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Day well spent in The Dream Expo Manila 2014

This write-up is not meant to be a blow-by-blow account of #TheDreamExpoMNL, but a point of view of a dreamer (me) who went to the event to get a glimpse of what other dreamers look like and what they are doing with their dreams.

The name of my social innovation is Dream Job Superhero (DJS). One day, while conducting some research for DJS, I decided to type in the word “dream” in the Facebook search tab to see and study other fanpages that start with the word “dream.”

Soon, flashing before my eyes were these amazing keywords: Filipino innovators, social innovation, youth initative, Asian Development Bank, Bam Aquino.

The Dream Expo MNL Event Poster

And a few minutes later, I found myself typing what Dream Job Superhero is all about and pitching why I should be included among the lucky social innovators to be invited to the event.

Dream Job Superhero and the Dream Project PH

A week later came the announcement. Two hundred innovators were chosen and, by the conspiracy of all the wonderful angels and saints walking on earth (referring to the panel of judges who screened the applicants—by the way, thanks a bunch, sirs and ma’ams!) Dream Job Superhero was IN.

Fast forward to June 11, I set foot inside the Asian Development Bank, a dream workplace of many Filipinos. And barely a minute in the venue, I met a very nice, friendly, and passionate youth advocate, Kristel Capio. She is Vice President for Advocacy of UST-Unicef. A few minutes more, Kristel and I approached solo goers like us, Charles of Batasan/Polaris, and Kamille of Century Tuna.

While waiting for the event to commence, I decided to do an ID selfie. Nevermind the round face. I was just elated to share my joy that day (and I wished I started my #100happydays so I could have included that day!)

I also took a photo of the name of the event that was projected on the screen. And then, when the invocation and singing of the national anthem took place, I was taken to a trip to memory lane. I felt like a high school student once again, imagining things that I could offer my beloved country. It was a remarkable feeling which I sure will always remember with fondness.

Inspiring Words for Dreamers from Dreamers/Doers

There were so many inspiring words and stories that were said in Day 1. I could imagine if those words were in the form of evaporated water and flew straight to the clouds, it could have rained a lot of blessings in the entire country!

Here are some amazing words that I found inspiring. Each of them will be followed by a short reflection on my part. I hope you get to make your own reflections too.

Sen. Bam Aquino discussing about the rise of social enterprises in the country since 2006.

1. "Nanay, it is nice that you have dreams for your children, pero pwede rin po kayo mangarap para sa sarili ninyo mismo. Dream a little bit bigger, Nanay. Para matuto rin mangarap ang mga anak ninyo… Age-old problems can't be solved by age-old solutions. There is a need for creative and innovative solutions." - Sen. Bam Aquino

I was reminded of the Filipino saying: "Ang ginagawa ng matanda ay nagiging tama sa mata ng bata." Example will always be the best teacher, thus when the parents are doing their best to provide a good life for their family, albeit circumstances make it extremely hard to get out of poverty, the sincere and genuine effort to fight for a better life alone (couple it with love of course) will inspire the children to do the same.

Guido Sarreal, Kawil Tours

2. “Any economic activity should benefit the locals first & foremost. why is it so hard to establish a social enterprise? Because it is community-based, but that is what is important, necessary.” - Guido Sarreal, Kawil Tours 

Guido was a good storyteller like Ivan Henares. In fact, I felt like I have already visited Culion and met the people there just by listening to him speak. Guido's story further made me realize that a community is willing to support someone who believes that their contribution as a community matters. It must be remembered that a community is comprised of people who are a thinking people. They have knowledge. They are individuals with rights, thoughts, abilities, and aspirations. They are not just a bunch of charity case waiting to be helped and fed.

Earl Martin Valencia, IdeaSpace Foundation

3. “As a 16-year-old, I wrote the things I wanted to achieve when I reach 30. And though my friends then laughed at me because of some things in my list (get a girlfriend, graduate with honors in college, become an astronaut), having a list ispowerful. The list lead to where I am now. And yes my prom date that time is now my wife. And I get to have the last laugh!”

(paraphrased words excerpted from the talk of Earl Martin Valencia, president and co-founder of IdeaSpace Foundation, and former Systems Engineering Lead - Architecture at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems and Manager, Business Development, Strategy and Incubation - Emerging Technologies Group at Cisco, at #TheDreamExpoMNL)

Roxy Navarro, Works of Heart,

4. “There are three things to remember in pursuing a social enterprise. Have the following:
a. Courage. Wherever you are remember the poor.
b. Passion
c. Hope”
                                     - Roxy Navarro, Works of Heart

Roxy seemed very zealous with the cause that she supports. She proved that one can hold on to one’s day job and still successfully pursue one’s passion and help people. She also stressed that artists (or anyone, for that matter), who works for social enterprises should also receive payments for their work, albeit charging only a fair or reduced price. This setting ensures that people could always give their best to their works. Roxy did not exactly say this but I guess she harped on the idea that there is a difference in doing volunteer works intermittently and working for social enterprises full-time.   

5. Relevant awesomeness - Scud Dy, Gugu 

I like the phrase “relevant awesomeness!” I think all products and services should have this quality. Good idea, Scud!

Anya Lim, Ant Hill

6. “Have a dialog with them. Don't tell them hey let's do this business because my idea will work.” - Anya Lim, Ant Hill

Because I am a textbook editor, I was elated when Anya said she owes her passion for her craft and her love for the country to her Sibika at Kultura Grade One book—that as a child, the poem in the book about the different ethnic groups in the Philippines intrigued her a lot and the characters there, all in their glorious ethnic dresses, served as her Cinderella and Snow White and other fairytale princesses. I realized further how one’s childhood could really inspire a child to someday become a good member of the country,  and how one’s family can develop certain aspirations in a child. Her family believed it important to travel first within the country before exploring other nations. And thus, Anya’s loved for the country blossomed.

7. "Hindi ko na tinigilan." - Cristine Mansinares, Tourism Officer at City Government of Sipalay

The phrase refers to how as a child, she already dreamed of serving her hometown by promoting it as a tourism destination. This dream she nurtured after being able to explore Sipalay with her mother who was a biology teacher, if I remember it correctly. Again, this is another testimony on how parents can nurture dreams in a child.

8.  “Sorry for the inconvenience. We are changing the world.” – Anna Oposa, Save Philippine Seas

I love how Anna reiterated that we should not remain passive, that Filipinos should be restless and take an active stance in protecting the Philippine Seas.

9. H-harnessing
O-opening your wallet
E-empowering others – Jay Jaboneta, Yellow Boat of Hope

I haven’t really immersed myself fully with my dream social innovation Dream Job Superhero as I still do many other income-generating activities which eat most of my daytime. And yet, I can completely relate to Jay’s definition of Hope, especially the “O” part. Because a social enterprise “is” an enterprise, a person engaging in it should learn how to work around money and use whatever available resources to ensure that the social enterprise survive and thrive.

Prim Paypon, The Dream Project PH

10. We have to teach children how to dream not only for themselves, but also for the country. – Prim Paypon

I dream the same thing with Dream Job Superhero. I pray that Dream Job Superhero can help the youth of today become motivated to do their best in their studies so they can attain their dream jobs. Yet, their dreams should not end there. Dream Job Superhero also aims to inspire the youth to use their future profession/career/vocation and the skills and talents they have developed for themselves to help make the nation and the world a better place to live in.

Yours truly with fellow participant Kristel Capio of UST-Unicef and Dream Expo Innovator, Prim Paypon

With Marc Wendolf Duque of Promdi, Ateneo De Manila and Charles Ladia of the House of Representatives

Day 1 ended with me wishing that I did not make other plans for June 12 (Day 2 of the Expo). I would have loved to be there again and learn some more. But at least I was sure I will return on Day 3 (And I did! Please read my blog about it too, here!) And the best thing that I realized in Day 1 is that whether I push on with Dream Job Superhero or pursue a different project altogether, there are many social innovations in the country that I can support as much as there are many social innovators out there who are also ready to help me. After all a social innovation is a social movement. And the collaboration of many is the essence of making a social innovation work.


You might also want to read this: Day 3 in The Dream Expo Manila 2014


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