Jan 25, 2011

Superman of the Philippines

Named "Young Global Leader of 2008" by the World Economic Forum, Illac Diaz gave an inspiring speech at the 7th National Conference. He was our last speaker for the first day and what an impression he made to the delegates! He has that charm and the aura of legitimacy to move the people. An in fairness, he extremely looks like Superman.

Illac and I have the same degree in Ateneo - Management Economics. He then went on to study Urban Planning in Massachusetts Institute of Techonology, and Masters of Political Administration in Harvard University.

"He established Pier One, an affordable, clean and safe house for seafarers. This transient housing is for seamen coming from the provinces, looking for work and waiting for their next voyage. To help the women to manually shell off peanuts with simple pedal-powered machines, he established the “Peanut Revolution”. Then he established First Step Coral, an artificial coral reef system to attract fish to shallower waters. In 2001 up to the present, he is the Executive Director and Founder of MyShelter Foundation, Inc. It is a social enterprise that looks for sustainable housing solutions for homeless and the lack of infrastructure in developing countries, like the Philippines." - Wikipedia

The sustainable houses Illac builds are made up of bamboos, used plastic bottles, bird feathers and mud - and it is impressively sturdy. Aside from those achievements, he also campaigned with Obama during the presidential elections. He ended his speech by emphasizing that we have to think big, because it is only in thinking big that we can accomplish a lot of things. I think his Ateneo education shaped him well - Magis - of being the best that you can be so that others can be the best that they can be.

Personally, I can relate with what he said especially about the housing solutions because I've been part of this NGO since 2009 that aims to build sustainable villages for the poor. It's not Gawad Kalinga. I actually wanted to quit this NGO because it will eat up most of my time, but after hearing Illac, I'm having second thoughts. 

It is a must that we organizers have a photo with him.  

The first day of the National Conference was a success because the delegates felt very involved in the discourse. It's great that they all asked intelligent questions - which aren't just for the sake of asking. I sensed their curiosity to learn more and to get the most out of this experience.

I wanted to ask him if he has plans running for president. I really hope he does. With a bright mind, authentic experience and sincere good will all mixed with his deadly charm, you can't go wrong with Illac Diaz.

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