Hard Work and Kindness

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to meet so many people, who ordinarily, I probably would’ve just read about and daydreamed of meeting 🙂

Last week we had to shoot this year’s Special Academic Convocation Awardees: Marites Vitug, Randy David, Justice Relova, Lilia de Lima, and Ben Abadiano. It was a week of countless intellectual orgasms, many moments of pausing in awe, and, just basking in this whole aura of hope and positivity all of them gave off.

Marites Vitug, who talked about telling people’s stories like there were few worthier pursuits on earth.

At Randy David’s house, where he talked about discourse and how it makes change a possibility. Also where I screamed inside like a fangirl.

At Pamulaan, Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Education, in Davao.

Ben Abadiano, the school’s founder, scaring the students with their thesis requirements

If I had to choose though, my favorite day would definitely be our shoot at Pamulaan 🙂 Aside from the fact that I got to go to Davao for a day (my first time there), indigenous people and their lives and their culture has always been a subject close to my heart. Since around forever, it’s been a dream of mine to learn more about them and live with them, to get the privilege of sharing in a culture as layered and as rich as theirs. And then, here’s this simple guy, Ben, who builds a school for them where the curriculum is decided with a tribe’s elders, where they’re taught to be proud of themselves, where they’re taught to help others understand them… you have got no idea how happy I was to be there 🙂

One of the places we shot there was their Museum of Living Tradition and, as it goes when you’re absent-minded, I forgot my camera. It’s been exactly a week and I’m still a little upset about this. They gathered artifacts and information from almost all of our tribes here in the country into this interactive museum that’s got you walking hot stones on bare feet, and sitting in on a small show that feels like a meeting of traditions. I’ve never seen dances like the ones they did for us. Our tour guides were Pamulaan students, small young kids in their native attire, as eager to please as any teenager. See them dance though, and suddenly, it’s you feeling young. It was like coming face to face with these entirely brand new people, older and wiser. It was fascinating.

It also made me feel slightly jealous. I’ve never felt as boring, with my city girl background, ever 🙂

The next stop for me, and for you if you’re interested, is AdvoCafe. It’s from the Ilawan Foundation, the same people behind Pamulaan. All the products there, all the drinks and food you can get, all the servers and bakers, they’re all from tribes all over the country. It’s called social entrepreneurship, and they’re doing it like the bosses they are 🙂 If only it weren’t in Manila and if only I didn’t suck at directions, I probably would’ve been a regular by now. Cannot wait to go.

AdvoCafe. Click the picture to know more about them. Join their MY ADVOCACY club!

Here’s picture of Sir Ben, a man who never seriously worked for money a day in his whole life, and look how many people he’s helped. All because he followed his passion. He was telling us all these amazing stories about his life while we were all waiting for the plane back to Manila, and he always had this tone of being surprised at his own luck. Who wouldn’t be? He has some seriously insane stories of being at the right place at the right time.

Talking about it after though, we figured that all of it was probably a bit harder than he let on, and that all the good that came to him was just the universe giving back to someone who didn’t look for material things, who just kept on being good and looked at the future with optimism.

There’s definitely something to be said for hard work and kindness.

‘Vigil could smell the apocalypse coming, and he’d tried hard to warn his runners. “There are two goddesses in your heart,” he told them. “The Goddess of Wisdom and the Goddess of Wealth. Everyone thinks they need to get wealth first, and wisdom will come. So they concern themselves with chasing money. But they have it backwards. You have to give your heart to the Goddess of Wisdom, give her all your love and attention, and the Goddess of Wealth will become jealous, and follow you.” Ask nothing from your running, in other words, and you’ll get more than you ever imagined.’


‘”Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction.'” – Born to Run, Chris McDougall

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