LAUNCHING: Project Batang Hilongosnon

During my birthday last year, I promised that I’m moving my advocacy for Education forward this year. I imagined that I would launch it by the time I celebrate my 2020 birthday, which is this December. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed us all to the edges.

Did you know that as you are sitting comfortably in your study table ready for your online classes everyday, there are students and teachers;

• Who are stopping their studies because they cannot afford online classes?
• Who are climbing mountains just for mobile signal?
• Who do not have the penny to even pay for an hour in the internet cafe to download their study modules?
• Who do not have the gadgets to watch the videos of their learning modules?

That’s the reality of many Filipinos in the new normal. Not everyone has the privilege that you have. We must extend our hands to help everyone. Not tomorrow or next year, but NOW.

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Yes, We will not Stop

Everyday, in the past 4 months, I’ve constantly been depressed with all the news I read and hear. All the stories of people’s struggles and suffering all over the world have taken a toll on me, emotionally and mentally. There have been countless moments when I wanted to cave in, when I wanted to just live off-grid in order to save my sanity. However, last Friday I came across an Instagram video from the ever inspiring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. More than a video about her victory on the recently concluded US Congressional elections, it was also a video about being brave and being a constant patch of hope to people. She said; “It’s an honor to work shoulder-to-shoulder with each and everyone of you in a movement for a better world. We will not stop.” Those words rang in my ears, throbbed my heart, and reminded my consciousness about a very important lesson. It is in these trying times that we are all needed. It is in these dark times that our stands must be visible and our voices be heard. It is in these critical moments that we should continue to push forward despite the shackles of oppression and repression that bind us. These moments are turning points, and we must not stop.

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Zerowaste Struggles amid the COVID-19 Crisis

It was late January of 2020 when I first became alarmed by the COVID-19 disease. I’ve read countless alarming news from China. Thousands of people were infected by the nCoV daily. Even more unfortunate news detail the increasing number of deaths from the virus in only a span of weeks. It scared me a lot. I live in Japan, and it has been evident that a large number of Chinese nationals have fled to Japan to escape the then COVID-19 outbreak in their country. That in itself, has already scared me to the bone. I knew I needed to be careful, that I needed protect myself. But at first, I was strong to not consider any changes in my lifestyle.

As many of my friends know, I am currently on a journey to live a Sustainable Lifestyle. I started doing the Zerowaste Lifestyle last April 2018, then I adopted the Sustainable Lifestyle in the middle of 2019. Throughout my journey, I’ve been challenged a lot. I’ve experienced difficulties starting the ZW Lifestyle when I was still living in the Philippines, but I overcame it by being creative with my ways. When I started living here in Japan, the dependency of the Japanese community with product packaging has forced me to tolerate few unsustainable alternatives in my daily needs. Nonetheless, I persevered to maintain a low impact as much as possible. Even the Influenza seasons here in Japan have never shaken me to abandon my sustainable lifestyle practices. However, the horror of these recent months sinked in to me day by day. The mere epidemic has now become a pandemic. I saw how it spread from just China to now 199 countries globally. I saw the COVID-19 positive cases rise from just merely hundreds to now over 600,000 confirmed cases world wide. I saw deaths rise from barely a handful digits to now over 30,000 fatalities. I saw country by country locking their cities, struggling to control the infectious disease. Now, even my small hometown in the Philippines is in Community Quarantine. The horror of the recent months made me compromise the values and the promises that I swore I would never break. In the aim to prioritize my health and safety, I compromised sustainability.

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A Message of Solidarity: Life in the Time of a Pandemic

Dear you,

How are you? These are trying times, and I know that it has been tough to you and to your family. I hope that you are doing well, both physically and mentally. I am well-aware that each of us is fighting this battle against the COVID-19 disease in our own ways. With that, I send you my snappy salute for whatever it is that you are doing not just for your family and country, but for yourself as well. Kudos!

The COVID-19 has not only spread health concerns all around the world. It has also spread fears, panic, racism, and variety of social injustices. The daily realities that we all are very much acquianted with is turning into one of those apocalyptic scenes that we were only used to seeing in movies. It also scares me to the bone. This life in the time of a Pandemic has absolutely challenged us individually, our families, our governments, and our global leaders. Things might’ve turned out to be more complicated, but the solution is crystal clear; We must go through it all together, in unity. We must wage a battle against the Pandemic in a way where no one gets left behind. I am one with you in that goal. So here I am, sending out this heartfelt letter of solidarity to you. I am with you and with the world in this fight. We can make it through together.

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