And most of the time, good people or the "soldiers of heaven" are being portrayed as the white ones or people being associated with white-colored shirts or costumes while villains or the "slaves of darkness" are being portrayed as the black ones or characters being associated with black-colored shirts or costumes. Why? Because "white" symbolizes purity, cleanliness, and light (heaven) while "black" symbolizes darkness (hell). Through quick observation, one would say that "white" is universally accepted as the color that represents good while "black" represents evil. It may be true at one point, but when we start analyzing this concept in today's reality, this concept might not be applicable for the entire time and could sometimes be misleading. What do I mean by that? Well, let's take a closer look at one of the many fabricated realities of man - white lies.

     What is a white lie? According to Wikipedia, white lies are minor lies which could be considered to be harmless, or even beneficial, in the long term. White lies are also considered to be used for greater good. In addition to that, Encarta defines white lies as lies not intended to harm, but told in order to avoid distress or embarrassment. As I have observed from the two given definitions, I can easily tell that people are being encouraged to commit themselves to this kind of lie because of its positive features - harmless, beneficial, anti-suffering, embarrassment saver, and etc. But, are these features have enough reason for us to make our own white lies? Think again.

     All of the given definitions that I have read from books and opinions I've heard from the elders are very egoistic in nature. Why? Because the definition only assures me of one thing - making my own sets of white lies is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to save only my ego and not my soul. We must always put in mind that no matter how light-weighted or harmless (as what the world tells us) this lie may be, it is still a lie - a lie that comes from evil and not from God. It is not true that a sin can be harmless once it has been associated to deliver positive results because, at the first place, it is still a sin. And what good does a sin has to give? Well, it has none. The bible always tells us that sins will lead us to everlasting death. In other words, white lies may offer us a very good promo, which is "enjoy now, suffer later". 

     Another thing that we should put in mind is the saying, "the end doesn't justify the mean." Yes, this is definitely true because a perfect output will always be imperfect as long as the input is made up of sinful elements. Or should I say... Glorious buildings (output) will always be weak as long as its foundation is made up of substandard materials (input) and its entire structure has been built in a very substandard method (process). In other words, we may be triumphant in some point in our life through the help of white lies but, at the end of the day, we are still considered plain liars and great sinners. Sinners that are capable of converting known facts into preferred fictions in order for our mind-sets to be altered and to have that sudden switch of thinking that what we're doing is not a sin because it delivers positive results.
     Before I end this post, allow me to share a quote that I personally made and tweeted last June 21, 2010. Here it goes:
"White lies were made by people, who want to make themselves
believe that what they're doing is acceptable
to the eyes of God."
 - Matthew S. Chua

     White lies are and will always be lies and the word "white" can't separate the fact that it is still part of the family of lies. And that's the fact! It is a fact that can be compared to the biological truth that a duck can only produce ducklings and not cygnets, which will later on become beautiful swans. This would only mean that by creating white lies, we are only glorifying ourselves and not God; and we're only pleasing our hungry ego and not our spirit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

YLKD Topic: Social Enterprise

     Social Enterprise… What is Social Enterprise? At first, I find social enterprise as something that is somewhat new to my ears and something that is being sensationalized by different charitable institutions, individuals, and social-related organizations through the use of intensive marketing strategies and media visibility. But my understanding about social enterprise began to go deeper right after we had our first kapihan forum last October 8, 2010 at the World Bank Knowledge and Development Center.

     While listening to Atty. Paciano D. Casanova’s lecture about the nature and beauty of this trending word-of-mouth, my mind begins to open and welcomes the coming of a new and unique door that leads my consciousness towards a newer and better kind of direction. According to him, Social Enterprise is simply a social mission plus market-based innovation equal to sustainable social change wherein the two factors to consider are social ills and profits. Upon hearing that simple thought, I was able to realize that Social Enterprise is like an abstract painting that can sometimes be defined as simple, ordinary and unappreciated art and yet, capable of delivering a very complex meaning.

     And as I began to contemplate, I came to see Social enterprise as a simple phrase that contains a compilation of extraordinary words such as innovation, involvement, response, responsibility, creativity, impact, difference, and a lot more. It is like a small bag that contains so many important items, wherein each item is considered a priority and a “should-have-to-bring” because of its usefulness and purpose.

     It’s so nice to know how social enterprise began to be appealing not just to my ears, but also to my deeper sense of thinking because of its cool concept, which I likened as a marriage of two different words coming from two different worlds. As for the record, the word “social” means community while “enterprise” means business. “Social” is somewhat very common in the world of community-based organizations and institutions while “enterprise” comes from the business world. Before, these two words have no relation and connection with each other in which one has nothing to do with the other. But when these two words were placed side by side, they became so powerful and life-changing to people that has less in life. It is such a gamble and (at the same time) a very creative kind of thinking to combine these two words in order to operate in a whole new direction without the chance of limiting the nature and capability of each of the two.

     I believe that those chosen few, who already have established their social enterprise, are somehow blessed people because they were able to have the right ingredients in them. For me, those people have both the heart of a passionate and caring leader, who seeks for a positive change in a community; and an intellect of a good businessman, who spends most of his time thinking innovative and doable solutions for his business to prosper. I admire those types of people because they are enjoying these two components in a form of helping people that are in need. Acquiring these two precious elements isn’t easy and when the time comes that I have already obtained these two perfect ingredients, the next step that I could think of is deciding whether I’m going to use these ingredients for my own prosperity or for the prosperity and betterment of everyone. And for my own decision, I would choose to use it for the prosperity of everyone because I choose to be a nation-builder and I choose to be a social entrepreneur! How about you? What would you choose?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Inhumane Humanity

     Water... How important water is? We all know that it covers most of the earth's surface and is very abundant in nature but still, the question remains. Why should we be concerned about water?

     I remember one time when my entire consciousness was reversed onto a new direction. It was early in the morning when I'm listening to a local news channel over the radio while riding on a private vehicle. At first, I find the topic so typical and conventional (as in normal broadcasting) until I heard one of the news commentator said, "Some people are saying that the fight over clean drinking water [and not crude oil] will start the third world war." What I heard, since then, made me realize and contemplate on the possibility that it might really happen if we continue being reckless with our irresponsible actions and if we try to do nothing to correct the current situation that is already at its abnormal state. 

     As of today, water is beginning to be one of the major beneficiaries of man's selfishness, close-mindedness, and irresponsibility. And as I try to remember the previous news and events that I've attended, I can say that the basic design and purpose of water has been altered by humanity. Normally, the basic purpose of water is to support the needs of human and the entire living things here on earth. But as I can see  right now, water is beginning to be the source of different kinds of diseases, the current habitat of wastes, the carrier of mishandled crude oils, and etc. All of these given scenarios should be alarming and very shameful on our part considering the fact that we humans are the cause of these problems. 

     Through our self-centered and inhumane actions, we were able to create a mess that we alone are the prime beneficiary of its effect. It's a major slap on our face if we happen to realize that we always consider ourselves human and the most superior amongst other beings because of the fact that we were given  the will and a very high level of intelligence by our almighty God and yet, we act as if we are the most inferior creatures ever existed here on this planet due to our continuous irresponsibility and denial over different issues.   

     After all, maybe the third world war is coming. Or maybe, it is beginning to happen because what we are experiencing today is that we are already at war. A war against our own safety,  war against our own wrongfulness, war against our deregulated consciousness, war against our  self, and war against our survival! 

     We humans are intelligent and it's up to us if we choose to use that intelligence to correct the incorrect before things get worst. Today's issue is a challenge of how we choose to be different from other beings. It is a challenge of proving ourselves that we have  rightful will and the high level of intelligence. It's up to us to determine if we really are worthy of calling ourselves "humans".

This post is for Blog Action Day 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Water

     The much awaited Blog Action Day is finally coming! Exactly three (3) nights left before October 15, where two thousand plus (2,000+) bloggers from 113 countries are expected to blog about one alarming topic - water. October 15, 2010 will surely be remembered throughout centuries to come as Blog Action Day 2010 will  again set a record of unity solicited from different influential bloggers around the world. Before the said date, let me first give you a little background about the event.

     Blog Action Day is a call for action that was initiated last 2008. It was designed to deliver a certain cause or advocacy to the world by asking bloggers from different parts of the globe to be united as one by means of blogging about a specific topic on a given date. Since then, Blog Action Day became a phenomenon and a date-to-remember for bloggers here in the blogosphere. Way back in 2008, Blog Action Day presented an alarming topic for everyone to contemplate - Poverty. It was then followed by Climate Change in 2009 in response to its ever growing effects worldwide. Today, Blog Action Day 2010 has provided another alarming topic for us bloggers to discuss - water.  

     Let me not elaborate on why or how does this topic was chosen. Instead, allow yourselves to be moved by this video presentation (below) for you to understand the importance of this topic.

     On October 15, 2010, expect us (bloggers) to post our thoughts about this year's topic and to, once again, deliver a worldwide phenomenon that can awaken humanity's sleeping consciousness about the importance of one of man's basic needs - water.

Bloggers, be sure to use that very influential skill (blogging) in making a stand to contribute to the change that this world needs! Please click HERE to register.

For my readers, be sure to sign your petition to support the United Nation's effort in bringing clean and safe water for everyone! Kindly sign up your petition through the widget that can be found below.

Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

Monday, October 11, 2010

10.10.10 (October 10, 2010)

     Yesterday's date (October 10, 2010) was so significant to some people and event organizers because of its shortcut, which is known as 10/10/10. For our family, 10/10/10 is significant because it signals the celebration of my father's birthday. And for event organizers, 10/10/10 can give a meaningful and memorable day that can't be easily forgotten especially if the organizers are vying for their event to have the title of "event-of-the-year". 

     True to this fact, here in the Philippines alone, numerous events took place during the specific date - from much-awaited concerts to cause-related events. One of those cause-related events that I can name is the "10.10.10 A Run for the Pasig River" in which I was given the opportunity to join and be part of this eco foot-race event. This event was organized and purely dedicated to rehabilitating the Pasig river by means of a "fun run" (as they call it) and offers 3-kilometer, 5-kilometer, and 10-kilometer run.

     Me and my friends chose the 10-kilometer run and I'm happy to announce that we were able to complete it and I was able to finish the entire race for 1 hour and 33 minutes. It may not be considered fast for some, but for me, it's already fast enough considering the fact that I'm not fond of running  and I haven't able to run that kind of distance for my entire life.  After finishing the run, I felt fulfilled because I was able to finish  a 10-kilometer run. The downside for such participation is that my muscles are still aching and I find it hard to easily move here in the construction site. Some may mock us (participants) for choosing such a stupid idea of embracing hardships through running several kilometers without any assurance of getting the allotted prize. It may be so harsh for us to hear such thinking and the only phrase that we could tell them is "it's worth it". Yes, we did embrace the idea of letting ourselves undergo hardships in the form of physical pain, but it gave us this realization that once in our entire lifetime, we were able to think  not just for our own sake but for the sake of everybody.

     We may have endured much pain during the entire race, but we were able to hit what we're aiming for without thinking of giving up because we were able to set our mindsets that what we're doing  is for a cause - a much greater cause. And for me, this kind of event is not just a RUN  FOR A CAUSE, but also A PAIN FOR A CAUSE. Each painful step is worth taking, every heart-pumping breath is worth feeling, and every bit of seconds that has originally been allotted for resting is worth dedicating. 

     Let me end this post by sharing you what I've tweeted last July  24, 2010, which I believe has the nearest relation and idea with this particular post.

"Making sacrifices for others' sake won't be hard as long as we know the exact reason on why we're doing it."
- Matthew S. Chua

God bless us all!

 Photo courtesy of Mr. Jose Ramizares

Friday, September 24, 2010

Teach Me How To Cry Again

     Please teach me how to cry again. I need to feel the relief of my soul by releasing the intense feeling that has been trapped within my physical attributions.

     I want to cry again for me to know that I still have a humane emotion that has been programmed in every human’s heart.

     Let me cry again. I want to feel the freedom not of my physical self but of my spiritual self. I want my soul to be emancipated again as I pour down the heavy atmosphere that resides deep within me.

     I need to cry again. Let me have this chance of knowing that my heart hasn’t been hardened by time. I need to know that I am still capable of releasing the tension that lurks within my innermost self.

     I have to cry again. I have to... I really have to. Because as of now, I see myself as a person that is physically numb but emotionally hurt. A person, who has been crushing himself internally and yet, capable of standing still.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

YLKD Articles: A Description of Young Change-makers

     Sunday (September 19) became to be one of those days that I should not forget for my entire life. Why? Well, it's not because of being declared as a holiday or something. The only valuable reason is that two articles (one includes my opinions and insights while the other includes our photo) that were written in  two different newspaper brands were issued on that particular day. Names of those newspapers are Manila Bulletin and The Manila Times and both of them are being circulated in a national scale.

     The article is about the launching of Youth Leaders for Knowledge and Development (YLKD), which I'm a part of. To give you a very very short background, YLKD is a joint project of Ateneo School of Government and Worldbank's knowledge for Development Center. Now, I don't want to be a spoiler here. So, without any hesitation, let me share with you the two articles that I'm talking about.


World Bank and Ateneo Launch Youth Leaders for Knowledge and Development
by Harvey Keh on Monday, September 20, 2010 at 10:46am
Former Gov. Grace Padaca with some of the youth leaders.
World Bank and Ateneo Launch Youth Leaders for Knowledge and Development
by: Harvey S. Keh
The Manila Bulletin

MANILA, Philippines — One of the biggest challenges for our country in the coming years will be its ability to produce the next generation
of leaders who will be able to help propel our nation out of poverty and into lasting development.

Unlike other Asian tiger economies like China and Japan, the Philippines is very blessed to have a very young population wherein majority are aged under 40 years old. In the last elections we have already seen glimpses of the Filipino youth’s impact in our society, and if harnessed and trained properly, these young Filipinos will eventually decide the future of our country.

With these in mind, the Ateneo School of Government (ASOG) and the World Bank’s Knowledge for Development Center recently selected more than 50 Filipino young leaders who will take part in the inaugural Youth Leaders for Knowledge and Development program.

In this program, these young leaders, who are either college students or young professionals, will be given the unique chance to interact with accomplished leaders in our country.

During these so called “kapihan” sessions, the young leaders will get the chance to ask questions, raise issues and share insights with the current decision makers of our country.

Among those that are being lined up for them to interact with are Ramon Magsaysay Awardees such as DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and Benjamin Abadiano of Assisi Foundation, as well as successful social entrepreneurs such as Fr. Xavier Alpasa, S.J., founder of Rags2Riches. Through these interactions, the organizers of the program hope that these young Filipino leaders will learn how it is to become effective, ethical and empowering leaders for our country.

Developing good leaders

During the launching of the program held last September 9, 2010 at the University of the Philippines’ Bahay ng Alumni, the World Bank’s Matthew Stephens congratulated the participants for being chosen among the hundreds who applied to be part of the program. Stephens cited the importance of developing good leaders in our country as a means towards making our current government institutions more responsive to the needs of the ordinary Filipinos.

He cited the experience of Naga City, wherein then Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo was able to curb corruption and transform Naga into the premiere city of the Bicol region. Stephens said that if many of our local government leaders were like Robredo, then our country would be able to easily become one of the leading countries in Asia.

To give the keynote address to the participants, the organizers invited another Ramon Magsaysay Awardee, former Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca. Padaca exhorted the participants to go out of their way to help promote good governance in our country. She also shared her experience of going against all odds including that of defeating a 40 year old political dynasty just to be able to be of service to her fellow Isabelinos.

For those who may not know, Padaca was a victim of polio at an early age. She continues to need crutches just to be able to walk. During her six years as governor of the second largest province in the country in terms of land area, she shared that she was able to help increase the income of farmers in the province as well as help lead the\ fight to protect the Sierra Madre against illegal loggers.
Padaca also explained to the participants that there is an urgent need for them to continue to support and help good leaders in our country especially those who are currently in government. She shared that without the necessary support, these leaders may eventually be swallowed by the corrupt system and we will only be left with government leaders whose only interest is to enlarge their personal bank accounts.

To cap the event, the ASOG’s Dr. Antonio La Viña shared with the participants the importance of developing new ideas and innovative solutions to solving our current social problems. He cited the growing trend towards the use of technology as well as social networking sites in helping promote greater transparency and accountability in our government. Moreover, he emphasized the ASOG’s continued thrust towards developing a new generation of Filipino leaders who will bring about the necessary reforms that are needed in our country.

The first kapihan sessions for the participants will begin this coming October and will be held at the World Bank’s Knowledge for Development Center in Pasig City.

Harvey S. Keh is director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo School of Government. Comments are welcome at harveykeh@gmail.com [1].


The country’s bright young minds come together for the Philippines

We call them the hope of our country, the future of our nation. But are the Filipino youth today ready to tackle the diverse and overwhelming issues of our country? That seems to be the case, if one hundred outstanding youth leaders are to be our standard. In a simple ceremony, 48 young Filipino champions gathered together as the World Bank and the Ateneo de Manila University School of Government (ASoG) launched their Youth Leaders for Knowledge and Development (YLKD) program on September 9 at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City as part of their ongoing partnership for Philippine development.

Approximately 100 students and young professionals were chosen to take part in this yearlong program that will see them meeting and interacting with our country’s leaders in different fields, learning from each other, and bridging talents for development.

“We wanted young leaders to develop their skills early on to benefit our country today and in the near future,” Harvey Keh, director of the Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship program of ASoG, says.
“We also realized the value of networking to be able to accomplish more with more assistance.”

“We made sure to get participants from different backgrounds so they can really learn from each other,” Cristyl Senajon, program assistant for ASoG, says.

Queen Caranto, an editor and young professional, was happy to discover that the group was composed of diverse individuals. “We have all sorts of professions and degrees but what is common is that we are all driven to a selfless goal for our country. It’s inspiring to hear their own ideas and know about their busy and dedicated lives.”

The World Bank and ASoG first broached the idea for a youth leaders program after their successful knowledge-sharing event “Panibagong Paraan” was launched late last year. Government officials and civil society leaders shared ideas and areas for application to help make good governance work for the poor.

This year, the two institutions decided to continue their partnership, extending their work to include the youth. Both the World Bank and ASoG realized that there remains a need to mainstream young people in discussions on knowledge on development, the youth being major stakeholders in the country’s future.

“The World Bank recognizes the capacity of young people to become great leaders some day,” Vincent Abrigo of the World Bank says. “This program is envisioned to be one of the many platforms where these future leaders can have a chance to talk with each other on matters of development that also confronts us as a nation. We believe that their opinion matters and what they think can be better solutions to improving the lives of their fellow Filipinos.”

“The youth have the idealism, the energy, and the drive to help create positive change in our country,” Keh further states.

Thus, the YLKD program was born. Students and young professionals answered the call of the World Bank and ASoG for leaders to participate in the program. Applications came in from as far as the University of Cordilleras in the Cordillera Administrative Region to Ateneo de Davao University in Mindanao.

“I applied for the YLKD program because it is a rare opportunity where young people who wish to make a good impact to society get to meet like-minded fellows as well as more established leaders,” Caranto says.
“It is the arena where hopeful changemakers can all pitch in and help one another achieve their aspirations for our country. Being a part of it is very promising.”

Darren Gonzales, a student from Araullo University in Nueva Ecija, believes that there is still hope for the Philippines in the youth. “I want to share what I have to my fellow changemakers.”

“Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People compels us to ‘sharpen the saw’ as a seventh habit,” Aksyon Kabataan National President Leon Flores thinks. “YLKD aids me in living out this habit. Joining [the program] is my way of taking advantage of an opportunity to learn fresh ideas, appreciate diverse perspectives and meet new partners for change.”

These young people will be part of the YLKD program for one year. Each month, they will get exclusive invitations to coffee sessions with Filipino experts on governance, business, environment, civil society and other fields. Provincial participants will also get to interact with the speakers via videoconference.

First event
On September 9, half of the participants, mostly Metro Manila-based students and young professionals, met each other for the first time in an intimate cocktails ceremony to formally open the program.

World Bank Governance Specialist Matthew Stephens gave the opening remarks for the event, presenting some challenges and opportunities that await young leaders. According to him, development remains a big challenge for the country because of corruption and this is where good leadership is crucial. “At the heart of good governance is good leadership. The role that the youth play in society now can be absolutely fundamental to leadership in the future,” Stephens had said.

“It’s like attending Ramon Magsaysay Awardees’ lectures for one year,” Matthew Chua, an architecture graduate, commented.

Former Gov. Grace Padaca of Isabela, a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Government Service, was the guest speaker for the event, encouraging the participants to harness their power for the good of the country.

“[I call] on you to continue your efforts to study and understand what is happening in our country . . . I ask you, therefore, to care more, to get more involved especially in the task of enlightening our fellow Filipinos in your own spheres of influence and even beyond,” Padaca appealed to the youth in her speech. Padaca was the first speaker to address the participants, albeityour efforts to study and understand what is happening in our country . . . I ask you, therefore, to care more, to get more involved especially in the task of enlightening our fellow Filipinos in your own spheres of influence and even beyond,” Padaca appealed to the youth in her speech. Padaca was the first speaker to address the participants, albeit in a more formal manner.

“We will invite more Filipino leaders to share their expertise and offer advice to our participants,” Senajon says. “Discussions will be more intimate where participants can really interact with the speakers.”
Flores shares his expectations. “[I look forward to] Competent and credible resource speakers, one glorious epiphany after another.”

The dialogues will also be an opportunity for older leaders to learn from the idealism and innovation of the youth. The sessions will be less of a forum or seminar type than a conversation among present and future leaders. Caranto adds, “I expect to meet a lot of wiser, more influential, and inspiring leaders to whom we can share our own ideas of good governance. I hope this will give us youth leaders a chance to convey useful ideas to veteran leaders who can help turn them into reality.”

Excitement and expectations
Elise Veloso, a member of the De La Salle University Student Council applied for the program after learning about it through her school. “I expected it to be very serious and academic in nature, but after the first meeting, my expectations has shifted,” she says. “I now expect that YLKD could be a good venue for exchanging ideas with a very diversified group and opening opportunities for us in a relaxed and conducive environment.”

“I expect realistic and practical approaches on how we can deal with the pressing problems and issues of the Philippines,” Gonzales shares. “I wish the program will teach us to take small steps yet can create significant changes and impact our own respective communities.”

The program aims to build further awareness among the youth about national and local issues. “How can they help share knowledge and ideas on development if they don’t know what the problems are?” Keh says.

Indeed, many of YLKD’s participants believe that the program will teach them the various issues of our country’s society, economy and more, as well as the ways that the youth can take part in the solution.

“I’m looking forward to be inspired more, to be more aware of the different problems of our society, to learn effective ways on how to deal with those problems, and to create a network with my fellow young leaders in order for us to do a project that is much wider in terms of scale and the difference that it can contribute to the society,” Chua says.

Today’s youth
Asked what they thought are the issues that Filipino youth are concerned with the most, the participants gave varied responses, a reflection of their diversity and their personal advocacies.

Flores believes that family still plays a huge role in the lives of Filipino youth. “We have to bridge the understanding or gap that the public sphere within which they evolve in impacts them and their families directly,” he says.

For Veloso, governance is only one among several issues that the youth today care for. “I can see that youth leaders today are learning to become more critical thinkers,” she believes.

Among the top issues given by the participants were education and employment, underscoring the root problem of poverty in the country. Because of the widespread poverty incidence in the country, education and employment remains two of the biggest national issues that the government needs to address. And the Filipino youth are starting to feel the effects, leading to either apathy or a passion to change things.

“Basically the Filipino youth care most about themselves and the achievements [in] education, career and ambition that they can get for themselves,” Chua states. “We cannot blame them for having this kind of mentality because it’s just a product of what they’ve learned from the environment that surrounds them and the traditional mindset being ‘programmed’ in them.”

He thinks that a lack of opportunities contributes to this kind of mindset of many young people. “It’s a sad thing because not all youth are given the chance to be exposed to the deeper kind of awareness for them to be actively involved in nation-building activities.” Given the right exposure and opportunity, the youth can be a force to reckon with when it comes to rebuilding our nation’s foundation.

Flores adds, “They said we are a generation wallowing in apathy and indifference. Through the power of text, we removed a corrupt president in Edsa 2. By being connected online, we connected with our unfortunate brothers and sisters displaced by [typhoons] Ondoy and Pepeng through [volunteer] relief operations. Heck, we came in droves!” he enumerates. “We have it innate in us to make a difference and be heroes in our own little ways and when the circumstance so warrants. We just have to demonstrate EDSA 2 bravery and Ondoy heroism on a day-to-day basis.”

With young leaders like the YLKD’s youth participants, we are sure to have something to look forward to in the near future. They may be young and inexperienced in the ways of the world, but the experience that they do have already allows them the right to engage older and wiser leaders and work with them to build a better nation.

“You can see the passion clearly burning in them,” Abrigo says. “Hearing them talk and speak out their opinion and enthusiasm on things especially on development issues makes me think and realize that there really is hope for our country and that the future is now.”


     Let me end this post by thanking Mr.  Harvey Keh Ms. Karla Angelica G. Pastores for including our photo and some of my insights in their respective articles and by leaving you this wonderful quote excerpted from the article of Ms. Pastores, which I think should be the right description of young leaders all over the world:

"With young leaders like the YLKD’s youth participants, we are sure to have something to look forward to in the near future. They may be young and inexperienced in the ways of the world, but the experience that they do have already allows them the right to engage older and wiser leaders and work with them to build a better nation."
- Ms. Karla Angelica G. Pastores   

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taking My Own Stand: The Cause-Advocate Blogger's Way

     I've been a blogger for almost six (6) years now and with that given time span, I was able to blog and share my views on different topics and issues, which I think should be tackled and should be given much attention to. To date, I'm now managing 3 blogs and these are Whisper of My heart (this blog), Druoun X Images  and Limelight and Beyond.

     As you may have noticed, my love for blogging grew in a way that I've created 3 blogs all having different genres. Well, blame "passion" for giving me such an idea. Blogging has able to capture my passion, which made me become a problogger or professional blogger. Being a problogger means that I have able to master blogging and have managed to step into the next level of blogging - making money through my blog. Yes, I am earning money just by blogging and it gives me a feeling of achievement,but this is not the primary reason why I blog and why I've created 3 blogs.

     My primary reasons are so simple: To spread different kinds of awareness and to provide positive influences. As a blogger, I want to take a stand in influencing other people around the globe in my simplest form - blogging. I'm very particular in influencing people because as a blogger, I have this rare ability of changing other people's thoughts and the way they see life as a whole. Through influencing, one would be able to alter an atmosphere depending on the kind of atmosphere one would want to produce - from worst to best. As for me, I'm taking my own stand in influencing (positive influence) other people in order to create an atmosphere that is more friendly and more acceptable to everyone.

     Last August 23, I've received an email message coming from the Bloggers Unite. The content of the message is about thanking me for choosing to become one of those few bloggers, who make a stand in doing good and making a difference simply by blogging. Here are some of the message's content:

"You, truly are a select group of bloggers. For out of the millions of bloggers, you have chosen to stand up, step out and make a positive difference to the world and our fellow human beings."

"While so many, say, "what difference does a word make?" You, like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Churchill, Kennedy & others recognize the power of a thought, a word and an action. It's where change always starts. And you know it."

     So if you happen to be a blogger just like me, try not to aim for having a money-generating blog. Instead, try to aim for having an influential blog! Because money may give you the wealth that you want, but influence can transform you into a kind of person that you should be.

I did take my own stand... I'm a blogger by heart.... 
I am....A cause-advocate blogger!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

From Passion To Business

     Is anyone of my readers happen to be a graphic artist, a marketing strategist or simply an art practitioner/ hobbyist? If there is, then I guess you'll be able to relate on this post.

     As you all know and as what I often share here in my blog, I'm an architecture graduate and I really do have a passion for contemporary arts. I have my own account in deviantart that is composed of different photo manipulations, web designs, web banners and posters, which I have personally made for some worldwide events, international contests or simply for other people. I really do have this great passion for art and that's the reason why I'm very thankful to know the basicsand advance keys of adobe photoshop, corel draw, 3d max, sketchup, and autocad. For some, it may sound funny how an architecture graduate is currently doing more photo-manipulated outputs than doing building plans and designs. But, if one would think about it in a deeper sense, it's not really that funny because I get to enjoy what I'm doing. Who knows, maybe later on, I'll be able to pursue this passion into a money-producing business.

    Well, to some up the story, as an art practitioner, who decides to turn his passion into a self-supporting business, needs to have good marketing strategy. And one of those marketing strategies, which I think is capable of delivering huge market, is by printing it on  a wide banner. Yes, for now, that's the element that I really think would sell because people (both bystanders and art enthusiasts) may see the product in an actual scale and condition as compared to its electronic version. As I think of this kind of marketing strategy, the next question that I need to solve is the banner's quality.

     There are a lot of establishments that offer wide-banner printing this days and one could be confused on where to let their artworks be printed. Here in Manila alone, a huge number of establishments are competing with each other and are located just besides their competitors. It's really hard to know the difference especially if one is a neophyte in terms of this kind of field. But if one is really eager to have a good quality output, one would really be doing research as exactly what I did.

     As I surf the net, I happen to discover www.vinylbanners.com. It is a website that is dedicated to printing large vinyl banners that are durable and can stand up to weather and other outdoor conditions. For me, what the site offers is a good opportunity and investment for a business that I would need to pursue because of one of its quality - timeless. We, art practitioners, should really be keen in giving our masterpieces the right amount of quality and the "forever" factor putting in mind that what we're doing is not just for ordinary occasion but for a lifetime investment that would change the path of our life and career.

     In conclusion to this topic, we artists should not just entrust our mastepieces to some low-quality banners because our simple action may affect the quality and meaning of our art - that includes the way people see it as a whole.  

Saturday, September 04, 2010

YLKD Program

     Shown above is the official program flow of Youth Leaders for Knowledge and Development, which will be launched on September 9, 2010. I really am very excited for this event knowing that I'll be participating in an event that provides knowledge in different areas of advocacy and a program that focuses on making a difference for the country through nation-building activities. 

     This is it! This is my time to meet and greet great people, who have done great contributions to our society. Have a great day everyone! And, as much as possible, don't forget to do good deeds no matter how plain and simple it may be because that simple act may contribute a big difference to the lives of other people.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

An Email Message That Broke My Silence

     Great day to everyone! Earlier this morning, as I check out emails that was sent to me, one particular email did caught my attention because it came from Ateneo YLSE. And as I read the email, it did transported me from the silent world of ease and brought me into the land of extreme rejoice! You might wonder what good news did that email delivered. Well, for instance it did delivered not just happiness to me but did also brought hope - a hope that promises to supply the amount of passion and eagerness that my heart would want. 

     And without further introduction, here's the content of the email that I'm talking about:


Dear applicant,

Thank you for your registering for the Ateneo School of Government and World Bank-Knowledge for Development Center Youth Leaders for Knowledge and Development (YLKD) Program.

Based on the screening and evaluation processes conducted by our esteemed panelists from the School of Government and the World Bank last month, we are pleased to inform you that you have been selected to attend the monthly kapihans for the 1st YLKD where you will get the chance to interact and discuss development issues with some of the best leaders and authorities in the field.

Each kapihan session will cover topics ranging from the broad issues of poverty, public governance, and climate change, to upgrading public education and other issues affecting the Filipino youths. Every session is a chance to air out your views and response on the foregoing topics with the resource persons and your co-participants. It will also be a venue to forge future partnerships for creating action groups tackling these pertinent social issues.

In line with this, we are requesting your presence on 09 September 2010 for the Launch of the YLKD, 4:00 p.m. in Quezon City (venue to be announced). Please reply to this email on or before 31 August, Tuesday (copying in vabrigo@worldbank.org) to confirm your participation. Registration starts at 3:30 p.m.

The program will be sent to your e-mail in the coming days.

Participants outside Manila can join via Skype. We will not cover transport, meals, and lodging--only meals during the event.

Thank you and congratulations, once again! We are looking forward to seeing you next month!
Sincerely yours,

Cristyl Mae B. Senajon
Program Assistant
Youth Leadership & Social Entrepreneurship
Ateneo School of Government


     I'm very much grateful and excited to attend the monthly kapihans. This really means a lot to me because I was given this very rare chance to interact with some of the country's great and noble people who have made a difference and contributed a lot of great things for this country to prosper. Thank you very much GOD for giving me such opportunity!

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