Saturday, April 21, 2012

What's next for me? The ICS-YA volunteering program!

International Citizen Service United Kingdom Volunteering Philippines Youth

Earlier this month, I have been accepted into a three-month volunteering program called the International Citizen Service (ICS) Youth Action. The program is an overseas volunteering program for the young people ages 18 to 25. I applied to the program thinking I'll have the chance to volunteer overseas as it's originally a six-month program called Global Xchange where a team of Filipino and British volunteers will spend their time in improving selected areas in the United Kingdom and the Philippines (or another developing country) for three months each. It turns out that Global Xchange is now the International Citizen Service or ICS. The ICS has two programs: Youth Xchange and Youth Action. The Youth Xchange program is what I thought I was applying for. However, it has just ended, and I was shortlisted for the Youth Action.

The Youth Action program of the ICS only lasts half as much as the Youth Exchange program. Unlike the later, the Philippine volunteers will not go to the UK. instead, it's only the British volunteers that'll be coming to the country. The catch is, despite the Philippine volunteers not being able to fly off to do volunteer work in the UK, there will be more areas where the volunteers will be working in here in the Philippines. In my cycle's case, we'll be working in two different places an assigned team in each area. That means there will be more volunteers to do the job in the Youth Action program. My and a group of young people were assessed one Saturday and I received the confirmation that I'm going to be part of the program just this Monday.

I admit that I was disheartened a bit as I wanted something else (the Youth Xchange program), and got shortlisted for the other one. You know the 'It's not quite it' feeling? However, it's the thought that I should think about what's served on my life's table right now that makes me grounded and be present-thinking. I might not have achieved what I've originally wanted, but the basics of what I want are still intact: helping communities, learning new things, getting to know more people and experiencing living in a new environment. At the end of the day, that's what its all about. Certainly, I will become a better and a more learned person after this. There's really nothing to lose if I take a shot at it. Overall, I'm excited for what is to come. The program formally starts next week with the in-country training of the Filipino and British youth volunteers. Please wish us the best!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Photos from Earth Hour 2012's main switch-off in Makati City

Earth Hour is quite a 'national event' in the Philippines. Everybody just wants to get involved. The switch-off event in Makati City was full of energy and the crowd was very receptive. Last Saturday, the entire country went dark for Earth Hour 2012. I was in Makati City helping out in one of the three main events for Earth Hour this year. The program was organized by WWF-Philippines and the City Government of Makati. Here are some photos I'd like to share with you all.

Earth Hour Philippines Chris Tiu Andy Ridley Philippines Tourism
If you saw a smiley and sweaty guy in the registration area that day, that was me. Earth Hour is the world's largest voluntary action for the environment, and it feels great to see that Filipinos have a say regarding the issue. For me, neither the number of cities and town, nor being the top participating country for Earth Hour doesn't matter. What matters most is that there will be people out there who got the message and will do their part, whatever industry they might belong to, in caring for the planet and its treasures.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A meeting with Mr. Ridley

Earth Hour Global's executive director and co-founder, Mr. Andy Ridley, celebrated Earth Hour here in the Philippines last Saturday. This afternoon, the Earth Hour Philippines 2012 Team had a meeting with him in WWF-Philippines' satellite office in Makati City before he left the country. Here are some pictures the team has taken this afternoon.

Earth Hour Philippines
The Earth Hour 2012 Team from the climate department together with Mr. Andy Ridley.

Earth Hour Philippines
The entire Earth Hour Philippines 2012 Team! From marketing to social mobilization!

Mr. Ridley discussed the humble beginnings of Earth Hour when it started in Sydney. I consider hearing him speak about his experiences first-hand as an opportunity to learn from one of the main forces behind the world's largest environmental campaign. Earth Hour started in one city, and now more than 5000 cities and towns all over the world have participated in Earth Hour. What's astounding is that Earth Hour was observed even in countries without WWF offices! Truly, Earth Hour is an excellent example how a single, amazing idea can become something global. Thank you Mr. Ridley for sharing your thoughts with us.