Archive for January 27th, 2012

Young Pinoys chosen to speak with world leaders

After the last champagne flute has been clinked, the modern-day heroes we honor resume the hard work that got them recognized in the first place.

But, for two of Yahoo! Philippines’s Pitong Pinoy Awardees chosen last year, the accolades haven’t stopped. This time, environmentalist Anna Oposa and online activist Jay Jaboneta have been chosen as among the 2012 “Young Global Shapers” of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

They will join 68 other individuals under the age of 30 from around the world to speak with world leaders and help set the agenda at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting on Jan.25-29 at Davos-Klosters in Switzerland.

With the theme of this year’s meeting being “The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models,” it becomes an opportunity for Anna and Jay to push their advocacies and bring their desire to improve the Philippines to the world stage.

Anna: Being dissatisfied pushes her to do better

Anna Oposa, 23, is behind “Save the Philippines Seas,” which campaigns to have people recognize the Philippines as a center for both biodiversity and adversity. Using the Internet, Anna created a blog to fight against massive coral reef destruction and lobby for stronger laws that protect the environment.

Despite her success, she remains cautious. “This is just the beginning. It’s always an uphill battle,” she says.

Since winning her Pitong Pinoy award, Anna has pushed to have Congress sponsor a bill to protect all shark and ray species, campaigned for an ordinance to ban plastic in Manila and attended speaking engagements. She is now working on a mobile application and website.

“It’s an exciting time to be alive. I never have boring days,” Anna says.

While she admits to being dissatisfied with the work she has done, her inability to rest on her laurels pushes her to do better.

Jay: Wants the community to continue what he started

Jay Jaboneta, 30, is the captain of “The Yellow Boat” project that set sail from a status message on Facebook about children in Zamboanga who had to swim just to go to school.

While his message raised funds for the Bagong Pag-asa Yellow Boats the community now uses, he later realized that they wouldn’t be enough.

“They might have a boat and it gets them safe and dry to school but they have nothing to eat naman during recess,” he explains.

That’s when he turned his “Zamboanga Funds for Little Kids” to “Philippine Funds for Little Kids.” Jay brought his project to Isla Mababoy in Monreal, Masbate where donations funded 25 Bagong Pag-asa boats, a 600-meter water pipe system and a four-classroom school on the island.

Even if he has successfully applied his campaign elsewhere, Jay frets, “How do we know that what we started can be continued by the community leaders?”

Other youth reps from the Philippines

Aside from Anna and Jay, seven other young Pinoys were chosen as “Young Global Shapers.” According to The Philippine Star, they are:

• Maria Carmela Alvarez, the 24-year-old mayor of San Vicente, Palawan, who wants sustainable means to turn her town into a tourist hub;

• Ponce Ernest Samaniego, 21, whose company provides business expertise to nonprofits;

• Dr. Bryan Albert Lim, a practicing doctor from San Pablo, Laguna, who also advises on health-related projects;

• Eleanor Rosa Pinugu, founder of a nonprofit school that provides poor Filipino children access to 14 years of high-quality education;

• Mildred Ople, 25, who uses innovative agricultural technology with profitable business concepts;

• Alexandra Amanda Eduque, 21, founder and chairperson of the Habitat for Humanity Philippines Youth Council; and

• TV host Bianca Gonzalez, 28, who was recently appointed as Special Advocate for Children for the United Nations Children’s Fund-Philippines. 🙄

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How many marbles do you have?

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, of maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the kitchen, with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems
to hand you from time to time.

Let me tell you about it. I turned the volume up on my radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning talk show. I heard an older sounding chap with a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the
broadcasting business himself.

He was talking about “a thousand marbles” to someone named “Tom”. I was intrigued and sat down to listen to
what he had to say. “Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital. ” He continued, “Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.” And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”

“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.” “Now then, I multiplied 75
times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime.

“Now stick with me Tom, I’m getting to the important part. “It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail”, he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. “I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. “So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up 1000 marbles. “I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in my workshop next to the radio. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.

“I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight. “Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then God has blessed me with a little extra time to be with my loved ones…… “It was nice to talk to you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your loved ones, and I hope to meet you again someday. Have a good morning!”

You could have heard a pin drop when he finished. Even the show’s moderator didn’t have anything to say for a few moments. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to do some work that morning, then go to the
gym. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.” “What brought this on?” she asked with a smile. “Oh, nothing special,” I said. ” It has just been a
long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”

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