4 Filipinas to watch
MANILA, Philippines - Gabriela Silang is one of the most well-known Filipino heroes not just because she led 2,000 fighters in Vigan, but also because she was a woman.
Much has changed since 1763, but one thing has remained the same: there are still many women leading revolutions of their own.
In celebration of Women’s Month (which is really every month), we share with you the story of 4 Filipinas who may not be waging war, but are fighting the good fight to give the Philippines the kind of service she deserves.
As Managing Director of ChannelGood Advocacy Communications, Chely Esguerra, 29, spends most of her weekdays writing and filming untold stories of mission-driven and non-profit organizations. The company has produced videos that support campaigns for public health, education, renewable energy, and active citizenship. Next in line are documentaries on marine conservation and social entrepreneurship.
On weekends, Chely and her colleagues in ChannelGood run “Girl Matter,” a program for young Filipinas who have courageously survived a history of abuse to nurture their self-worth, widen their horizon for dreaming, and provide access to financial freedom. “We also give them workshops on livelihood skills that they can opt to pursue later on,” she adds.
Chely sees no hard line between her day job and advocacies.
“Some say that you need to prioritize your needs alone and let others take care of themselves. I don’t see the point in that,” she muses.
“To help turn a negative situation around for another consequently means making the collective situation better for myself and my family, too.”
Jen Horn, 28, calls herself the brainwasher-in-chief of muni.com.ph, a community platform for Cultural Creatives sharing ideas on conscious consumption. “We do this through a lifestyle blog and fun offline events that highlight little things we can do to maximize our impact in our community, and minimize our impact on the environment,” Jen explains.
She continues, “You don't have to move mountains to create change. In fact, we highly discourage tampering with Mother Nature. [You] just [have to] live more consciously everyday, and hopefully influence those around you.”
Some of their successful events were the Eco Fashion Workshop, where co-founders of homegrown eco-ethical brands gave inspiring talks and tips, and the Muni Pop-Up Shop, where people can buy and sell pre-loved, locally made, and/or eco-friendly items.
Jen invites people to volunteer for Muni and join the “crazy/hopeful/restless core team of Cultural Creatives.” Last day to apply is on April 5.
A few years ago, Cherrie Atilano, 26, chose to continue working in Gawad Kalinga over a Fulbright scholarship. Instead of studying in the halls of a prestigious US university and spending sleepless nights in a library, Cherrie wakes up early to plant and/or harvest.
Her heart is set on making farming cool, fashionable, and desirable through a social enterprise she co-founded, aptly called Agricool.
“I find it scandalous that a country with a lot of resources is unreasonably poor. Why do we keep importing food from other countries?” she asks.
Cherrie is now busy preparing for the summer camp in GK Enchanted Farm on April 22 to 28. She shares that the event will showcase fresh produce from the farm, and activities like brewing tea and making chocolate and cheese. “Let's discover the wealth of the land and being a Filipino through opportunities in agriculture and empowering the poor who have true innate genius,” she says.
Even though Alex Eduque, 21, has been studying in New York the last 4 years, she has been one of the most active members of Habitat for Humanity, showing that one can go the distance literally and figuratively.
She founded the Habitat Youth Council, a group of young leaders aged 18 to 21, to hold fundraising events and mobilize groups to join builds.
“I also set up Move.org Foundation Inc, one of Habitat's ‘partners-in-mission’ to complete its community development initiatives. It caters to facilitating early childhood education within Habitat communities [since] Habitat's mandate limits it to building physical infrastructures,” shares Alex.
She is currently juggling the responsibilities of writing her undergraduate thesis and organizing the Habitat Youth Build on April 27. This annual event aims to gather more than 2,000 young Filipinos to build homes all over the country.
Alex graduates in June. It’s easy to see that even greater things are ahead for this bright, enthusiastic young Filipina. - Rappler.com