Saturday, February 19, 2011

My first internship: WWF's Earth Hour 2011 campaign

I was recently hired as an intern for World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF - Philippines) for the staging of Earth Hour 2011 here in the Philippines. I'm part of the social mobilization team - the team in charge for getting as much people participating as possible all over the country. I'm gonna be busy in the following days juggling volunteer work for WWF and of course studying for the exams before the semester ends. Earth Hour 2011 will be on the 26th of March at 8:30-9:30 PM.

This year's Earth Hour is about going BEYOND THE HOUR. Within the social mobilization team, my boss Bianca and I are in charge of Earth Hour in Visayas and Mindanao. Many people ask, so what if we switch off our lights for just one hour? What difference will it make? My answer would be, a lot. It's what goes beyond the hour which is important - and that's what this year's event would like to emphasize. I hope we can get the message across. That WE, yes YOU, ME and US, can make a difference just by making small sacrifices in our everyday lifestyles. As for me, my work starts on Monday. I hope you wish me luck. This is a big thing as Earth Hour is the biggest environmental event in the country.

I am happy and very thankful to be part of this campaign. When I was a high school junior, all my notebooks were WWF-designed. And now here I am directly working with them first-hand. I think it's kind of cool how all of this has happened now. An internship is not required in my undergraduate degree as we have summer fieldwork in place for that. This internship with WWF-Philippines is solely my decision to do to learn more about the world of NGOs and environment protection - two of which are among my passions.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In a future Valentine's Day

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In the future, I will spend Valentine's with the person I rightfully deserve, a person who would be perfect for me. No matter how much some friends would tell me I'm idealizing too much or how some people would say I should look nearer, I shall believe what my heart says. Someday, in the right time, I will be celebrating Valentine's Day too and not be the (kinda) indifferent guy I am now.

"Be grateful for what you have, while in pursuit of what you want." - Jim Rohn

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Graduating Status.

I was looking at online videos from UP Sikat today, and from our field work in Antipolo. I couldn't help but feel sentimental about all the stuff I've been through in the past four years here in my university, the University of the Philippines - Diliman. I was an ambitious seventeen year old guy from Iloilo when I first step foot here. Now here I am as a twenty year old young man who is of graduating status from this university.

I practically lived inside the university grounds in the past four years as I was a dormer. UP is more than a school to me, it is my home. There were times when the world would fall down on me and I would think to myself "Why did I even think about studying in this freakin' university?" There were also the happy times such as my field works and field trips outside Manila and laughing sessions with friends in the corridors of the university. There are also those weird "only in UP" moments. Oh how I will miss this place when I finally (and hopefully) graduate on April this year.

I expect myself to have a long list of thank yous and an overly sentimental write-up on my graduation when April comes. That is if I graduate. But I would like to think I'll finally be finishing school this semester. Oh UP, look what you've done to me.

Photo: Sunken Garden of UP Diliman (Source:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

An Airplane Story

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Let me tell you a story about a boy. That boy happens to be me, but eleven years younger. This is a story about a boy who rode an airplane.

I was nine years old when I first rode an airplane. It wasn't for a vacation or for a visit to some relative. It was to bring me to Manila because I had a sickness back then. A sickness that could possibly take away my life.

Prior to my first ride in the airplane, I was confined in a local hospital in our city. Having needles stuck in your arms wasn't really a problem. They're just a hassle when you try to move around. I was the youngest patient in our part of the hospital. I didn't mind that either. But sometimes they would stick some tubes inside my nose and I remember screaming and crying my heart out for my mom and dad to save me. Days later, the doctor told my mom that if my condition continues, I could die. My mom was very worried. So was my dad.

Dying wasn't really a problem to me back then. I thought, if I would die young then I wouldn't have to worry about my future. I wouldn't have to grow up. Lying on the hospital bed, I was thinking about the fun stuff I could do in case I'd get to heaven. I could play with the fluffy clouds. Or perhaps, I could befriend some angel and get him to teach me how to play the harp. I also thought that I could draw all I want in some special notebook in heaven or I could look down on Earth to see what my family is up to.

I also thought about the scenario I'd be in in case Hell was my destination. Maybe I'd cry for eternity because the devil would poke his trident thingy on my butt. But in case I'd die at nine, my parents would get sad. Dying isn't really an option. While other kids were busy playing around in some street, I was in some hospital, wondering if I have lived enough for me to die young. Days later, I was brought out of the local hospital to be diagnosed in a well-known hospital in Manila. My condition was that bad, but back then I didn't really understood most of it. And in going to Manila, I'll be doing something that I've never done before: riding an airplane.

I was so excited. In my perception back then, airplane were for the rich people only. We were a very ordinary family back then so I know how much of a burden it was for my parents to take me to Manila via an airplane, much more to get some diagnosis.

I was assigned on the window seat of the airplane during the flight. Me and my sister were very excited because it was our first time to ride a vehicle that flies. We even fought because she couldn't see the view outside the window because I would stick my head out of the window like a blob. It was her first time too, and I was ruining it for her.

The plane began to move slowly, then a little bit faster. As the speed of the plane accelerates, so was the beating of my nine-year-old heart. The sound of the speeding plane was deafening back then. The plane went faster more and more by the second. And as I looked out the window, I was amazed by what I saw. We were flying! I was so happy.

As we flew higher and higher. The trees, buildings and the people became smaller and smaller. All of the sudden when we were up in the clouds, everything that was big on the ground was so small from up above. Then inside my nine-year-old mind, I had a realization:

The problems we face on ground, are so small when you look at it from up above! Everything on the ground, no matter how big it might be doesn't seem to matter when you are up in the sky!

Then I realize there must be somebody way up there. if things are so small from an airplane, then they could even be smaller from the stars. Our problems on Earth are just some speck of dust to Whoever is up there in the heavens. So in the view of the guy in charge of everything, everything was just small. And small things are easily solved. So if we trust that guy up there with all our worries, everything's gonna be alright because for Him, it's just easy. He knows better than on ground. Whatever the result of our faith is, we have to accept it, because whether we like it or not, it's not a big deal anyway.

Now I am twenty years old and turning twenty one this month. One of my favorite subjects in my major would be aerial photo interpretation. Looking at satellite images and ortophotos, I can't help but smile to the thought that up there is a bigger eye that looks down on us, observing us and guiding us. No problem is too big for The One Who Created It All.