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Peace of mind for 2005. [03 Jan 2005|06:04pm]
Hi, everyone. It’s been a while.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’ve forgotten about the good deeds that I promised. So allow me to post here for public scrutiny a complete list of my Barcelona sponsors and the status of the good deeds they requested.

I’m happy to say that the majority have been completed, save a few which will remain at the top of my consciousness until they’re done. If for some reason I’ve missed something--if you requested a good deed but still haven’t heard from me about it--don’t hesitate to bombard me with angry e-mails, calls, or texts until I promptly get my ass on the move.

I'd like to try and explain why I've been so quiet lately. When the readership of this blog started to grow (though I think it has shrunk again since I’ve stopped posting), I started feeling pressured to write "inspiring" entries all the time. Of course, I had to live up to chicken-soup branding that seems to have been earned by “buythisdream.”

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get up on a soapbox and sound optimistic when in reality you’re feeling shaken. And that’s a little how I’ve been feeling the past few months—unsettled. A little black ball of self-doubt and insecurity has planted itself firmly in the pit of my stomach and it’s been one persistent, nasty little bugger. On good days I have managed to either ignore it or distract myself from it. But most of the time I’ve felt its weight. It has kept me out of step. Out of sync. And all I’ve been able to do is wobble reluctantly ahead.

Quite the opposite of how I was feeling just five months ago. I swear that I’ve never been as switched on as I was then. It’s amazing the blinding clarity that comes with wanting something really badly and knowing how to get it. I was so sure of myself that it didn’t matter what the doubtful had to say. I trusted that I’d be carried full-steam ahead in the right direction. In this state of mind, you tend to put a lot of faith even in the most dubious of hunches. And that’s what I did. I had a hunch and I ran with it.

But things fell flat, and I’ve been trying to regain my composure ever since. I’m not so much bothered by the fact that the silly Festival wasn’t as intense an experience as I thought it would be. I’ve accepted that I did have unrealistic expectations. I was looking for Eureka! only to learn that you can’t always take shortcuts--especially when trying to figure out out what vocation or passion to pursue in life. Sometimes you just have to wade through the mud until you hit gold. It takes time and patience and a willingness to screw up once in a while. There’s a reason it’s called a quarter-life crisis.

So that’s not what’s been bothering me. What I’ve had difficulty accepting is the fact that I promised myself and everyone else a return on investment, but did not quite deliver. I raised my own and everyone else's expectations, but in the end there was no rabbit in the hat. It was a blow to my confidence, made particularly humiliating by the fact that I’d dragged a bunch of friends and strangers along with me.

Thankfully, careful reflection over the past months has enabled me to come up with a few consoling thoughts:

One. I realize that most people gave me money not because they wanted me to work a miracle--but simply for the sake of helping me out. What mattered most was that I got to Barcelona, and not what I did there. In fact, the most sponsors just told me to have fun in Barcelona, and didn’t even ask for any good deed. They seemed to just want to be part of the adventure. The adventure of wanting something and going for it.

Two. When I confided to a friend of mine that I felt bad for nor showing some kind of results from my Europe trip, he replied: “I’m 27 years old and only now am I seeing the ‘concrete results’ of my education and work experience. You’re only 21! Slow down. You have time. One day you’ll get what you’re looking for.” After getting this advice, I felt a lot better and even a little silly for taking myself so seriously. On one hand, it’s good to have high aspirations. On the other hand, it’s also important to keep yourself grounded with a sense of humor and humility.

I also wish that I could have better sustained the momentum of goodwill that had raged so strongly before I left for Spain. I’ve been trying to think of a way to continue engaging the community that had formed around this blog. I was thinking of organizing another get-together of all those people who donated—the network of dreamers, if you will—so they could talk and share ideas. But after that, I wouldn’t know how to keep things up.

Well, I’m not the only source of ideas around here. If you can think of something, please let yourself be heard.

If there is one thing that I’m grateful for, it is the fact that “buythisdream”, which started out as just another “what if?” in my head, turned out to become something more than I’d ever hoped it would be. It bloomed into a story with a life of its own, a story from which I will continue to draw insight for a very long time.

Thanks, everyone. I really don’t know how I can thank you enough. I just hope that somehow, “buythisdream” was as much an adventure for you as it was for me. If somehow you found it worth a second look; if it made you feel inspired, interested, or amused; if it challenged you to think or rethink your assumptions; if it stirred conversation among you and your friends; then I’d say it was all worthwhile.

I’m just happy to have somehow engaged people in something different.

Cheers.

---

Thanks to all the sponsors!Collapse )
23 comments|post comment

Volunteer for the Typhoon Victims. [18 Dec 2004|11:35am]
Sagip-Buhay Infanta is an emergency relief effort spearheaded by the
Infanta Integrated Community Development Assistance, Inc. (ICDAI) and
Fr. Francis Lucas, ICDAI's president, in support of the Prelature of
Infanta and its communities and People's Organizations. Sagip-Buhay
badly needs volunteers to help with the repacking of relief goods for
the flood and landslide victims primarily of Infanta, but also of
Real and General Nakar, Quezon and Dingalan, Aurora. While relief
supplies continue to arrive at the warehouse, a reliable work force
to help repack the foodstuffs and clothing is sorely needed. If you
are seriously willing to work hard, please consider volunteering.

Ten volunteers are also needed to help distribute relief goods in
Infanta.

Click on the following link for more information and to sign up for
repacking work or to volunteer in Infanta:

http://www.iapad.org/pafid/index.asp

Please forward this email to other e-groups or individuals you think
may be willing and able to help.
5 comments|post comment

[27 Nov 2004|12:15pm]
Current dream:

To develop an elementary school in a rural area that educates underprivileged children through the use of arts and nature-appreciation.

And then eventually have our successful teaching modules and methods infiltrate the public school system.

Hmm.

* * *

One thing I've learned lately is that sometimes there are Eureka! moments, and sometimes there aren't. You can't expect to take shortcuts all the time. Sometimes you just gotta wade through the shit and hope you strike gold.

Have you ever wanted to stand still and run away at the same time?

* * *

I still need to

1) Plant a tree (as promised to Rico)
2) Find a stray cat and give it a good home (as promised to Pam Ko)

These things have proven trickier than expected.

For the life of me I can't think of a decent place to plant a tree in this smoggy concrete-choked tangle of a city. As it is, I feel sorry for the trees that are already here.

So, unless I find a nice spacious patch of green land in the city, which is owned by someone who wouldn't mind my digging around, and which I could visit regularly to make sure the tree doesn't die, then I will have to venture out to the countryside and plant my sapling there.

Does anyone have a backyard that could use some extra vegetation?

Oh, and does anyone want a cat? I volunteer to be your cat-bugaw, if you're willing to adopt a poor little street kitten.


* * *

Finally, I have started attending Youth on Fire sessions, as promised to Paul pageman, at the Victory Fellowship center on Taft Avenue (I have to attend 10 times in exchage for 10 pledges!). I must admit, I still feel a little embarrassingly out of place there. My college friends were all either hedonists, pragmatists, or agnostics, so I've never actually been around young people who raise their hands to the sky while praying and who can talk about their faith without any fear or embarassment.

But I admire anyone who commits to something that they believe in. I think it's great when young people find something that they can really be passionate about. This is one reason why I'm intrigued by Youth on Fire. Most young people I know can't stand to go to church. So what is it about this particular kind of worship that has young people, not so unlike their less faithful peers, so mesmerized? What is it that speaks to them? That moves them? I would like to figure it out.

I will go again on Sunday.
16 comments|post comment

GOOD DEED for Lovine Gopez [31 Oct 2004|01:18am]
Requested by: Lovine Gopez
Request: "Come home with four pictures from Barcelona, representative of four different REAL individuals that you have met. Find out who these people are, what makes them live, what fuels them, what makes them believe. Post these pics on your LJ and share w/ us what its like to meet real people."


Lovine, you are such a lovely genius-boy. This was just one of the most thoughtful and meaningful good deeds asked of me.

I did not take pictures of all the people I met (I kept forgetting about my handycam's still function). But I did get videos! Now you have to come home to Manila and watch them. Or I maybe I'll even try to draw pictures. Let's see. I'm sorry! I hope my words will suffice for now.

Mustafa and Candice

One day during the Festival, I was walking through the camprounds when someone called after me. It was a young man, around his mid-twenties. He appeared to be either African or Arabian: tall and slim, with olive-colored skin, a long nose, deep-set eyes, and the most fantastic dreadlocks I'd ever seen. He was seated at a small plastic table outside one of the tents, eating a bowl of cereal.

"Where did you get that?" he asked me in a thick French accent, pointing his spoon at the copper wire bracelet I was wearing. When I said that I made it, his face lit up and he motioned for me to sit down.

"Good! I like to meet artists!"

He introduced himself as Mustafa. We chatted for a while about the usual topics-- what do you do? where are you from? what do you think about the festival? and other typical questions that are asked when you meet a person for the first time. In hindsight, I realize that my first conversation with Mustafa was a little lopsided. I remember answering more questions than asking. It must be a trick that non-English speakers when they find themselves at the disadvantaged end of a bilingual conversation: ask a lot of questions so you don't have to talk so much!

Still, I got a few answers out of him. Like me, Mustafa had come to the festival without the backing of any real organization. He had just heard about it somewhere (he couldn't even recall where) and thought it would be a good experience so he registered. He said that he was very interested in "these ideas of development."

I asked why he was having breakfast at the campground, rather than at the Festival site.

He raised an eyebrow at me. "Because their food is crap of course!" (Ah, a Frenchman indeed). He then made me taste of his very special orange-flavored French honey. I did. It was good.

Before we parted, I mentioned that I might be travelling to France after the Festival. "If you happen pass through Toulouse then visit me." He gave me his address. "Or you just write me a letter. I don't like e-mail."

The next time I saw Mustafa was two days later, at the closing ceremonies of the Festival. The emcee (some Spanish female celebrity) was just about to read the 10 Resolutions of the World Youth Festival, when there was a commotion in front of the stage. There was a flurry of navy-blue security guard uniforms, and then suddenly, emerging from the scuffle, there was a picket sign. "I am not Toyota, Coca-cola, or Nestle!" it read, in crudely scribbled marker on cardboard. As the sign ascended to stage, so followed the person attached to it.

I instantly recognized the dreadlocks.

Raising his picket sign high in the air, the protestor (as it had become apparent that he was) took the microphone from the flustered emcee. He started to speak in French. Through the filter of our translation devices, we listened to him express disgust with the organizers of the Festival for accepting sponsorships from multinational corporations. How can Festival talk about development and equality, while taking money from corporations whose business values contradict these ideas? As long the organizers continued to associate with these multinationals, he would never attend another World Youth Festival. The audience erupted into applause as Mustafa flashed his picket sign once more and retreated from the stage. Apparently many of the participants agreed with his views but were not as bold to speak up.

One week after leaving Barcelona, Ties and I decide to stop by Toulose and take a chance on getting to know this interesting Mustafa character a little better. The first time we stopped by Mustafa's house, he was not around. But finally we were able to catch him, and he was quite surprised to see us. Still, he welcomed us warmly and even invited us to stay at his apartment, which he shared with his girlfriend Candice. We accepted the invitation.

Mustafa and Candice were both modern dancers, living together in a small apartment near the center of Toulouse. We learned that Mustafa was of Algerian descent, but had grown up in France. He taught hip-hop dance to teenagers for a living. His girlfriend Candice (whom he had met four years earlier at circus schooll in Marseilles) was also a hip hop dancer, from Provence. She's one of the warmest people I've ever met-- with sunkissed cheeks, long brown hair, and bright, smiling eyes.

We spent the next three days at the home of Mustafa and Candice. It was in disarray at the time, since they were in the middle of moving out. They had recently decided to leave the city and join a commune in the Pyrenees-- a long time plan of theirs. They showed us a picture of the Mongolian-style tent-house that they were currently building at the commune. They both believed that they could be happier, more at peace, if they lived closer to nature.

They were obviously not city people, but I still envied their cozy little apartment. It was actually not an apartment, but an extra room that they were renting out of an old rich woman's house. It was just so lived-in and alive, what with all their belongings literally spilling off of shelves and strewn all over the place. There were just boxes and boxes full of arty junk, comic books, compact discs (they had a fabulous music collection of hip-hop, brazilian, world music, jazz, and reggae), cooking utensils, bicycle parts, and clothes. You could tell that there were many memories in that place.

My favorite part of the house was the garden outside, where Mustafa and Candice had set up their dining area. It was a small space, bordered on one side by the apartment, on another side by an ivy-covered stone wall (the only thing between them and the neighbors), and on another side by perpetually-drying laundry on a clothesline. At the center of the space was a little round rot-iron table, painted white and surrounded by various mismatched stools and chairs. Little colored lights were strung overhead.

It was at this table, over many cups of tea, that we got to hear some of the couple's stories. Mustafa was an especially candid person, eager to show the world what he was all about. He told us about his strained relationship with his mother. It was a familiar story. His mother, an immigrant from Algeria, could not understand the way of life he had chosen for himself. For her, life was all about getting more money, a better job, a bigger house, more things. But Mustafa wanted the exact opposite--he believed that having and owning less, even as little as you can, was the purest way of living. His mother could not understand this. He would visit her sometimes, but as soon she started egging him about getting a "real job", then he'd split. "I don't care if she's my mother! I will do what I want to do," he said.

Candice was not as expressive about her beliefs, but her aura still had a strenghth perhaps gentler than Mustafa's. In that sense, she balanced him out quite well. I noticed that whenever Mustafa spoke, she would watch and listen intently, even though I'm sure she'd heard the same stories a thousand times before.

Candice had a special way of expressing herself. She would always use sounds or miming gestures to emphasize what she was talking about. For example, once she was trying to tell us about the Mongolian tent that she and Mustafa were building. It was like playing charades. She would say: "Oh, first we (hammering motion), and then we did some (lifting-heavy-things action), and at the end of the day we (sweeping and polishing action), and (insert whistle) voila! All done!" Maybe it was because of the language barrier between us, or maybe it was because she was a dancer!

She was fond of telling stories from her childhood. When I commented that she spoke fairly good English, she said, "Ah, this is because I had a crush on my English teacher!", sighing and batting her eyelashes for emphasis. When we were eating dinner one time, she told us about a little trick her mother used to do when she found her tongue burned by too-hot food. "I would open my mouth like this (opens mouth), and then my mother would blow air inside to cool the food. All better!"

more to follow...
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[20 Oct 2004|11:03pm]
After a month of wandering around and looking for the next big thing to get excited about, I am happy to once again have a life! Haha. I am now employed with the Department of Education, as a member of the newly formed Media Relations and Communications Unit, directly under the new Secretary Butch Abad.

I love the people I am working with. They are brilliant, proactive, accomplished, driven, fun, and genuinely want to make a difference. I have a lot to learn from them.

I am happy to be doing work that has the potential to make a real impact. The state of basic education in this country is so down in the absolute pits that there's nowhere to go but up.

I have a great boss with a promising agenda and a proactive attitude.

I have a real reason to wake up before 11 a.m!

I have a real eason to buy nice, new grown-up clothes!

I have a paycheck!

Yay.
13 comments|post comment

GOOD DEED 013 [16 Oct 2004|02:33am]
Requested by: Sabine Torno
Request: "Help an old person in Barcelona."


There are a lot of old people in Europe-- according to both the statistics, and my own observation. Wrinkled men with crushed caps and walking sticks. White-haired ladies with handkerchiefs and shopping bags. Riding the bus, standing in line at the grocery, walking their dogs, having coffee at the outdoor cafes. Everywhere!

For this reason, I did not think "helping an old person in Barcelona" would be much of a challenge. I was mistaken! In comparison to our Filipino lolas and lolos, many old people in the West, it seems, neither want help nor need it. Not only are they more independent in nature, but the cities are so handicapped-friendly that there's hardly a need anymore for good girl and boyscouts.

Multiple times, I tried to offer my seat on the bus or metro to elderly persons-- at least twice in Barcelona, and maybe thrice in Holland. I was turned down everytime! They always refused politely, explaining that they were getting down at the next stop anyway (as far as I understood, with my poor grasp of Dutch and Spanish). But a few who gave me this answer did not get down at the next stop, leaving me wondering if Westerners view offering one's seat as just another empty act of courtesy, not meant to be taken seriously. As a regular MRT passenger who is used to people clamoring like lemmings to get seats, I was baffled.

In Paris, I saw a terribly pale and fragile old woman trying to cross a busy alleyway. She was practically moving in slow motion while swarms of pedestrians zipped by her like bees. Now this one really looked like she needed help. I was about to approach her, when another young woman beat me to it. From across the street, I watched them negotiate: the girl tugging at the old woman's arm, while the latter withdrew. The old woman still insisted on crossing by herself, even if it meant moving inch-by-inch!

Finally, Ties and I ended up giving some leftover food to a bum on the street. We had just eaten at a fantastic little Tunisian restaurant, and there was so much leftover that had it wrapped and decided to have it for breakfast the next day. On the way back to the Metro, we saw a homeless man with a bushy white beard preparing a cardboard bed on the sidewalk. The food was still warm so we gave it to him.

On another note, it's a little strange seeing poor people in a city like Paris, which we always think of as wealthy, first-world, perfect. Kind of a reminder that no matter how famous and beautiful a place is, there will always be an underside that doesn't get put on the postcards.
10 comments|post comment

GOOD DEED #012 [06 Oct 2004|10:55pm]
Requested by: Pio Abad
Request: "Make two paintings or drawings: one before you go to Barcelona, and another afterwards."


I'm better with wire. I swear.Collapse )
12 comments|post comment

[04 Oct 2004|12:15am]
Argh. Writer's constipation.

But, a few more pictures!

---


A spectacular view of Barcelona from Gaudi's Park Guell, located on a hill at the city outskirts.

More pictures.Collapse )
5 comments|post comment

GOOD DEED #011 [28 Sep 2004|12:21am]
Requested by: Mia Pettyjohn
Request: "Visit the Sagrada Familia Church and take as many photographs of it as you can!"


(Thankfully, I was able to take a few pictures with the photo-function of my digital camcorder!)

Antoni Gaudi was an eccentric modernist architect who lived at the turn of the 20th century. His colorful and flamboyant works are now nearly synonymous with the cultural landscape of Barcelona, Spain. The most famous of his works is probably the Temple of the Sagrada Familia. Although this spectacular church was begun over a century ago in 1882, it remains under construction until today.



More photosCollapse )
7 comments|post comment

Report on the 3rd World Youth Festival [26 Sep 2004|03:50pm]
Hello! I am submitting to my honored "sponsors" the first part of my report about the WYF. For now, I have decided to give a general overview and evaluation of the Festival. Later, I will submit a second part which will include more of my personal experience and insights about the Festival.

Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures to post here for one major and very sad reason: my digital camera was lost in Barcelona. For those who would like to see pictures or even videos of the festival, however, feel free to visit the Forum website. Don't forget to click site's English version!

Well, voila!

Read more...Collapse )
1 comment|post comment

Homecoming. [22 Sep 2004|06:34pm]
Think about one of the most intense experiences you've ever had. Now try to talk about it. Try to write about it. Try to explain to people who weren't exactly there what happened, what you learned, and how it changed you. Be honest. Be specific and vivid and clear. And if possible, be entertaining.

It's hard, isn't it? But I'm working on it. Slowly, carefully. Maybe I'll start with broad strokes? Here goes...


I've come a long way over the past few weeks, literally and figuratively. There was confusion, ambivalence, and bewilderment. But there was also joy, laughter, and even love...

Desperation, and then hope...

Resistance, and then surrender...

But most of all, there was learning, and there was living!

Despite my horrible case of jetlag, I feel good. I feel really really good.

It's good to be home, guys. Keep reading.
10 comments|post comment

[06 Sep 2004|04:13pm]
It's September 6, and I'd like to go home but I'm still abroad, and I haven't yet finished my full report on the World Youth Festival.

Perhaps this is as frustrating for some of you as it has been for me, but somehow I doubt that. To be honest, it's been tough. I've enjoyed travelling and meeting people over the past few weeks, but I've also been dealing with a lot of demons. I thought I was going to learn something new and brilliant here; or gain some fabulously genius new insight about the world that would set my life in the right direction; or meet some big person or get some big idea. I thought this was going to happen at the Festival, or because of the Festival. I had hopes. I had expectations.

But I was let down.

The Festival did not deliver. And basically here's why:

1) 10,000 participants. I thought that the huge number of participants was actually going to be an advantage, but in this case it wasn't. There were simply too many people-- so many, that you could hardly find any one person in the crowd. You might meet one interesting person at an activity and have a great conversation with them, but good luck meeting them a second time. Or maybe you'll meet them again, but only long enough for a brief hi or hello.

Also, a lot of participants didn't take the Festival seriously. Many of them just partied on the beach the whole time, or hung out in the tents. Which is fine--they paid their registration fee just the same as the rest of us, so it's their loss (or gain).. I just personally didn't like it because detracted from the credibility of the Festival-- it cheapened it. Here I was doing good deeds up the wazoo trying to get to Barcelona, when others who can get there easily don't even want to attend. You think you go to these conferences to be surrounded by people with proactive attitudes, but in reality some of them could care less.

2) Too many activities. The majority of the activities in the Festival were organized by the participating youth groups themselves, which I thought was going to make the festival very diverse and interactive. Unfortunately this was not the case. Apparently the Central Organizers didn't do a very good job of coordinating with the youth groups, so a lot of activities (more than half) were either cancelled, rescheduled, moved to another venue, etc. etc... So basically the printed Programme that we all received at the beginning of the festival was rendered useless. On the first day I tried to attend maybe four different activities, but none of them pushed through! And it didn't get too much better over the next six days.

Aside from the obvious inconvenience, another disadvantage to this disorganization was that fewer and fewer people continued to attend activities as the festival progressed. Because so many activities were being shuffled around or cancelled, more and more participants opted to hang out at the beach instead (see above). So even if towards the end of the Festival the activities were a little more organized, fewer people were attending!

The few activities I did get to attend were not so fantastic. Most of them were like the typical student reporting or sharings that one attends in school. The best activities I did get to attend were one discussion on the Privatization of Education in Asia, and another on Documentary Filmmaking. These discussions were interesting because everyone was participating and sharing, but the disact

3) Representation from developing countries, I felt, was not enough. Especially from East and Southeast Asian countries. It was either too expensive to travel all the way to Barcelona for most, or it was too difficult to get visas. I thought I was having a hard time raising funds for Barcelona because of my timing-- but apparently it was hard for everyone, no matter how early or late they started. I don't know if the organizers could have done anything more for the visas, but surely they could have done more to create scholarship funds for participants from faraway countries. Maybe get other sponsors or charge more to European participants. I don't know! But hopefully if the next festival is held in a developing country, representation will no longer be much of a problem.

More on the festival next time, but you get the idea.

So now, I kind of feel like some kid's lost balloon, floating around the sky, hoping to be found again. It's weird. In the few weeks before coming to Europe, my goal was so clear: Barcelona. Barcelona was the point. I didn't think much about what might happen there or afterwards--for some reason I just thought it would take care of itself. But when it wasn't what I expected, I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't know what to aim for, or where to look.

So now I'm just trying to make the most of being in a different place. Filling my senses with newness and meditating on things. Of course, as much as possible, I'd still like to come home with something to show for my trip. That's what I'm doing here in Holland. My Dutch riend who is a building designer has offered me a job as his project assistant for the next two weeks, and as payment I will receive a laptop computer. Since I could never work for two weeks to get a laptop in the Philippines, I've extended my stay here and decided to take the job and hope it all works out. A laptop will really be useful for when I get home, éspecially since I'm starting to build a career and a life for myself. It'll definitely increase my options and my flexibility.

But in anycase, whatever happens I have promised myself to HAVE FUN, learn what I can, and just take it all in.
17 comments|post comment

[01 Sep 2004|10:09pm]
Hi guys. I'm currently staying with a friend in Holland, working on a few more projects before my return home. Just wanted to let you all know that I'm working on a full report of my participation in the World Youth Festival, which I will post in the near future. Till then, take care everyone!
5 comments|post comment

[27 Aug 2004|02:04pm]
hello everyone,

sorry it has been so long since i've updated! using the internet has been a problem here. at the festival, i had to line up for around an hour just to use the station for maybe 20 minutes. then after the festival it was hard to find public internet cafes. and now here in france it's easy to find internet cafes but hard to fine ones that have keyboards in english! the keyboards here are configured to the french language or something so the letters are all mixed up which makes them difficult for me to use. so i end up doing the tak-tak-tak each letter one-by-one thing which takes forever and then it's something like 1 euro per fifteen minutes! gah!

but anyway i finally found an english keyboard now so i'm gonna write this entry really quickly as timer is ticking away...

to summarize what's been going on.

1) the festival ended last august 14. it was not what i had hoped or expected it to be. there were A LOT of participants and A LOT of activities, which made it difficult for focused and meaningful interaction to take place between the participants. plus the representation from different parts of the globe, especially developing countries, was not so good. by "good" i guess i mean "enough." anyway it was alright and i will write later about some of the interesting things i learned there. but basically the best thing to come out of the festival for me was the fact that i met a handful of very forward thinking people with whom i will maintain networks, and secondly, that i learned a little more about what makes international conferences either effective or not effective.

2) since the festival i have been taking some rest time. first i spent a few days in barcelona with a family friend. then i met up with a dutch friend of mine whom i met in china and together we went to the pyrenees mountains, a few hours away from barcelona, where we stayed in a small hikers cottage in a small village for two days. after that we travelled another few hours away to the french city of toulouse where we visited a a young couple i met at the festival in barcelona-- mustafa and candice, whom i will describe as two kind souls with interests in modern dance, anti-globalization, and new age spirituality. that was indeed a learning experience. now i am in paris staying with mustafa's friend adila, a young documentary filmmaker. and after this, hollland. so far i have not spent much money since i've been staying at people's homes and buying food at the grocery, so it's all good.

3) new plans: i have extended my stay in europe and will return home on september 8 or 9 for three major reasons. first, i have been invited to join a group of volunteers who will be building an ecological house in holland this weekend. that will be interesting to meet some ecological architects and urban planners. second, i will be trying to look for funding in holland for my bike advocate organization, the firefly brigade. finally, my uncle who works for iwitness on GMA-7 will be shooting a documentary in belgium this august 28 to september 7, so i will hang out with him doing that. hopefully this new surge of projects will make up for whatever disappointments i had with the festival.

okay the euros are ticking away by the second.... gotta finish this up! see you all soon....
7 comments|post comment

day 3! [10 Aug 2004|04:45pm]
Hey everyone! Another rushed entry here on yet another sticky keyboard. Gah.

Okay so things are getting better. I´m not as lonely anymore, because I finally ran into some other Asians--including at least three other Filipinos. It´s really sad how few Asians there are here--in fact, less than 100! The next biggest group are Africans, then Central and South Americans, and finally the Europeans who make up probably more than half the bunch. Gah. How can they call this the "WORLD" youth festival if the representation is so disproportionate? Disproportionate isn´t even the right word--completely SKEWED is more like it. People from developing countries are the majority in this world, and yet are a minority at this festival which claims to discuss issues that MOST AFFECT the underprivileged. Makes mine and the jobs of the other Third World representatives that much harder...

Okay this keyboard really sucks. Will continue next time...
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First day! [08 Aug 2004|12:53pm]
Hi guys! Sorry this is going to be rushed, I´m only using the public internet terminal here at the festival.

Well after 18 hours on the plane from Manila to Singapore, Singapore to Madrid, and then another 8 hours on the bus from Madrid to Barcelona, I finally arrived at the Festival campgrounds. We´re located on the beach, but I didn´t bother to wander around when I arrived because I was simply too tired! My back and feet and neck were all in pain from the long journey.

Our tents are okay. But they really are tents! No electricity. Cot-style bunkbeds. Really like the army! We are arounde 20 per tent. I am bunking with a bunch of girls from Scotland and Ireland. They seem all really nice and boistrous and friendly, but I haven´t had the chance to hang out with them yet.

There are so many participants here. Around 15,000! But most are Europeans or from Latin America. There are some Africans too. But very few Asians.

I didn´t realize that I would feel almost sad to leave the Philippines, but I did. This is my first time to really be ON MY OWN in the past month. For the longest time I´ve been surrounded and supported by friends, people with whom to share my thoughts and fears and hopes... and now I´m on my own here! It´s a little scary, in fact. But hey, it´s only the first day. I´ll hopefully grow into this more as the Festival continues...

There are so many activities to choose from. Truly a buffet. I will be attending a workshop later on Personal and Cultural Identity, and then later watch some cultural performances by Indian and Latin American musicians. Every hour you have to choose from around 10 different activities to attend. It´s overwhelming!

Will post again soon...

Oh, by the way, to those who requested postcards. Please email me your addresses. However, I will check first how much it costs to send a postcard--it might be more than the P300 you donated! If that´s the case I hope you will settle for electronic cards?
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[06 Aug 2004|01:06pm]
In 4 hours I will board my flight to Europe!

I'd like to apologize for not yet being able to personally contact everyone who has pledged. The past three weeks have been an absolute whirlwind for me. I've been working really hard to try to meet up with people, do good deeds, and prepare for the Festival-- that, in addition to the normal activities of daily life such as eating and sleeping, which have unfortunately taken a backseat to everything else these days. I'm actually very exhausted. But then I look at my blog or my plane ticket, or the updates at the World Youth Festival website, and I remember how blessed I've been! Then the weariness doesn't seem so bad! But mainly I worry that you all will think I have ignored your kindness or attempts to contact me. I just ask for patience!

Anyway, here's my basic itinerary for the next few weeks. My trip is set for August 6 to 26. I will arrive in Madrid tomorrow morning around 9 a.m., spend the day there, and then take an overnight train or bus to Barcelona. I will be at the World Youth Festival from August 8 to 14. Then after Barcelona I will proceed to France and Holland, to visit some friends and family and most importantly TAKE TIME TO REST AND REFLECT AND MEDITATE AND PROCESS EVERYTHING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME THESE PAST FEW WEEKS!

I am really looking forward to that rest time. That's when I think all the ideas hopping around in my head will finally be able run around into one another and something will be BORN. Does that make sense?

I will try my best to update everyone from there, if I can find a public internet terminal that I can afford! I'm sure I'll find something.

I'm going to try to find a venue to speak or present this story at the Festival. That would be a great opportunity to share the story!

Okay, now to continue preparing my things...

THANKS EVERYONE! SEE YOU AGAIN SOON!
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Celebration! [30 Jul 2004|01:20pm]
Almost every day for the past two weeks, I have met one amazing person after another. And I have discovered that most of those who have found meaning in "Buythisdream", whether they became involved or not, seem to have something in common. Almost all of them also long to become or do things that go beyond themselves!

It's been interesting to observe how different people deal with their dreams. Some accept. Some deny. Some fear. And some don't even recognize that they have dreams at all!

So I was thinking. Before I leave on August 6, I would like ONE BIG CHANCE to personally meet and thank all those who helped me out. But more importantly, I would like for them to meet one another. To share stories about themselves, their lives, their fears, and most importantly, their hopes. And of course, to have a great time!

It's often hard to have hope these days. And therefore we must nuture it where it can be found. We need to support one another!

I would therefore like to invite everyone to a GATHERING

this Tuesday, August 3, 6:00 p.m.

at Conspiracy Bar on Visayas Avenue, Quezon City!


Everyone is invited--whether they pledged in money, in prayers, or didn't pledge at all. Whether they found inspiration in "Buythisdream" or not.

The conditions are these-- you must have an open attitude, and be willing to engage in conversation with new people!

Please do spread the word about this! I hope to see many of you there!
18 comments|post comment

Drum roll please.... [30 Jul 2004|12:46pm]
I almost cannot believe it. Just a little more than two weeks ago, I asked for help. And since then, more than 100 friends have reached out to me in trust, in confidence, and in kindness... to raise more than P50,000 (exact amount yet to be calculated)! I am grateful, overwhelmed, and above all, full of joy!

So can you guess what I was able to do yesterday?




THIS IS IT, EVERYONE!
WORLD YOUTH FESTIVAL IN BARCELONA, HERE WE COME!!!


!!!
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GOOD DEED #011 [30 Jul 2004|12:32pm]


Kitakits!
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